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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In “The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde”, Stevenson presents many aspects of human nature. Human nature is what we are all like instinctively. For example we may hate someone just because of the way they look. This is human nature because we instinctively hate the person and we do not know why, we just feel hate inside, this is just one example of human nature. Many aspects of human nature are presented throughout the novel.
Stevenson shows how the minor characters demonstrate emotion in different situations.
At the beginning of the novel Mr Hyde bumps into a girl who is running down the street, he tramples her and leaves her screaming. When Hyde is returned to the girl a group of people had gathered, including a doctor. The doctor saw Hyde and desired to kill him, this demonstration of hate towards Hyde reveals that hatred is a part of human nature. Even the doctor, who is supposed to save lives desired to kill, this goes against his duty as a doctor to preserve life. Stevenson shows that hatred is a large part of human nature because all people can have the desire to kill no matter who they are.
“But the doctor’s case was what struck me…he was like the rest of us: every time he looked at my prisoner, I saw that Sawbones turned sick and white with the desire to kill him.”
Ambition is shown when Hyde kills sir Danvers Carew and a police officer is talking with Utterson. Utterson identifies Carew’s body and when Utterson tells the officer that it is Carew’s body, the officer becomes ambitious. The police officer thinks that he may get promoted if he helps to solve such a serious case. The officer does not care that an important MP has been murdered; he just focuses on getting promoted. Therefore ambition can be an undesirable part of human nature, but in other situations ambition can be a good thing, for example if you are ambitious you may work hard to make a difference.
Stevenson shows that people can be ambitious in situations like this, they do not care about what has happened or about bringing a culprit to justice, they just focus on promotion because they are very ambitious. This shows that ambition is a part of human nature because we look for an opportunity to get what we want; we do not take into account the seriousness of the situation. (Like the police officer)
Stevenson portrays Hyde and Jekyll as the two sides of human nature, a good side and an evil side. Jekyll is a middle aged, honest, caring and friendly doctor. Hyde is an ugly almost deformed, evil murderer. Stevenson shows that Dr Jekyll has an evil side (Mr Hyde). He turns into Mr Hyde by drinking a potion. Hyde is used to reflect evil, for example he kills sir Danvers Carew all of a sudden and for no reason.
“And next moment, with ape-like fury, he was trampling his victim underfoot and hailing down a storm of blows.”
For no reason Hyde suddenly attacked and killed sir Danvers Carew, this contrasts greatly with Dr Jekyll. Dr Jekyll is a kind, honest and friendly man who has not broken the law and has certainly never killed anybody, yet Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde are the same person. Dr Jekyll is more in touch with his good side because he is mostly a kind and honest gentleman, but he has a hidden evil side: Mr Hyde, whom he cannot control.
Stevenson shows that there is a good and an evil side to all people, some people are more in touch with their good side, some with their evil side. He shows we all have a good and an evil side because we are all capable of doing both good and evil. At times in our lives we can be evil and then change to being good and friendly. In this novel Stevenson shows how we can be good and evil and that we all possess both sides, a brighter pleasant good side and a darker, lower evil side.