Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Frankenstein and Confessions of a Justified Sinner

Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Frankenstein and Confessions of a Justified Sinner

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The Gothic Novels of Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Frankenstein and Confessions of a Justified Sinner

 
    The word 'Gothic', taken from a Germanic tribe, the Goths, stood firstly for 'Germanic' and then 'mediaeval'. It was introduced to fiction by Horace Walpole in 'Castle of Otranto, a Gothic Story', and was used to depict its mediaeval setting. As more novelists adopted this Gothic setting; dark and gloomy castles on high, treacherous mountains, with supernatural howling in the distance; other characteristics of the 'Gothic Novel' could be identified. The most dominant characteristic seems to be the constant battle between the good and the dark side of the human soul and how that, given a chance, the dark side of human nature will gradually develop, through the actions of the character in question, until it has engulfed the good, and also raises the theme of suffering and isolation. Other keynotes of 'Gothic Novels' seem to be the misuse or abuse of technology. For example, science is used to create new beings, the characters turning against or abusing nature and/or God, where the character may take on the role of God, the forbidden attraction of evil, the thrill of the kill, and death.

 

The novels Frankenstein, Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde and Confessions of a Justified Sinner all contain important truths about human nature and mankind. By looking into these three texts, I am going to explore exactly how they fit or do not fit into the various interpretations of 'Gothic' I have laid out.

The two most prominent themes in Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde are those of the 'misuse of technology'and 'the dark side of man and all its attractions.' These two themes are, in fact, directly linked with each other as it is as a r...


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... Making monstrous. Frankenstein, criticism, theory. Manchester University Press, 1991.

Boyd, Stephen. York Notes on Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. Longman York Press, 1992.

Mellor, Anne K. Mary Shelley. Her Life, her Fiction, her Monsters. Methuen. New York, London, 1988.

Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein or the Modern Prometheus. Edited with an Introduction and notes by Maurice Hindle. Penguin books, 1992

Stevenson, Robert Louis. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. New York:Dover Publishing, Inc., 1991. 

Stevenson, Robert Louis.  The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.  1886.  The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and Other Stories.  Harmondsworth: Penguin,1979.  27-97.

Svilpis, J.E.  "The Mad Scientist and Domestic Affection in Gothic Fiction."  Gothic Fiction: Prohibition/Transgression.  Ed. Kenneth W. Graham.  New York: Ams, 1989.

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