Sunday, August 4, 2019

The Nature of Duality in Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Essay

The Nature of Duality in Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde It has long been debated that there are two sides to the human mind. Many philosophers have stressed on the fact that human beings are 'dual creatures’. There is the duality of good and evil, right and wrong, joy and despair. There always is the desire to do something which is against the society, against the laws, although this varies from person to person. Robert Stevenson brings the possibility of another self in one person to life in his creation of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. His novel is a rich tale of the duality of mankind. We all have a split personality in a sense, we have two sides to us: right and wrong. There is a Mr. Hyde in all of us: anger, frustration, murderous thoughts all prevail in us although we have evolved so much. Morals, education, helping and unselfishness are the Jekyll side of us. Stevenson believed that people knew they had a bad side, but they all refuse to accept the truth, as the ‘dark side’ is so unpleasant. The novel demonstrates how innocent curiosity about the darker elements of our nature can soon get out of hand, how the evil triumphs over good if let out of control. Stevenson portrays duality in almost all of his characters, mainly Dr. Henry Jekyll. The symbols used, the narrative viewpoints and the language use by Stevenson also puts forward the dual nature of man. The philosophical context of the novella also is another factor which Stevenson cleverly uses. Stevenson creates a novel of gothic genre, which was extremely popular at the time of release. And the bottom line of the novel is to entertain the reader. The nature of duality, the philosophical context, the scientific context, symbolism, and hy... ...onality. Darwin’s theory of evolution and Freud’s creation of psychoanalysis are well portrayed in this novel. Overall, Stevenson clearly implies that humans are a mixture of ‘good’ and evil’ and challenges the ‘human perfectibility’, which was presumed for the upper class at the time. I particularly enjoyed this novel as it was exploring various themes at the same time. One interesting point is that, when Jekyll made up the ‘transforming draught’, it never was intended to turn him evil. It was just his desires which propelled him to being Hyde. The potion just acted as a catalyst and in the end it was Jekyll who destroyed himself. We had discussed this in class and it struck me as it wasn’t an evil potion. This also shows that Jekyll wanted to break through the Victorian laws and meet his inner desires, which leads us back to the ‘nature of duality’.

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