Stevenson's Use of Literary Techniques to Portray Evil in Jekyll and Hyde

Stevenson's Use of Literary Techniques to Portray Evil in Jekyll and Hyde

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This essay will focus on how Robert Louis Stevenson presents the nature of evil through his novel ‘The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’. Using ideas such as duality, the technique used to highlight the two different sides of a character or scene, allegories, an extended metaphor which has an underlying moral significance, and hypocrisy; in this book the Victorians being against all things evil but regularly taking part in frown able deeds that would not be approved of in a ‘respectable’ society. This links in with the idea of secrecy among people and also that evil is present in everyone. The novel also has strong ties and is heavily influenced by religion. Stevenson, being brought up following strong Calvinist beliefs, portrays his thoughts and opinion throughout the story in his characters; good and evil.
Stevenson’s most prominent character in the story is the mysterious Mr Hyde. Edward Hyde is introduced from the very first chapter when he tramples a young girl in the street, which brings the reader’s attention straight to his character. The reader will instantly know that this person is a very important part of this book and that he plays a key role in the story. This role is the one of a respectable old man named Dr Jekyll’s evil side or a ‘doppelganger’. This links in with the idea of duality. Dr Jekyll is described as being ‘handsome’, ‘well-made’ and ‘smooth-faced’. On the other hand, Mr Hyde is described as being ‘hardly human’, ‘pale and dwarfish’, giving of an impression of deformity and ‘so ugly that it brought out the sweat on (Mr Enfield) like running’! These words all go together to conjure up an image in the mind of an animal, beast or monster. During the novel...

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..., and also used subtle contrasts between characters and places to create in depth detail and to portray the popular secrecy that bound the Victorian era. His feelings and thoughts are cleverly wound into his writing. The morals of the story, it is thought that he wrote the books as an allegory, however discreet are very important. Stevenson believed that gentlemen were hypocrites with outward respectability and inward lust and greed, and in this novel there are several occasions where hypocrisy is brought into the lime light.
In his characters, he used powerful imagery and interesting language to draw a picture of what people in those days were really like. The novel's impact is so great that it has become a part of common language, with the phrase "Jekyll and Hyde" meaning a person who is vastly different in moral character from one situation to the next.

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