What view of human nature does Stevenson present in the novel, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde? Essay
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The strange case of Dr Jekyll and Mr.
Hyde is written with the purpose of showing the author Robert Louis Stevenson’s theory that everybody has a good and bad side. Stevenson views people as being capable of evil, and that “evil is just as much a part of human nature as good is”. His upbringing would have influenced his theory, Stevenson would have been familiar with the story of Deacon Brodie during his childhood. Which coincidentally has a similar storyline of that of Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, this is because Deacon Brodie also has a split personality just like Dr Jekyll, his evil side Mr. Hyde was created by Dr Jekyll’s most darkest and evil side. Hyde is described as an “ape-like creature” that appears to not care about people surrounding him. Evidence of this is the fact that Mr. Hyde “with ape-like fury, he was trampling his victim under foot and hailing down a storm of blows, under which the bones were audibly shattered”. But Dr Jekyll gives the impression that he is proud that he is able to turn into this evil creature Mr. Hyde as he say that it is his greatest pleasure and achievement.
Jekyll and Hyde is written as a casebook in order to make the story more believable and interesting. Stevenson explains his theory of human nature of every person having a good and bad side of their personality. Mr. Utterson sort of relates to this theory just as Dr Jekyll does. Utterson is described as a lawyer, who is a man of rugged countenance and who very rarely smiles but is somehow lovable. But also when the wine was at his taste, something eminently human beaconed from his eye as though he wanted to let his evil side out.
Utterson was known to have enjoyed his own company mainly because he wanted to avoid any kind of scandal; the well respected lawyer also enjoyed the theatre although he had never been in one for about 20 years. Mr. Enfield however, was the well known man around Soham. There was an obvious difference between the two men, as it was hard to see what they saw in each other. Cleverly the two men relate to the story in the way in which they represent the two personalities of Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Mr. Utterson relating to Mr. Hyde and Enfield being Dr Jekyll.
Dr Henry Jekyll’s statement of the Carew murder begins with him talking about his reputation, this gives the impression that he is suggesting that he has reputation and that he is a well respected doctor. Jekyll also repeats the letter ‘I’ to say that he is proud of what he has done. He also says that he wants to “escape” which seems as though he wants to leave boring Dr Henry Jekyll’s personality and change into the more exciting Mr. Hyde.
The effect of the simile used in line ten “Edward Hyde would pass away like the stain of breath upon a mirror” gives the impression that once the elixir has worn off Mr. Hyde would vanish and no-one would no because he would anyone replaced by innocent Dr Jekyll. While describing the actions of Mr. Hyde, Henry Jekyll uses the word ‘undignified’ and after he says that it is the worst term he could think of this is maybe because he was not proud and he did not know what Mr. Hyde was doing that night.
The area around Mr. Hyde’s house is described as a dingy street with children huddled in the doorways but inside his house is very different the house is described as nicely furnished and with good taste. But the house look ransacked as though someone had been there recently, so this could imply that Mr. Hyde was there not long before the detectives arrived, their is also evidence that he had been looking for something “clothes lay about the floor, with their pockets inside out; lock fast drawers stood open” this also shows that Mr. Hyde was panicking and was in a hurry to get away.
I think the strange case of Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde shows Stevenson’s theory of everybody having a good and bad side which is shown clearly in the story. I myself do agree with Stevenson’s theory and the Freudian theory has influenced this even more, I found the Freudian theory useful in my understanding of Jekyll and Hyde.