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PLEASE MARK - How is Jekyll presented throught the novella?

Hi, just wondering if someone could offer me a mark out of 40 and any feedback for this essay using the Eduqas mark scheme.

My Response:

Stevenson initially presents Dr Jekyll as a respectable, upper-class gentleman in Victorian society who is rational and takes precautions where necessary. As the story progresses however, it becomes evident that there is a darker side to Dr Jekyll’s personality, as his desires to indulge in immoral activities as Mr Hyde become more and more evident. Jekyll often becomes consumed by his desires to fully explore the duality of human nature. These desires along side his obsession with maintaining his position in society eventually lead to Jekyll’s downfall. The gothic novella explores the theme of duality, with several religious references that were common to the gothic genre in the Victorian era.

In one of our first encounters with Jekyll, we begin to get a sense of his inner evil as the “large, handsome face of Dr Jekyll” soon grows “pale” with a “blackness about his eyes implying although Jekyll appears sophisticated from the outside, there is something not quite right within him. We initially get the sense that Jekyll is an attractive and imposing figure, serving a stark contrast to Mr Hyde. The use of the adjective ‘handsome’ connotes Jekyll is a well-groomed and presentable character who must be held in high regard by others in society. However, this handsomeness could serve as a deceitful mask to cover up Jekyll’s dark desires for evil, in order to reinforce his strong image as a reputable Victorian gentleman. Stevenson’s use of juxtaposition hints towards Jekyll’s pretentious nature and the stark contrast of his “large, handsome face” with the “blackness” in his eyes evokes and unsettling image of his appearance, similar to that of Hyde’s. The adjective ‘blackness’ connotes evil and danger, provoking an image of a concealed darkness within Jekyll’s body, suggesting something deeply disturbing and malevolent is lurking behind Jekyll’s gentlemanly appearance . Stevenson immediately presents Jekyll in this double-faced manner to emphasise his deep and deceptive evil to the reader. We begin to get a sense of Stevenson overall message here as he seems willing to tarnish the image of a reputable gentleman in order to exemplify the strong duality of man presents in those times. Jekyll may seem like a gentleman on the outside, however his desires are corrupted and wicked, giving the reader the first hints to the dual nature of man in Victorian society . Jekyll represents the dual nature of man as he clearly symbolises having two sides to his nature. This was prevalent in the Victorian era, as many gentleman had a sophisticated appearance, however often inclined to sinful deeds. These desires were in most cases suppressed due to the fear of tarnishing one’s reputation, as this was the hallmark of an upper-class gentleman.

Later on however, in chapter 5, when Jekyll’s good friend Mr Utterson confronts him about the mysterious man Mr Hyde, Jekyll is quick to respond by exclaiming “I swear to God I will never set my eyes on him again suggesting Jekyll has had enough of Hyde and will no longer be associating with him and his malevolent deeds. We get the feeling here that Jekyll is a cautious and rational person, who takes measures to protect himself from harm. Jekyll has understood the dangerous that Hyde poses to him and his reputation, therefore taking steps to prevent his status in society being tarnished by the sinful man . This would be important in Jekyll’s eyes as in the Victorian era, having a good reputation was one of the most prestigious characteristics, generating respect and honour to those who had one. The use of the phrase “I swear to God” puts further emphasis on the sincerity and seriousness of the solemn promise made to be rid of the dangerous Hyde, whilst the adverb ‘never’ connotes that the decision is final and absolute . This would have been particularly controversial for a Victorian reader as the majority were religious and thought that swearing something to God and then lying was one of the most sinful deeds that could be committed. Stevenson portrays Jekyll here as desperate to convince Utterson that there will be no more of Mr Hyde, which could foreshadow his struggles to terminate his Hyde entity. Perhaps deep inside, Jekyll still desires Hyde’s activities, as they make him feel “younger, lighter, happier” and above all, free from the constraints of Victorian society that demand him to maintain a stainless reputation . This ultimately presents Jekyll as a slightly deceptive character as there could be multiple interpretation to his actions, illustrating him as a manipulative person. Perhaps Stevenson does this again to exaggerate Jekyll’s dual nature, as on the outside he seems to be weary and logical about his decisions. Whereas, it can be interpreted that deep down inside, he still wishes to indulge in the pleasures of Mr Hyde.

Furthermore, in chapter 7, when Jekyll is ultimately forced into hiding due to his addiction with the evil nature of Hyde and his lack of control over the entity, Jekyll is described as looking down on Mr Utterson and Mr Enfield “like some disconsolate prisoner” from his window. This highlights Jekyll’s sense of despair and isolation, as the simile reflects Jekyll’s struggles with his conflicted desires and impulses. Stevenson’s use of the adjective ‘disconsolate’ evokes an image of Jekyll being deeply unhappy and dejected, as if he is dissatisfied with life, whilst the noun ‘prisoner’ adds to the imagery of confinement and captivity by his own mind and body, emphasising his inability to fully express his desires . This again supports Stevenson’s notion of presenting Jekyll as deceptive as his dual nature if further brought to light. Externally he portrays himself as a respectable man in society, whereas truly he wishes to continue indulging in Hyde’s mischievous pleasures, without bearing the consequences. Jekyll feels unable to escape the consequences of his scientific experiments that eventually created the evil beast Mr Hyde. Perhaps Stevenson is trying to hint towards the demand but on Victorian gentleman to maintain their status, as it has led to Jekyll feeling isolated as he struggles to maintain his facade of respectability in society, while dealing with the darker side of his nature. This would leave a Victorian reader wonder whether society is truly putting so much pressure on their gentleman to remain prestigious, to the point where they seem dejected from normal society.

Finally, in chapter 10, when the true story of Jekyll’s duality begins to uncover, along with his darker intentions that had been long suppressed, Jekyll states in his letter that “my devil had been long caged This metaphor strongly indicates Jekyll’s dual nature as he portrays himself as a respectable, upright member of society, whilst secretly indulging in his more malicious desires. The reader feels as thought the desires are not just a part of his personality, but they are a malevolent force that have taken control of the once upper-class gentleman. Stevenson uses religious imagery of the ‘devil’ to compare with Jekyll’s desires to highlight Jekyll’s secret wickedness, as his impulses are compared with the epitome of evil. Stevenson further emphasises Jekyll’s dark nature by implying that when it finally emerged, it did so in a powerful and destructive manner, like a wild animal which appropriately links to the release of the demons buried inside him as once Jekyll had delved into his supernatural science, the evil within him “came out roaring ”. Stevenson’s use of the verb ‘roaring’ to show Jekyll’s darkness emerging evokes an image of aggression and ferocity, comparing it to an inhumane beast. This would have been particularly disturbing for a Victorian reader as at the time, Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution led many Victorians to fear the idea of ‘devolution’, that humans could devolve into a more primitive state. This could perhaps be what has happened to Dr Jekyll, as his strong desires for evil have overtaken his obsession with maintaining his respect and honour as an upper-class Victorian gentleman. This links to the book ‘Frankenstein’ also published in the Victorian era, in which the fear of horrific scientific experiments was developed further, exaggerating the sense of horror associated with science that tampered with human nature at the time. However, for readers and scientists in support of Darwin and his theories, the novella would seem like an overly-dramatic response to the scientific pursuits as they believed in scientific advancements and acknowledged the risks involved.

Overall, Jekyll’s character develops through the novel, as the hints of his secret nature become more prevalent as the novel progresses. Ultimately, Jekyll was not able to control his impulses and his desires to break free of the constraints of a gentleman in Victorian society. This further emphasises Stevenson’s overall message of there being a strong sense of duality within gentlemen in the Victorian era, which often became overwhelming and troubling for those in pursuit of maintaining a high standard and class in society.

Mark Scheme:
Reply 1

This is a very strong essay. One thing I would say to improve on is analyse your quotes more as well as embedding them into your sentences. It was done well but could be improved on. I would give this essay 32 + 4
Original post by t.p

This is a very strong essay. One thing I would say to improve on is analyse your quotes more as well as embedding them into your sentences. It was done well but could be improved on. I would give this essay 32 + 4

Thanks a lot. So do you mean after I embed my quote, zoom into more words and analyse connotations etc?
Reply 3
No worries! Yes, just do it a little bit more often. You are already doing extremely well, just need to add a tiny bit more in order to make your point come across stronger.
Original post by English_Warrior
Thanks a lot. So do you mean after I embed my quote, zoom into more words and analyse connotations etc?

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