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Can someone mark my Jekyll and Hyde Essay - AQA GCSE

Could someone please mark my essay?


I do not suppose that, when a drunkard reasons with himself upon his vice, he is once out of five hundred times affected by the dangers that he runs through his brutish, physical insensibility; neither had I, long as I had considered my position, made enough allowance for the complete moral insensibility and insensate readiness to evil, which were the leading characters of Edward Hyde. Yet it was by these that I was punished. My devil had been long caged, he came out roaring. I was conscious, even when I took the draught, of a more unbridled, a more furious propensity to ill. It must have been this, I suppose, that stirred in my soul that tempest of impatience with which I listened to the civilities of my unhappy victim; I declare at least, before God, no man morally sane could have been guilty of that crime upon so pitiful a provocation; and that I struck in no more reasonable spirit than that in which a sick child may break a plaything. But I had voluntarily stripped myself of all those balancing instincts, by which even the worst of us continues to walk with some degree of steadiness among temptations; and in my case, to be tempted, however slightly, was to fall. Instantly the spirit of hell awoke in me and raged. With a transport of glee, I mauled the unresisting body, tasting delight from every blow; and it was not till weariness had begun to succeed, that I was suddenly, in the top fit of my delirium, struck through the heart by a cold thrill of terror. A mist dispersed; I saw my life to be forfeit; and fled from the scene of these excesses, at once glorying and trembling, my lust of evil gratified and stimulated, my love of life screwed to the topmost peg. I ran to the house in Soho, and (to make assurance doubly sure) destroyed my papers; thence I set out through the lamplit streets, in the same divided ecstasy of mind, gloating on my crime, light-headedly devising others in the future, and yet still hastening and still hearkening in my wake for the steps of the avenger. “Repression is the cause of the evil events which occur in the novel.”

Starting with this extract, explore how far you agree with this opinion. Write about:

How Stevenson presents repression in this extract.
How Stevenson presents repression in the novel as a whole. (30)


In the crime and mystery novella “Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde '', Stevenson portrays repression as an incarcerating and immanent force within the streets of London. Through the construct of Mr Utterson, the psychological conflict between Dr Jekyll and “his devil”, and above all the dichotomous nature of man, Steveson aims to illustrate the prevalence of repression within a Christian Victorian society. Perhaps Stevenson aims to expose the hypocrisy of the middle class, emphasising how as long as repression exists, secrecy and “evil” will always prevail.

From the onset of the novella, repression is depicted through the construct of Mr Utterson, who for the reader acts as the lens for which the majority of the mystery is told. Stevenson presents the theme of repression in chapter 1, through Utterson's description although he loved the theatre, he had not crossed the door of one in 20 years” which perhaps explores how repression is a product of a Victorian Society’s, incessant ideologies of maintaining an “austere” Victorian gentleman facade. The juxtaposition between the emotive language of “love” and the initial description of “dusty and dreary” perhaps explores how Victorian gentlemen can never truly express themselves and indulge in their desires, ultimately leading them to detach themselves from the things they love the most, like Utterson drinking gin to mortify the taste vintages”. Furthermore, the lexical choice of “theatre” a leisure activity, on one hand perhaps highlights how incarcerating repression can be, and how in order to maintain facades we must give up our true passions and conceal our pleasures”. Alternatively the employment of “theatre” would be a place where crime and homosexual acts would take place, as a result of society caging their “devils” during the day. So perhaps Stevenson highlights how repression leads to crime, which ultimately leads to a chaotic and dangerous Society, where leisurely activities like the “theatre” must be avoided to remain safe. However, the lexical choice of “door” may be symbolic of the threshold between Utterson’s desires and morality. Utterson within the novella is symbolic of the epitome of a Victorian gentleman, so by Stevenson highlighting how Utterson does not “cross” the door of the theatre , he may be critical of how Society fails to accept their true “pleasures” and explore their duplicitous nature”, to which some extent, completely contradicts the persona of the Victorian gentlemen.

Later on in the novella, Stevenson explores how repression is a battle between one’s “dual nature”. This is explored in Chapter 3, Dr Jekyll is quite at ease, where the reader begins to encounter the detriments of repression, as we see Jekyll begin to ultimately lose control of his sanity and mental psyche. Stevenson explores this through the slight transformation” he grew pale in the lips, and a blackness came about his eyes”, which perhaps symbolises how repression is only a temporary method to conceal one's true desires, and slowly leads to the plaguing of one's mind. The imagery of “grew” connotes illness, almost as though a sickness is spreading through Jekyll, in this case “evil”. Stevenson here explores the stubbornness of a Victorian society via Jekyll, emphasising how when we refuse to fully accept our true selves and instead “hyde” and repress our “pleasures”, it will only lead to self destruction. The imagery of “pale” to a Victorian reader, on one hand may denote affluence, as most Victorian gentlemen would have worked indoors, detached from any form of labour and the sun, however, Stevenson deliberately uses the gothic imagery of “pale” to emphasise how repression causes one to become sickly and inhumane, and how they slowly lose themselves to a societal facade. Additionally, the symbolism of “eyes”, which act as windows to the soul, further explores how Dr Jekyll is increasingly becoming evil, down to his core, as he continues to keep his “devil caged”, rather than fully releasing the burden of repression.

Thirdly, Stevenson explores how repression can lead to isolation, and also explores how imminent repression is in the 19th century, even so that it spreads to the setting. This is explored in the description of Dr Jekyll’s house in Chapter 5: “three dusty windows barred with iron” which illustrates the lengths Dr Jekyll has to go to keep his spirit of evil” caged, which perhaps is symbolic of the Victorian Society’s reluctance and resistance to change. The imagery of “three” perhaps parallels to Freud's idea, that the human psyche is complex, consisting of the Id, Ego and SuperEgo, which is inextricably linked to Dr Jekyll’s conjecture that “man is not truly one, but truly two”. Perhaps Stevenson explores how “prolonged” repression can lead us to not only isolate ourselves from society, but can ultimately lead us to placing a barrier [“barred iron”] between our societal and intrinsic persons. Furthermore, the employment of “iron” further denotes the extent to which society represses themselves, almost symbolic of a jail cell. However, alternatively, perhaps Stevenson uses the chemical imagery of “iron” a drug, to perhaps interestingly explore how repression can lead to addiction and drug misuse. Contextually, this would be a serious issue within a Victorian society, especially with the rise of opioids.

Finally, Stevenson explores how repression can lead to the ultimate destruction of one's psyche, in this case, the prime example being Dr Jekyll, an ostensibly “fine figure of man”. Stevenson illustrates this through the metaphor “my devil had long been caged, and came out roaring”. The semantic field of “caged” and “roaring” interestingly explores how Dr Jekyll’s, darker and repressed side “Hyde" is animalistic, primitive and “trodolytic”. Therefore, through the imagery of “roaring” Stevenson emphasises how prolonged repression can lead to an explosive catharsis, which throughout the novella are explored as Hyde’s wicked and “hellish” outbursts and murders. Additionally, interestingly, the metaphor “caged” symbolises how we can all grapple and take full control of our desires, so perhaps Stevenson is only critical of a Victorian society that unnecessarily forces and indoctrinates its citizens to uphold the negligent ideologies of a Victorian gentleman. Linking back to “caged” and its primitive connotations, perhaps Stevenson uses this as a subtle reference to Darwinism, criticising how a Christian society fails to truly accept their nature, and more widely their “pleasures''. In addition, the religious imagery of “spirit of hell”, creates a sense that repression is directly linked to “hell” and evil, and for a Christian audience acts as a means to warn society that repression will only lead to humanity further succumbing to their temptations. Interestingly, the lexical choice of “spirit” may also be tied to alcohol and indulgence, which further explores how we can never truly rid ourselves of our desires, as it is an intrinsic element to our human dichotomy.

To conclude, Stevenson, through the theme of repression, fully aims to educate his audience, a Victorian society that increasingly induces its population with the false idea that repression will not lead to chaos. Through his novella, Stevenson aims to expose our societal facades, highlighting our inescapable but true readiness to evil”.

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