The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde

1005 Words5 Pages
In Robert Louis Stevenson’s the Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde a scientist, Dr. Jekyll, creates an alter ego using a draught in order to escape the harsh views of society. As Mr. Hyde, he commits heinous crimes against citizens and becomes addicted to the perception of freedom from Victorian laws. Best stated by Norman Kerr about addiction, “there is an inebriety derangement of the mental faculties, so that the consciousness, perception, reasoning, power, and conscience are impaired” (Kerr 138). The character Dr. Jekyll illustrates the condition of addiction in the Victorian era through the motifs of the obsession with appearance and duality. Dr. Jekyll’s obsession with appearance causes him to become addicted to the character Mr. Hyde, the amoral character Dr. Jekyll creates. For instance, growing up in the Victorian era as a Christian, Dr. Jekyll encounters laws that shun all activities considered pleasurable. The purpose of these laws was to encourage the members of society to be “in favor of self-disciplined moral earnest” (Stevenson 48). Although Dr. Jekyll abides by the strict rules of the Victorian culture, this repression still sparks a “certain impatient gaiety of disposition” in him, pushing Dr. Jekyll to carry out his pleasurable activities in solitude, out of fear of losing his reputation: “I found it hard to reconcile with my imperious desire to carry my head high and wear a more commonly grave countenance before the public” (Stevenson 47 - 48). During this period of secrecy, he begins to create a draught allowing him to split his, personalities creating an alter ego, Mr. Hyde. When Dr. Jekyll becomes Mr. Hyde, he has a sense of freedom to act as he pleases and escape the consequences: “I was the first that... ... middle of paper ... ...his colleagues for days on end locked in his laboratory resulting in his friends to repeatedly check on him. This act of withdrawal connects to the reality an addict faces during rehabilitation. The said addict has to seclude himself from temptation in order to be successful in the recovery stage. The final behavioral change for Dr. Jekyll is shown through his reiteration of him cutting off all ties to Mr. Hyde and his outburst of violence. During a conversation Dr. Jekyll has with Mr. Utterson shortly after the murder of Sir Danvers, Mr. Utterson asks Jekyll if he has seen Mr. Hyde in which Dr. Jekyll replies repeatedly that he will never set eyes on Mr. Hyde again and that he has cut off all ties to him. The redundancy of Dr. Jekyll’s words symbolizes that of an addict, who constantly, makes a promise that they will quit using the substance they are addicted to.
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