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Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

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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

morals.

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

pan...

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...sickliness of

Jekyll. This means that the more Jekyll is disgusted at Hyde's

actions, the more Hyde's powers of evil and destruction grow gradually

stronger.

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.