Despite appearing to take place in an unaltered depiction of 19th century London, Stevenson’s Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Hyde is pervaded by an eerie, foreboding atmosphere, largely due to the strange and unsettling character of Mr Hyde. Hyde is conceived as an uncanny figure (reference), which Freud claims can occur when a person appears to have evil intentions that can be realised through supernatural powers (Freud, 1919). According to the indefinite remarks made by his overwhelmed observers, Hyde appears repulsively ugly and deformed, small, shrunken, and hairy. His physical ugliness and deformity symbolizes his moral hideousness and warped ethics. Indeed, for the audience of Stevenson’s time, the connection between such ugliness and Hyde’s wickedness might have been seen as more than symbolic. Through Hyde’s character depiction, Stevenson challenges Victorian values – the importance of reputat...
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...t whether person, thing or idea and the disturbing impression it makes on the perceiving subject. In other words, its origins lie in the projection of an implicit challenge into the object. The uncanny does not necessarily imply possession, but it very often leads to this.
Hoffmann’s story provides a suggestive link among the various forms of the uncanny listed above: the dead lover, the mirror-double, the castrated. Freud is right to think that castration is fundamental here, but it is operative not as a threat superseded in childhood but as that which persists in every love. Nathaniel is faced with the double threat: the living lover appears as dead without castration, yet a lover animated only by one’s own.
The idea of ‘the uncanny is very evident in “The Strange Case” because every action between Hyde and his counterpart is very mysterious and thought-provoking.
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