Repression and Hypocrisy in the Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

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Penny Fielding highlights his point of view on Robert Louis Stevenson’s Strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde that the novel paints ‘a damning portrait of society defined by repression and its inevitable twin, hypocrisy’. Fielding also insists later that the relation between repression and hypocrisy is one theme of this novel that cannot be overlooked. This opinion can be approved of a truth after reading the novel. Repression and hypocrisy run through the whole story which reflect on descriptions of every character. In this essay, I will focus on the repression and hypocrisy that appear to be connected in the novel by analyzing the background and main characters. Especially, I will quote some fragments from the novel to discuss in details.
Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel ‘The strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’ was deeply influenced by his family and social background. Stevenson was born in a family with a history of doctors, lawyers and other standard occupations. He was taught wrong from right from a very young age by his nanny who was a very faithful Christian. Therefore, he received a good education in his childhood. These well-educated experiences restricted his behavior and forced him to perform formally which is similar to Dr. Jekyll delineated in his novel. Another influencing factor is Darwin’s theory of evolution. ‘The origin of species’ was published in 1859 in which Darwin stated that men are descended from apes. This made Stevenson believe that we all have human nature within our physical body and it has rationality that cannot be strangled. Another factor which have significant influence on Stevenson’s portrayal of the duality of man was Sigmund Freud’s psychological theory. According to Freud, everyon...

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