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

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This paper highlights several problems that emerge during the Victorian age, a time of many changes and difficulties in England. During the Industrial Revolution, living conditions changed dramatically; as a result the economy to change from agricultural to industrial. The Victorian Era was also marked by immense progress and tremendous achievement. New values were placed on religion and faith in a society that was unrealistic for women. Robert Stevenson’s novel, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is being told through a third party, Mr. Utterson, who is the lawyer for Dr. Jekyll. There are no major female characters in this story. While women struggled for liberation from a male dominated society, Victorian men felt threatened by the feminist who sought personal liberties. Stevenson’s novel was influenced by Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818) and Stevenson pays homage to her at various points in his novel. Mr. Hyde’s rebellious nature threatened the balance of equality in English society. The escalation of horror in The Strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Mr. Hyde depends on the oppression of women. The more oppressed women became, the more horror the characters experienced. In Robert Stevenson’s novel, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, he channels Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, by leaving the voice of a woman character absent which alienates femininity, showing hypocrisy through the male characters and the influence of purity and sinful.
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde could be compared to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein because they both characterize their women characters as passive, disposable and useless. Although Frankenstein was written many years earlier, both texts deal with many of the s...


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...nd Mr. Hyde2003: n. pag. Print.
Glenn, Myra C. Campaigns against Corporal Punishment: Prisoners, Sailors, Women, and
Children in Antebellum America. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1984.
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Hammerton, A J. Cruelty and Companionship: Conflict in Nineteenth-Century Married Life.
London: Routledge, 1992. Print.
Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft. Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus. Ed. and intro. M.K.
Joseph. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1969
Smith, Johanna M. ""Cooped Up: Feminine Domesticity in Frankenstein""Frankenstein. 2nd ed.
Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2000. N. pag. Print. Case Studies in Contemporary Criticism.
Stevenson, Robert “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” The Norton Anthology
English Literature. 9th ed.
Veeder, William, & Gordon Hirsch. (1988). Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde After One Hundred Years.
Chicago: Chicago UP.



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