The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde written by Robert Louis Stevenson examines the line between fact and the scientific unknown. Stevenson was an intellectual who like many others in his day, was intrigued by the origin of man. He was a close supporter of Charles Darwin, a scientist who had published controversial findings talking about a theory of evolution. He closely believed that man had evolved over time from primitive creatures and had gradually suppressed its instincts. In Stevenson's novel, he depicts a renowned scientist who has problems dealing with his multi-faced personality, primarily his primal instincts. He initially has a big problem, rejecting Mr. Hyde as an essential part of his nature. However, Dr. Jekyll realizes that the more he tries to limit and control his counterpart, the stronger influence Mr. Hyde has over their shared body. Stevenson uses the theme of duality in order to provide contrast among the main characters of the novel. The theme of duality, influenced by Darwin's theory of evolution, plays a big role in The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by providing contrast in relationships between main characters as well as leading Dr. Jekyll to question his own identity.
Robert Louis Stevenson was well aware of the ongoing scientific discussion and shared the views confirmed by Darwin's findings. Robert Louis Stevenson uses vocabulary in his novel invoking the theory of evolution. In reference to Stevenson's word choice Stiles notes two specific word choices made by Stevenson confirming his familiarity with the evolutionary theory. The two words radically and primitive were used by scientists in nearly every scientific field during the late nineteenth century when this novel was written. These words were often used in a condescending manner with racial implications towards civilizations that were different to English Society (Stiles 5). It is clearly shown that Mr. Hyde meets the stereotypical role of the primitive man during the time period.
[...] He says that there will always be an internal struggle within Jekyll as long as he continues to reject his primal instincts. (Thomason 12) Due to his inability to accept his dual personality, Jekyll begins to gradually transform into Hyde as an intense inner conflict begins. Jekyll tells of his internal battle declaring, devil had been long caged, he came out roaring as the first edge of my penitence wore off the lower side of me began to growl for license” (Stevenson 91-92). [...]
[...] Jekyll and Mr. Hyde as completely different, it is up to Utterson to put everything together. If it was not for Utterson the reader would never learn about the theory of duality which influences the novel profoundly. (Stiles At the beginning Lanyon makes a distinguishing statement, completely separating the two, while Utterson later has to find the alarming truth. Another interesting tactic that Stevenson implements is the usage of character role reversals. While at the onset of the novel, Jekyll is the renowned doctor of his city, by the end of the novel his role is noticeably changed. [...]
[...] It seemed natural and human. In my eyes it bore a lovelier image of the spirit, it seemed more express and single than the imperfect and divided countenance I had been hitherto accustomed.” (Stevenson 45) Dr. Jekyll says that he would rather lend his body to Mr. Hyde than live a life struggling to fight for control of the body. Dr. Jekyll deals with the conflict for control of the shared body by expressing his concern over the separation and his desire for unification. [...]
[...] The theme of duality, influenced by Darwin's theory of evolution, plays a big role in The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by providing contrast in relationships between main characters as well as leading Dr. Jekyll to question his own identity. Robert Louis Stevenson was well aware of the ongoing scientific discussion and shared the views confirmed by Darwin's findings. Robert Louis Stevenson uses vocabulary in his novel invoking the theory of evolution. In reference to Stevenson's word choice Stiles notes two specific word choices made by Stevenson confirming his familiarity with the evolutionary theory. [...]
[...] Jekyll and Mr. Hyde New York: Scribner 1886. Stiles, Anne. "Robert Louis Stevenson's Jekyll and Hyde and the Double Brain." Studies in English Literature 1500- (Autumn 2006): 879-900. Rpt. in Short Story Criticism. Ed. Jelena O. Krstovic. Vol Detroit: Gale Literature Resource Center. Web Apr Thomason, Elizabeth. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” Novels for Students p 195- 218 Detroit: Gale Web Apr. 2011. [...]
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