Special offer for our client! Click to order with 5% discount: Click to order with 5% discount: FIRST5

Published: 09-10-2019

121 writers online

Important: This essay is not a finished work, it is only an outline that needs refinement and formatting.
If you want to pay for essay for unique writing Behind Duality of Jekyll and Hyde, just click Order button. We will write a custom essay on Behind Duality of Jekyll and Hyde specifically for you!

Behind Duality of Jekyll and Hyde

Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde is a novel which is arguably totally about duality. The most obvious example is of course that of the contrast among Jekyll and Hyde themselves, but underneath that is a multitude of smaller oppositions, such as dark and light private and public and animal and man, which collectively underline and strengthen the feeling of duality which permeates the novella. This essay will examine a number of of these dualities, how they interact and how they enhance the themes and messages of the story itself.

The relationship between dark and light is a single which is repeatedly addressed throughout the story. Whilst it is widespread in several kinds of novel, it has certain significance in The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde, as there are characters onto which the reader can directly imprint dark and light. Hyde is repeatedly characterized in dark methods during his very first appearance in the story, in Enfield’s recounting of the night the girl was trampled, he is described as possessing a “black, sneering coolness” (p.ten) and, for contrast, the doctor is described on the prior web page as being of “no particular… colour” (p.9). In addition, when the physician looks at Hyde, he is described as turning “sick and white” (p.9). Jekyll’s adjust in demeanor soon after the murder of Carew is also described in these terms his face is described as seeming to “open and brighten” (p.29). Following the meeting among Dr. Lanyon and Mr. Hyde, as is revealed in Lanyon’s letter later in the story, Jekyll sends Utterson a message and this section is replete with pictures of dark and light. The content of the message is described as “darkly mysterious” (p.30), and the portion which is shared with the reader shows that Jekyll is also pondering in these terms he demands of Utterson that he be allowed to go his “own dark way” (p.30) and suggests that by acquiescing to his wish for isolation, Utterson would “lighten [his] destiny” (p.30). There are several other examples all through the text, and Hyde is nearly constantly associated with darkness (only as soon as is Hyde described in ‘light’ terms just soon after Utterson meets him for the initial time, he is said to be “pale and dwarfish” (p.17)). Even characters’ appraisals of Hyde’s temperament incorporate this dichotomy Utterson describes him as possessing “black secrets” (p.19), and again directly compares him to Jekyll, whose worst secrets, according to Utterson, are “like sunshine” (p.19). This comparison extends even to the description of setting and spot. Stevenson describes a “haggard shaft of daylight [which] would glance in in between the swirling wreaths” (p.23), and streetlamps illuminating a scene in “a regular pattern of light and shadow” (p.15). The close relationship amongst dark and light is a recurring method all through the story hardly ever is the concept of ‘dark’ mentioned without having a corresponding mention of ‘light’ somewhere in the text nearby. Additionally, the juxtaposition among light and dark is also addressed a number of instances in the novella individuals who are hunting at Hyde, or pondering about him, are typically mentioned to be white or pale. The doctor in Enfield’s tale is 1 instance, as is Jekyll’s reaction to Utterson’s mention of Hyde’s name in the course of their conversation about his will – “the huge handsome face of Dr. Jekyll grew pale to the extremely lips” (p.20). Lanyon, also, is described as possessing “grown pale” (p.29) soon after seeing Hyde transform into Jekyll. If dark and light are accepted as metaphors for good and bad, the effect right here is that characters’ goodness is intensified upon seeing Hyde, in significantly the exact same way that a light patch seems lighter when next to one thing dark. The interweaving of these two ideas serves to make an all round point about the overarching duality of Jekyll and Hyde themselves as is created clear throughout Jekyll’s full statement of the case, the dark (evil) side of man and the light (virtuous) side, even though being opposed by definition, are nonetheless lashed with each other by necessity. This is also the case for dark and light themselves where there is no light, there is dark, so despite their opposition they are two sides of the very same coin.

An additional pairing to which that analogy is applicable is that of public and private. Especially in Victorian society, known for its puritanical bent and clear-cut distinction among decrease and upper classes, public and private faces frequently had to be really different. The first instance in the text of someone curtailing their wants due to concerns about propriety is Utterson, who is stated to drink gin to “mortify a taste for vintages” (p.7). He is said, on the very same page, to get pleasure from the theatre but not to have attended a show in twenty years. While Utterson does not precisely ‘let loose’ whilst at home, these information imply that his private desires are such that they need to have to be contained this is again addressed when he is reading “some dry divinity” (p.12) on his desk, seemingly for a related purpose as drinking the gin. Utterson’s feelings on the matter are in fact baldly stated at 1 point, exactly where he is identified as a man “to whom the fanciful was the immodest” (p.13). The conflict amongst Jekyll’s private and public lives plays out rather far more bombastically than Utterson’s, but the inclusion of these little details show that these elements are present even in the unlikeliest candidates and supplies a by way of-line, linking the males together. Naturally, the gulf in between Jekyll’s public and private selves is the main thrust of the novella, and significantly of the material illustrating this point surrounds him. 1 of the approaches in which Stevenson highlights this is through the mention of windows a window can be deemed a gateway by way of which one can view the private from a public place and vice versa. Hyde’s home is described at the starting of the novella as “show[ing] no window” (p.8), emphasizing the inability of the characters and reader to view what goes on in there additionally, the block at the end of Jekyll’s garden is mentioned to be a “dingy windowless structure” (p.25). Utterson and Enfield discovering Jekyll at the window also reinforces this effect their capability to see him almost leads them to witness his transformation into Hyde, or his private self, as is recommended by the haste with which he slams the window shut. This is the only time when Jekyll is observed close to or via a window, and it is the last time he appears in the story’s chronology, so it is arguably a foreshadowing of Jekyll’s forthcoming exposure and the illumination of his private life. Connected to this symbolism is the repeated mention of eyes in the story typically, characters in the story make judgements about other individuals based on their eyes, as if they betray some thing deeper than the person’s basic manner. In this sense, eyes function a lot like windows, allowing access to private locations of data. This begins in the very initial paragraph of the novella Utterson has “something eminently human beacon[ing] from his eye” (p.7), prompting the reader to trust him and determine with him. Also, after Utterson’s very first mention of Hyde to Jekyll, “there came a blackness about [Jekyll’s] eyes” (p.20) – this ties in with the concept of Hyde being represented by darkness. When Lanyon becomes ill, Utterson judges the state of his character and overall health not by his common appearance, but especially by “a appear in the eye” (p.29). This connection in between eyes and private thoughts is produced much more overt throughout Jekyll’s complete statement of the case when he writes about how close Hyde is to him, he describes it as “closer than a wife, closer than an eye” (p.61).

The difference among animal and man is also an crucial dichotomy in the story. Hyde is extremely frequently described in animalistic terms although not seeking like an animal, necessarily, his movements and speech are often described as such. The first parallels are in Hyde’s encounter with Utterson when Utterson says his name, he shrinks back “with a hissing intake of the breath” (p.16). Furthermore, on the subsequent web page, he “snarl[s] aloud into a savage laugh” (p.17). On this same web page, Utterson finds Hyde “hardly human” (p.17). Later in the story the comparisons are drawn much more noticeably for instance, Hyde attacks Carew “with ape-like fury” (p.22), when Poole sees him wearing his mask, he moves “like a monkey” (p. 37) and when Utterson is breaking down the door of the cabinet, Hyde screeches “as of mere animal terror” (p.38). Several other animalistic words are used all through the story to describe Hyde’s actions, such as “roaring” (p.56), “mauled” (p.56) and “growl” (p.58). These points are specifically relevant for two motives firstly, the then-recent publication of Darwin’s On the Origin of Species setting forth a scientific theory in which humans and animals have been, in essence, indistinguishable and secondly, Victorian society being as image-conscious and puritanical as it was, ‘animal’ behaviur would be considered a disgrace, and the thought that humans may well be descended from animals was practically heretical. It is arguable that The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is, at least in component, conveying that humankind has each an animal side and a refined, cultured side, which the Victorians would have been regarded to be polar opposites. Nevertheless, this interpretation does not tell the full story, as Patricia Ferrer-Medina states in Wild Humans: “given his brutal nature, Hyde’s behavior is surprisingly civil: he refers to himself as a gentleman” (Ferrer-Medina, 2007, p.11). Mr. Hyde is shown a number of instances all through the story to be capable of refinement when he first meets Utterson, he agrees to carrying out a favor for him with the words “with pleasure” (p.16), and he also furnishes Utterson with his address as soon as he has noticed his face – a social nicety which is far from animalistic.

Throughout his meeting with Lanyon, as well, he is shown as capable of keeping a specific level of decorum, saying “I beg your pardon, Dr. Lanyon” (p.45) and getting described as speaking “civilly” (p.45). The idea of Hyde as an animal (reinforced by his name being a homophone for “hide”, as in the hide of an animal) is not fully congruous, then, with his characterization throughout the novel while he elicits incredibly negative reactions from other folks, it is not often due to his behavior. This is arguably a comment on how animals do not necessarily have to act like animals all the time in order to be counted as such, and indeed that possibly even humans themselves could be animals, as was suggested in Darwin’s paper. Jekyll’s statement that “man is not truly a single, but actually two” (p.48) is probably the most revealing comment on this concern it can very easily be taken to imply that humans are not only cultured, but also have an animalistic dark side which is a remnant of our evolutionary history. This is further strengthened by Jekyll mentioning “the thorough and primitive duality of man” (p.49), the word ‘primitive’ potentially referring to humankind’s animal previous as nicely as somewhat mirroring the word ‘primate’, since they have the same root word. Jekyll’s insistence when describing himself searching in the mirror as Hyde that “this, too, was myself” (p.51) is the final piece of evidence which supports this interpretation. In Wild Humans, Patricia Ferrer-Medina states: “The notion of evolution is also mentioned to clarify why Hyde is smaller sized in stature than Jekyll. The medical professional explains that simply because he had exercised his evil side much less than his great side, when the evil side was offered totally free rein it was “less robust and less created.”” (Ferrer-Medina, 2007, p.10). This speaks of the evolutionary influence on Stevenson’s work, an influence which, crucially, placed the concepts of animal and man on the very same spectrum, rather than being opposites.

There are also some exciting connections in between these established dualities. For instance, even though a window is representative of private and public, it is also representative of light and dark a window lets in light just as effortlessly as it could let secrets out. There is also a correlation among the dualities themselves, as the dark is often an effective shield for private affairs, maintaining them hidden from the public. One of the ironies of the text is that when Hyde’s door is broken by Utterson, he is located dead, but in a brightly-lit, cozy room. One particular would count on Hyde, as a figure of malice, brutishness and animality, to reside primarily in the dark, as would be in maintaining with his characterization throughout the novella. Even so, the space becoming vibrant and warm is in fact representative of these dualities, in that Jekyll’s private life (i.e. Mr. Hyde himself) is abruptly being illuminated.

The ideas of public and private are also crucial inside the text itself, as Jekyll makes use of them to disassociate himself from the consequences of his actions, and to stay away from moral responsibility for them. Jekyll says, in his final letter, that he allowed himself to turn out to be distanced from the actions of Hyde given that “it was Hyde, after all, and Hyde alone, that was guilty. Jekyll was no worse he woke once again to his good qualities seemingly unimpaired” (p.53). This puts forward Jekyll’s seeming idea that one’s private self ought to not be reflected, at all, in one’s public self. In In The Business of Strangers, Ronald Thomas writes:

“Jekyll’s consistent absenting of himself from his personal texts accords with his goal in producing Hyde in the initial location: to deny himself moral agency, to cease becoming an “I.” This intention is fulfilled at the end of Jekyll’s statement in the hopeless confusion with which the first- and third-individual pronouns are employed the writer finally starts referring to both Jekyll and Hyde as “them,” as autonomous in other words (95).” (Thomas, 1986, p.eight/9))

By separating the two parts of himself, the public and private, at the finish of the text Jekyll himself cannot recognize with either one particular.

Ultimately, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde is replete with dualities these are only 3 examples, but in many methods they are interwoven and self-reinforcing in such a way that they lend an intense depth to the text, each in intrinsic and extrinsic readings. The presence of so numerous oppositions provides the novella a wonderful sense of ambiguity, considering that they are so typically mixed and matched, and it also (maybe crucially) underlines the overarching theme: as place by Jekyll, that “man is not genuinely 1, but genuinely two” (p.48).


Thomas, R. R. (1986) ‘In the Firm of Strangers: Absent Voices in Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Beckett’s Company’. Modern Fiction Research, vol. 32 no. two, pp. 157 – 173

Ferrer-Medina, P. (2007) ‘The Culture/Nature Duality in Marie Darrieussecq’s Pig Tales and Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The Comparatist, vol. 31, pp. 67 – 87

Stevenson, R. L. (2003) ‘Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’. New York: WW Norton.
Calculate your price

What are you waiting for?

No matter what type of essay you need, we’ll get it written, so let’s get started.


This material is not unique

Our experts help you to write plagiarism-free paper

Get plagiarism-free paper

Get plagiarism-free paper

Would you like to get an example of this paper?

Please write down your email to receive it right away

Receive paper

Thanks for subscribing!