Could someone please grade/give feedback on my Jekyll and Hyde essay please?

Watch
Piggo564
Badges: 3
Rep:
?
#1
Report Thread starter 8 months ago
#1
‘Jekyll and Hyde’ - Duality Essay
How does Stevenson present duality in ‘Jekyll and Hyde’?

Duality is what drives ‘The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’, creating a sense of misery surrounding the protagonist. It is the contrast between good and evil within oneself; it lies within us all, a battle between our primitive thoughts and how society expects us to behave. It’s society holding us back from what we want to live an ideal, happy life. Stevenson uses the character Henry Jekyll to convey the duality within human nature in ‘Jekyll and Hyde’. The protagonist, Dr Jekyll, and the antagonist, Mr Hyde, are revealed to be the same person at the end of the novella, which presents this idea of the good and the evil within one person.

One sign of duality is when Dr Jekyll’s enjoyment of turning into Mr Hyde is presented to the reader in chapter ten. Jekyll wrote that he didn’t turn into Hyde with “repugnance” but rather with “a leap of welcome”. This could represent Freud’s suggestion of an ‘id’ and a ‘superego’. The ‘id’ represents our innermost, primitive thoughts and what we want, while the ‘superego’ is our moral, critical ideas. In ‘Jekyll and Hyde’, Hyde represents ‘id’ while Victorian society represents ‘superego’. Dr Jekyll is the ‘ego’ – the struggle between the two – he must hide (a homophone of ‘Hyde’) what he wants to keep his reputation as a Victorian gentleman. This makes the transformation to Hyde seem more “natural and human” for Jekyll, as he is not having to adapt to society’s expectations. Jekyll’s primitive thoughts are further conveyed through him writing that Hyde has left his body with an “imprint of deformity and decay”. The noun “deformity” would have conveyed illness in the Victorian era as it was unknown and feared, and “decay” shows rotting and could also mirror the door from chapter one, with its “prolonged and sordid negligence”. These two nouns refer to how Jekyll is being put under pressure from Victorian society and it has started to eat into his mental wellbeing. Stevenson is telling the reader that Jekyll cannot conform to society’s rules any longer and that Hyde is being used as a coping mechanism for Jekyll. Perhaps Stevenson is saying that the two are not so different after all; Hyde is the same as Jekyll but without the pressure of society.

The duplicity of man is further conveyed through Hyde being “smaller, slighter and younger” than Jekyll. The adjective “younger” presents the evil within as “less exercised” as society prevents people like Jekyll from showing their true personality, creating a sense of suppressed emotions within the Victorian gentleman. This “less developed” description of evil could mirror the physical appearance of early man and further present Hyde as “troglodytic” and “deformed”. This idea of an unevolved man was only recently introduced to the Victorian era by Charles Darwin, which went against the large religious ideas at the time, which induces fear within a Victorian reader. Stevenson has used zoomorphism to present Hyde as a more animalistic being to create fear and suspense for a normal Victorian reader as they would have feared that which went against their belief. A modern reader would also fear this animalistic behaviour as Hyde is presented as some sort of monster. This differs greatly to Dr Jekyll, but Stevenson shows further duality not with Jekyll’s description, but with how Jekyll refers to Hyde: not as “him” or “it”, but as “me”. This pronoun “me” further emphasises how duality comes from within oneself; duality is the good and evil within. Stevenson could be saying that Hyde isn’t just within Jekyll, but he is the “pure evil” that resides within everyone. Perhaps Stevenson is referring to addiction here as Jekyll understands the bad affects that Hyde has on him, but he is unable to stay away - Jekyll is addicted to Hyde.


Another sign of the duality of human nature is shown through Hyde’s violence. Hyde’s “ape-like fury” explores the stark contrast between the two sides of Dr Jekyll. On one side, Jekyll has a “sincere and warm affection” and “every mark of capacity and kindness”, while on the other hand, Hyde has an “ill-contained impatience” and a “great flame of anger”. Stevenson presents Hyde as a monster with no sympathy or mercy for anyone but he presents Jekyll as a nice, warm gentleman, which shows a great contrast between the two characters. The noun “kindness” has a strong contrast to the noun “anger”, presenting the two men as antithetical. Stevenson has also purposely placed these chapters directly next to each other to emphasise the duality between Jekyll and Hyde as the reader will read about how “kind” and “warm” Jekyll is and then instantly reads about Hyde murdering someone in just the next chapter. This structure directly impacts both a Victorian and a modern reader as it emphasises the evil within Hyde compared to the goodness of Jekyll. However, a Victorian reader may feel more affected by the murder as it is considered a sin in the 10 commandments and the Victorian era was very religious and Christian, presenting Hyde as something like the Devil. Stevenson has successfully conveyed the duality of human nature by showing Hyde’s violence as “sudden” and unpredictable, compared to Jekyll’s calm description.

The setting of the novella further develops the idea of duality as it mirrors the contrast between Jekyll and Hyde. Stevenson has chosen London as his setting to use its dichotomous nature to convey the duality of human nature. The first sign of duality is when Utterson and Enfield walk past “the door” in chapter 1. The “sinister” and “discoloured” building sits just around the corner to the “thriving” and “polished” by-street. This shows duality as the descriptions of these streets sit right next to each other not only in the setting but also within the book itself; the description of the door is in the next paragraph to the description of the “busy quarter of London”. Stevenson is using the structure of the chapter to emphasise how close the contrasting streets are to each other. This use of structure gets Stevenson’s point across to both a Victorian and a modern reader as London still has a strong sense of duality to this day. Duality is further conveyed through the use of larger areas of London such as the places where Jekyll and Hyde live - Cavendish Square and Soho - which show a great contrast as Cavendish Square was the wealthiest part of London in the Victorian era, with its “handsome houses”, while Soho was “some city in a nightmare”. These areas of London have great contrast but show duality as they are almost next to each other in London. The setting of the novella mirrors the duality within Jekyll as the differences in London lay so close to each other, as Hyde lays so close to Jekyll, but differs greatly.
1
reply
DauntlessKilljoy
Badges: 12
Rep:
?
#2
Report 8 months ago
#2
I haven't read Jekyll and Hyde, despite being an English uni student, so I won't grade it; however, I will say that this is really good. I'm impressed. I would advise you to write a conclusion paragraph though, just to sum up what you've already said and answer the question one final time.
0
reply
Piggo564
Badges: 3
Rep:
?
#3
Report Thread starter 8 months ago
#3
(Original post by DauntlessKilljoy)
I haven't read Jekyll and Hyde, despite being an English uni student, so I won't grade it; however, I will say that this is really good. I'm impressed. I would advise you to write a conclusion paragraph though, just to sum up what you've already said and answer the question one final time.
Okay, I'm not too good at doing conclusions, any ideas on how to do this effectively?
0
reply
DauntlessKilljoy
Badges: 12
Rep:
?
#4
Report 7 months ago
#4
basically just repeat the question and answer it concisely in a few lines. it might sound a bit repeptitive but that's okay at high school level.
ultimately, Stevenson presents duality in Jekyll and Hyde through the physical embodiment of Hyde as the darker side of Jekyll's personality which he feels he must suppress. this creation of a monster simulatenously emphasises his opposition to Jekyll as well as that they are the same, two sides of the same coin. Thus, without duality, there would be no Jekyll and Hyde, just Jekyll.
(I hope that's an okay example conclusion. I haven't read the book so tried to pick it up from your essay. basically just pick your most important two paragraphs and repeat you final point about each one again in reference to the question).
0
reply
X

Quick Reply

Attached files
Write a reply...
Reply
new posts
Back
to top
Latest
My Feed

See more of what you like on
The Student Room

You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

Personalise

Current uni students - are you thinking of dropping out of university?

Yes, I'm seriously considering dropping out (181)
14.57%
I'm not sure (57)
4.59%
No, I'm going to stick it out for now (367)
29.55%
I have already dropped out (36)
2.9%
I'm not a current university student (601)
48.39%

Watched Threads

View All