Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

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“The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde” is a gothic horror novella written by Robert Louis Stevenson in the Victorian era. The novella follows a well-respected doctor - Henry Jekyll - and his struggle between good and evil when he takes a potion and becomes Mr Hyde. Robert Louis Stevenson - the author of the novella “The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde”- was born in Edinburgh in 1850 and died at the young age of forty-four. He wrote the book in 1886. As a child he was very close to his nurse and when he was ill she used to read him Bible stories as he was brought up in a strict Catholic tradition, which he later rebelled against. This led to his fascination for his city’s low life and for bizarre characters, which proved rich material for later stories. Deacon Brodie lived in Edinburgh in the eighteenth century. His double life is thought to have been the inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson to write “Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde”. Deacon Brodie lived an extravagant lifestyle, which even his high position in Edinburgh society could not support, so he turned to crime to finance his lifestyle. This concept of a doppelganger - a shadow of a different side of a human - was used in “Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde” to create the same effect. Stevenson may also have found inspiration from a book, called “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley as it is of the gothic horror genre just like Stevenson’s book. A gothic horror story contains a plot hinged on suspense and mystery, which often involves the supernatural. Another writer, who may have influenced Stevenson’s writing, is Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution. Within Stevenson’s gothic horror story - “Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde” - suspense is added by the descrip... ... middle of paper ... ...nerable. He portrays evil to be strong, as you only think of yourself and what you want, and this is why Hyde attempts to take over Jekyll. Although Hyde seems to take over Jekyll there is still a part of Jekyll there, which makes Hyde take the potion to become Jekyll again, so that he can then end the evil of the beast he created which also means ending his life too. In conclusion I feel Stevenson has successfully portrayed evil through his characters, setting and language. I enjoyed the different ways it suggests evil and I believe Robert Louis Stevenson has accomplished his aim to write a gothic horror book and “The Strange case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is truly a book of its time as creating an evil side that, if made subject to, would alter normal civilized behaviour and conduct horrific violence was unheard of at the time the book was published.
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