Jekyll and Hyde: Duality of Human Nature Essay

Jekyll and Hyde: Duality of Human Nature Essay

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Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a riveting tale of how one man uncovers, through scientific experiments, the dual nature within himself. Robert Louis Stevenson uses the story to suggest that this human duality is housed inside everyone. The story reveals “that man is not truly one, but two” (Robert Louis Stevenson 125). He uses the characters of Henry Jekyll, Edward Hyde, Dr. Lanyon, and Mr. Utterson to portray this concept. He also utilizes important events, such as the death of Dr. Jekyll and the death of Mr. Lanyon in his exploration of the topic.
The story takes place during the Victorian age, a time when there were only two categories of people: good people and bad people. There was no way that one man could be considered acceptable without suppressing his evil side almost entirely. The reason that Jekyll restrained his evil side for so long was because of this dichotomous Victorian society. Most people, including Jekyll’s friends, Lanyon and Utterson, are content to stay molded in this ideal. However, Dr. Jekyll soon became tired of this hypocritical mindset and states that he “it was rather the exacting nature of my aspirations…. that made me who I was and…. severed in me those provinces of good and ill which divide and compound man’s dual nature” (123). He had determined that he would find a way to indulge his more human nature while still yet living in acceptance among his colleagues. Dr. Jekyll soon did discover a method, but it inevitably came with a curse. Stevenson uses this to display that people generally tend to go with the societal flow and conform to other people’s ideas so that they will fit in.
This leads to the first example of human duality which is the good and bad side to conforming to societal ...


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... he is warned by Hyde that if he decided to witness the transformation, it could produce disastrous effects. Hyde tells Lanyon “if you shall so prefer to choose a new province of knowledge and new avenues to fame… your sight shall be blasted by a prodigy to stagger the unbelief of Satan.“ (119). Yet Dr. Lanyon, in submission to the evil and imprudent side of his dual nature, decides to watch.
In conclusion, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, represents many themes of duality in human nature. This is represented by the characters of Henry Jekyll, Edward Hyde, Hastie Lanyon, and John Utterson. Some themes represented are the duality in conforming to societal conventions, curiosity, and temptation. Stevenson utilizes significant events including the deaths of Lanyon and Jekyll, and the transformations of Jekyll into Hyde to prove “that man is not truly one, but two” (125)

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