What view of human nature does Steven present in the novel, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde?
Good and bad. Pure and evil. Right and wrong. Joy and despair. These are all themes Robert Louis Stevenson addresses in his novel, “The strange case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde”
Robert Louis Stevenson presents the view that no human has the capacity to be completely good or completely bad. Instead human nature is shown to exhibit both good and bad with dynamic results.
Human nature encourages us to feel and experience a range of emotions. Happiness, sadness, love and hate are all natural feeling that helps to shape our personality. To help the elderly, to feed the poor, to shelter the homeless, to nurture a baby are all element of human nature and incorporated into the way humans interact within society.
The basic human emotions that drive people are love and hate, within these two come other emotions, sympathy, forgivness, revenge and jealousy. Hyde’s life revolves around the emotions within hate
Hyde’s actions are very evil. Hyde’s first victim was an innocent child “He trampled calmly over the body and left her screaming” By making a child the first victim Stevenson emphasizes the moral awfulness from the beginning of the story.
Hyde’s life revolves around the emotions within hate. He has no knowledge of Love. This prevents him from feeling any regret for the things that he does “he is perfectly cool and made no resistance,” he takes great pleasure in his actions, suggesting perhaps that he does know Love, but this love is derived from Hate, he loves his hateful emotions and wicked actions. He enjoys satisfying his needs. Jekyll knows both of these raw emotions and this combination brings a new emotion; guilt which is powerful enough to drive him away from evil and all that is considered ‘bad’ eventually, it drives him away from Hyde. Within this novel Stevenson shows that love and hate are closely interlocked this is a common aspect of human nature. E.g. Love hate relationship.
Human nature is a very complex process; it consists of many different dimensions including frustration and boredom. This can lead to the desire to explore, and experiment. Human nature encourages people to push the boundaries of conformity like going into space or landing on the moon. Stevenson shows how an innocent curiosity about our darker side of our nature can get out of hand.
Jekyll is a very different character to Hyde, everyone likes him, he is well known about town and he is well looked upon. He is kind, and when socialising with friends he is very well liked. just like his friend ” Richard Enfield… the well known man about town”Jekyell is very respectable gentleman with a reputation to maintain, however in the disguise of Hyde, he can lurk around the town after dark, strolls the red light district and fulfilling his desires without any risk to his reputation.
In Jekyll and Hyde Stevenson illustrate the two sides of human nature within one person. Jekyll represents the acceptable elements of human nature the well mannered, distinguished doctor who meets the demands of a prudish society. Jekyll lives a double life, one of success and the other of shame. Jekyll is imprisoned by the moral demands of Victorian society.
Human nature can be very complex and the desire to do good or evil is very strong; Dr Jekyll would change into Mr Hyde, as the evil side of him was stronger than his good side. He was aware of his changing character as he openly admitted ‘That part of me which I had the power of projecting had lately been much exercised and nourished; it had seemed to me of late as though the body of Edward Hyde had grown in stature … Edward Hyde became irrevocably mine’.
The power to control good or bad emotions could not be controlled by Hyde just as ‘the power of the drug had not been always equally displayed’. Like a drug addict Hyde needed more and more of the potion to obtain the same effect. Even with the ‘infinite risk of death’ Hyde had no fear he continued to abuse himself even doubling or trebling the amount. The behaviour of Hyde was very addictive, evil breeds evil and good breeds good. Dr Jekyll enjoyed ‘the power of the drug’ and so continued to push the boundaries of evil.
It is arguable weather people are born evil or turn evil due to circumstance and influences form friends and society. I believe that people are born pure and clean but the choices they make and the kind of friends they keep influences the things they do. Many people have evil thoughts and desires but are prevented from carrying out their actions as they are afraid of the consequences such as getting into trouble by with law and imprisonment. The reputation of a person is also a factor that influences a person’s behaviour. The views of others are very important; everybody wants to be liked, human nature makes people scared of what is being discussed behind our backs. As a result of this people want to be seen as normal, especially by there friends and peers. Like Hyde, many people in society change there imagine from good to bad for different reasons.
An example of this happening in society are black youths mainly boys growing up pretending to be gangsters when they’re not. I believe this is because of the type of environment they are brought up in and the way that the media and the English society portray them. Their behaviour often matches the negative stereotypes that are regularly connected with inner city black boys.
They could be influenced by their friends to do things that they don’t want to do but because of the reputation and need to be respected this may lead them to carry out activities that they no are wrong. They copy the behaviour and mannerisms of their friendship group even if they believe there actions are morally wrong. They envy and look up to there peer. They become involved with negative activities that they know are immoral and wrong in order to be part of the exclusive group.
Exclusive groups also exist within communities. Belonging to the church and abiding by there rules can be seen as way of conforming. The Ten Commandments dictates the Christian values and beliefs. People turn to God for many different reasons; loneliness and guilt often inspire people to look for companionship and forgiveness within the church. During his rein of evil Henry Jekyll had no remorse for his actions, he was ‘gloating on his crimes’ later in the novel he had fallen upon his
I believe it’s the choices that an individual makes that make them do something or not.
Utterson and Enfield believe or I should say feel that their time together is of very much importance, when they have their walks they haven’t got time for people; it’d like they’re own world and this world doesn’t exist. They think that their walks are so important they ” even resisted the calls of business” so they might enjoy themselves ” uninterrupted”.
This reflects human nature well because people don’t like to be interrupted when spending quality time with family, and friends or so called love ones, because they think their time are of great importance. As for all humans when they love someone they don’t like anything to come between them. Also people like to have privacy because not all time they want people knowing or being inquisitive about their privacy.
Because both men are always together and it seems nothing can come between, as humans like to assume, think or predict things so by people always seeing these two men certain days ” even on Sunday” they assume or have something to say about one or both men, and pass remarks. Humans are self-conscious and think about how they appear to people because their will always be someone judging another person for different reasons. For both these men they appear to others as ” what these two could see in each other” people think these two characters are far from normal to be close to each other so it’s puzzling to see them having quality time together and getting on so well, ” what subject they could find in common”
Mr Enfield seems to be a character that has a good reputation and people may like him because he could be kind, and he’s rich, he shows respect to everyone, be of high class and popular for what he does and that’s why they like him ” Richard Enfield…the well known man about town.”
Utterson and Enfield feels that a person’s reputation is important because when Mr Hyde trampled over the child and he was to pay the Childs parents for the damage he did there was a conversation and Mr Utterson instead of reacting he ” sighed deeply, never said a word” I believe he didn’t react because if he did he would probably say things he would regret saying and people would look at his reputation on a different manner, but he controlled himself and sighed to ease the tension.
Jekyll’ statement is a perfect example of how human nature is strange, strong and unique, because he would just change into Hyde without taking the potion ” Yes, I had gone to bed Henry Jekyll, I had awoken Edward Hyde.” This is to show that humans can grow into certain characters over a period of time an example is getting married a person may get married at twenty one and thirty they’re a different person, because humans adapt to certain things and there’s always something that attracts humans that they want to try.
Also humans can be very strange and strong because Dr Jekyll would automatically turn into Mr Hyde, because the evil side of him is stronger than his good side, this is to show that when humans do things they can adapt too because Mr Hyde doing evil, it becomes easier and less of a problem each time he does evil things, ” That part of me which I had the power of projecting had lately been much exercised and nourished; it had seemed to me of late as though the body of Edward Hyde had grown in statue … overthrown the power of voluntary change be fortified, and the character of Edward Hyde became irrevocably mine whereas Dr Jekyll has always been doing good so it’s much easier for him to carry on doing good “… became once more their familiar guest and entertainer ; and whilst he had always been known for charities, he was now no less distinguished for religion.”
In the novel minor characters such as the police officer, Hyde’s servant and the doctor shows emotions, such as hatred self interest and others, these may affect how humans react to people if they’re somehow better than them or they dislike them.
These people aren’t evil nut it’s just to show how this is apart of human nature how your emotions can change mood and characteristics. This shows that every one got a good side and bad side to them.
The Dr dint like Hyde from the first time he met in chapter one he was extremely disgusted at Hyde ” I had taken a loathing my gentleman at first sight.” This shows in humans’ you see a person for the first time and have a dislike against them.
The doctors face went purple talking about doctor Jekyll, this shows how humans can react to very distinctively, hoe their mood can change even when in the happiest of moods, but just by mentioning a certain characters name especially if this character has done something that goes against their liking” … flushing suddenly purple,”
The police officer’s face righted up with delight ” And the next moment his eyes lighted up with professional ambition” on hearing about the death of Carew, this isn’t because he didn’t like Carew or that he’s happy that he’s dead, but because Carew was a famous person, this could draw a lot of media attention, and by this case drawing a lot of media attention he could make a name for himself as the police officer who cracked the case ” this could make a lot of noise.”
Reflecting on human nature, this shows how humans like to be rewarded, it shows how all humans want to be on top, how we all want to be the one that gets the gratitude for what we do.
The way we ensure this happens is that we do it to our best ability and do the right way or legal also that we be fare and equal in what we do and do it fairly and honest. Then we can get the gratitude we deserve.
The maid doesn’t like Mr Hyde so; she’s delighted he’s in trouble she wants to find out what he’s been up to, ” A flay of odious joy appeared upon the woman’s face. Ah said she, ” he’s in trouble! What has he done?” compared to human nature it’s like a natural instinct when a person dislikes someone they don’t really care about them, sometimes they dislike the person to the extent that they don’t care what happens to the person, as the maid displays this in novel.
Analysing these characters it shows human can have an effect on an individual because the doctor who seems to be jealous, envious or hates Dr Jekyll, by him changing his mood others around him could look at him as a selfish individual which he may no be, the police officer may have seemed like an evil person because he showed expressions of joy on hearing about the death of sir Danves Carew, the others could believe that he had committed, the crime because of his action. The maid/servant because the police officers thought she looked evil the moment they saw her ” She had an evil face smoothed by hyprocisy;” this shows a persons appearance can be deceiving, although she looked evil and seemed to be a bad person because she was delighted that Mr Hyde’s in trouble that doesn’t mean she is.
Stevenson held a strong view on good and conduct and believed that everyone is capable of evil. He also believed that evil is just as much part of the respectable Dr Jekyll. At the time when this book was published in 1885, the story/novel was successful, people found the fact extremely shocking.