Stevenson's Use of the Double in his Portrayal of Dr.Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Stevenson's Use of the Double in his Portrayal of Dr.Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

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Stevenson's Use of the Double in his Portrayal of Dr.Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Many myths, legends and fairy tales include transformations. A recent
example is the relatively new children's film, "Shrek" where a
princess gets turned into a monster by a witch; but when she breaks
the spell by falling in love, she transforms from the monster to the
beautiful princess she once was. In the story of "The strange case of
Dr.Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" there is also a transformation, but it is a
respectable good doctor to a deeply evil and hated man.

Robert Louis Stevenson was born in 1850 in Edinburgh. He wrote the
novel "The strange case of Dr.Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" during his time in
Bournemouth in 1885, the novel was later published in 1886. The novel
appears to be set in Old Victorian London, yet he clearly had
Edinburgh in mind as well with its twin identities (like Jekyll):
prosperous and respectable New Town, and the Old Town of poverty and

Jekyll and Hyde is a sad tale of how a well-respected Victorian doctor
creates a potion which enables him to turn into an evil creature,
Hyde, to explore mans double nature of good and evil. His curiosity
and increased dependence on the drug results in the death of one of
the doctors close friends, and eventually his own.

All but one of the characters, Hyde, are middle aged men who want to
keep up appearances. The narrator Utterson tells the reader why he
drinks gin- to hinder what he perceives to be a sin, "Mortify his
taste for vintages". The Victorian world was one where appearances
mattered and determined whether or not you would be accepted in

Robert Louis Stevenson add...

... middle of paper ...

... don't embrace and control your evil side
it will take over, and you'd be a hypocrite if you didn't. The craving
or desire to be bad never goes away, it's just like being an alcoholic
or drug addict, you just have to learn to say "no".

The story is ironic because although the whole experiment conducted by
Jekyll is a success, in the end he is killed by his invention- the

In the end Jekyll doesn't commit suicide, but simply is only able to
obtain the powder for the potion in its pure form, instead of the
impure original powder which he originally used for the
transformation. Edward Hyde is the one to commit suicide in fear of
the gallows and now unable to take refuge in the body of Dr. Jekyll's

The ultimate message from Stevenson's novel is that if one gives evil
an inch, it will take a mile.

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