Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
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1115 words (3.2 double-spaced pages)
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Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was published in 1886 as a 'shilling shocker'
novella written by the young novelist Robert Louis Stevenson. At that
time there was a surfeit of cheap horror novellas. Stevenson's novella
was different because it explored the evil inside human kind. I will
look into Victorian attitudes and how these influenced Victorian life.
The cultural and historical context of the text is typical of the
author but not his time because there was a contradiction between
Science and religion and this novella scared people about
possibilities of evil. Victorian values at this time were very strict
and those people who broke them were looked down on in the social
order. Jekyll was the perfect upright Victorian man, he was tall, well
mannered, rich and had earned his place in society. Hyde on the other
hand was short, ugly and evil. Because Jekyll is so good he needs
something to take his mind off his "9 tenths life of relentless
struggling and grinding". He created Hyde to do just that, to take his
mind off and be evil and careless when he feels like it. This whole
story line would have shocked a Victorian reader because of the
paradox between religion and science. People were very duplicitous at
this time because they all knew about the underground prostitution,
drug-abuse and pornography, yet they did not talk about it or let
their friends know about their drug habit or weekly trip to the
brothel. ^his shows the corruption of the community and the fraudulent
In the text there are elements of thriller and horror. In chapter ten
'Henry Jekyll's Full Statement of The Case' there is a horrific
description of Jekyll's transformation into Hyde. 'The most racking
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Jekyll. This means that the more Jekyll is disgusted at Hyde's
actions, the more Hyde's powers of evil and destruction grow gradually
Jekyll now wants out f the whole double life and plans to kill himself
and Hyde as well.
Henry Jekyll feels some remorse about leaving Hyde in the world. He
says 'Will Hyde die on the scaffold? Or will he find the courage to
release himself at the last moment? God knows; I am careless; this is
my true hour of death, and then as I lay down my en, and proceed to
seal up my confession, I bring the life of that unhappy Henry Jekyll
to an end.
Her Henry Jekyll has ended his own life rather than see himself turn
completely into Hyde. This novella has two morals; one is not to mess
about with your body and not to indulge too heavily in anything
because it turns out bad like the life of Henry Jekyll.
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