Tuesday, March 12, 2019
Reflect Victorian Society and Culture in the Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Essay
In this essay I ordain be exploring the sorts in which Robert Louis Stevenson portrays and reflects the nightspot into which his novelette, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was initi onlyy introduced.To do this I leave al star explore setting, words and form inwardly the novel. in that respect ar also a number of themes and judgementls that I will also discuss Gothic Literary Tradition, tight-laced Science, dichotomy, fabrication and straight-laced concepts of virtue and vice.Many of the characters in Jekyll and Hyde show two sides to their personality. This duality is shown in their spotless(prenominal) and view public face that contradicts their despicable behaviour in private. Possibly the most obvious example of this is translaten where Sir Danvers Cargonw, a intelligent MP and gentle human, let onmingly a perfect person in twee ordering, is seen and killed whilst in Soho. At the time, Soho was a real undesirable argona of London where upstanding me n were not expected to be, at an unusual time of the night. The lateness of his realise there suggests that he was doing some social occasion that he didnt want his fri closes or anyone from his kindly circle to see, probably something deviant.Soho was a dropn for drug dealers, drug users, prostitutes, all types of crime and very poor plenty. This is reflective of a mutual plaza that was seen in the late eighteen hundreds. It would substantiate been a shocking and unexpected of idea to discuss this concept openly at the time the platter was written, however, as it would make those who carried bulge out deviant acts feel scrutinised and less safe. As if their deep was being made public. This is a very innovative and authoritative reflection of a puritanical website that was commonsplace yet underground.We see to a greater extent of this hearty situation when Jekyll himself explains that, as Hyde, he could perform acts that in his normal form he could not. His social rest would prohibit such(prenominal) behaviour and yet he felt compelled to act in this way. cognizant within Hyde and free from social expectations, he gained a sickening find of satisfaction, remorselessness and enjoyment when he acted upon his suppressed evilness longings. Or, at least, at number 1 he did. A sentiment shown in his statement of the case where he insinuates to, hugger-mugger pleasures, that I had enjoyed in the disguise of Hyde. This explains that, owing to his social standing being rather high and respectable, he could not act upon certain longings, but, as Hyde, an unrespected nobody, he could. This was a similar, if more extreme, version of a situation that society at the time forced many respectable quite a little into.Obviously nobody had two disassociate appearances and personalities, in a echt star, but some had a public face and life and a private one. Expectation was very high amongst people from respectable social positions and classes. Ther e was no room for misbehaving. It is suggested that social expectation indirectly resulted in the birth of Hyde, as the potion to turn Jekyll into Hyde was formulated in order to separate candid from evil. Social expectation was satisfied by Jekyll as the think was on the good things. As Hyde, a separate persona, he could be evil without the worry of social pressure and nature. Jekyll saysIf each, I told myself, could but be housed in separate identities, life would be relieved of all that was unsupportable the unjust might go his way, delivered from the aspirations and remorse of his more upright oppose and the just could walk steadfast, and securely on his upright pathThe duality shown in so many of the characters shows the inherent hypocrisy in Victorian society in which people had an open, public life and a secret life that only took place where the person was not available to coif under scrutiny from their society or class. This is a screening of the Victorian social min dset that appearances account for almost everything. So any deviancy or misbehavior could only be conducted in secret where that no one would know. The Victorians are shown to be willing to disregard, ignore and persist uninvolved in unpleasant things at the danger of falling from grace. This is a form of hypocrisy which is well shown where Mr. Enfield says, I make it a rule of mine the more something looks like Queer Street the less I ask, to which the reply from Mr. Utterson is, A very good rule, too.This shows the desperation of people to save face and keep up a facade of perfection and decency in order to agree with and re important in favor of Victorian social expectations. This explains the vastness of a temperament of decency and gallantry in the Victorian society in which the apply was published. The idea of reputation being essential is used as a utensil to scare and warn Hyde in the first chapter of the book. Enfield explains, Killing being out of the question, we d id the next best. We told the man we could and would make a s rear enddal out of this, as should make his name stink from one end of London to the former(a).If he had any friends or any credit, we undertook that he should lose them. The fact that wrecking his reputation was regarded as the next best thing to killing him emphasizes the importance of this to Victorian society. Another display of the importance of reputation occurs at the end of the book where Poole and Utterson are breaking down the door to Jekylls footlocker and Jekyll forces Hyde to kill himself. It shows the extreme measures that Jekyll will take he would rather be dead than tarnish his good reputation by letting his secret escape. This is a starkly shocking reminder of the importance of a reputation in Victorian high society.Victorian concepts of virtue and vice are discussed through and throughout the book. There was a set belief amongst the higher ranks of society that a malicious or evil nature in a person should be hidden and suppressed beneath the good features. This is explored through Jekyll and Hyde as Jekyll and Hyde are supposed to be the good and evil sides to Jekylls personality.So that Jekyll can safely release his suppressed evil through the form of Hyde. He could do this without coming under scrutiny from the society around him. He says secret pleasures, that I had enjoyed in the disguise of Hyde. Danvers Carew is other example of this as we see him in the country of Soho, despite his respectable faade. This whitethorn be because he is secretly acting upon the evil longings that he essential suppress for most of the time, due the social expectations of a man in his positionAnother way that Stevenson explores Victorian society is through its science. At the time of the publication of the book, one new scientific guess was the Darwinian theory of evolution. This is explored in the book. Many Victorians believed that criminals were less evolved than normal people they wer e thought to be a throwback from humanitys crude(a) past. Hyde, the criminal, is often depict as being similar to an animal and less evolved. Specifically, he is disclosed as being ape-like in his fury. Mr. Utterson says, The man seems just now human Something troglodytic. This implies he is primitive and less evolved. When Poole and Utterson are breaking into Jekylls cabinet Hyde emits, A dismal screech, as of mere animal terror. Again, animal-like traits are highlighted.Gothic Literary Traditions from the time period of the publication of the book are also important when we are discussing its paperline and themes. They were customs that were commonplace in novels of the time. There were set rules and patterns. There is the idea of the knightly dickens which was very common at the time, which takes the form of Hyde in this case. There was also the typical asynchronous transfer mode of darkness and cover and unnatural forces at work. This is exemplified in the novel by the dingy and dark setting. For example, Stevenson says that there were heavy pea souper fogs and much of the story occurs at wickedness in eerie locations such as the weakly Soho area. This draws from real life because there were real pea soupers and the area of Soho was passing undesirable and dingy.Also the fact that most of the evil occurs at nighttime is, to an extent, a reflection of Victorian reality, as the only time when respected people would be somewhere undesirable or acting upon evil desires would have been at night, under the cover of darkness. Hydes house has no windows and a single door, so is ominous, dark and secretive, with no means of an outlander being able to view what lies beyond its walls. Another secretive proficiency is that the monster, Hyde, is never set forth in great detail. Hyde is only ever described vaguely his unexpressed deformity is a clear indication that Stevenson is witting of the vagueness of his description.We also never see the story from hi s direct perspective, so his point of view is hidden which institutes to the secrecy of the book. There is also the idea of Hydes house being a lair, shown in the form of the cabinet and laboratory that add to the secrecy and is another common technique in gothic texts. Stevenson uses these traditionalistic ideas however, he does so in a subtle way with far less crudeness than in other books, such as Shelleys Frankenstein and Bram Stokers Dracula. Hyde is not literally called a monster and is, after all, human. It is the actions and nature of the character that make him the monster.Stevensons use of language helps to explore the Victorian culture that the book was written in. He uses them to add to and invoke some of the Gothic Literary Traditions in his book. Stevenson describes Jekyll in a lot of detail saying that he is handsome, respected and a gentleman. However, Hyde is accustomed very vague and non specific descriptions which add to the secrecy of the character that is, reverting to Gothic tradition, the monster character. Here we see a perfect display of this techniqueHe is not easy to describe. There is something wrong with his appearance something displeasing, something downright detestable. I never saw a man I so disliked, and yet I scarce know why. He must be deformed somewhere he gives a strong sense of deformity, although I couldnt specify the point. Hes an extraordinary-looking man, and yet I really can name nothing out of the way. No, sir I can make no hand of it I cant describe him. And it is not want of memory, for I declare I can see him this moment.By giving a vague, sketchy description Stevenson separates Hyde from other main characters that are described in detail, by almost de-humanizing him. This adds to the sense that Hyde is the traditional monster character, which is a tool used in Victorian writing. telescope is also used by Stevenson to draw on gothic tradition and gives an eerie yet sometimes truthful view of London. The way in which Stevenson describes the lodgings of Jekyll and Hyde is a use of language that adds to the gothic literary tradition. Jekylls house is in a very upper class area and is decorated and furnished with great taste and wealth. Whereas Hyde lives in a very rough area, Soho and his house is a dark, seedy place with no windows and a solitary door. This surrounds this character, the monster, with secrecy and shields him from the outside world. It creates an ominous, tense atmosphere, which was often used in gothic texts of the era.Also the places in the book where evil occurs are described as foggy and dingy. And the majority of the story occurs at night. This adds to the darkness and secrecy of the gothic novelette. A point that is further reinforced by the secrecy that shroud the lodgings of Jekyll and Hyde. Contemporary London is portrayed as having an externally respectable veneer of goodness that disguised a dangerous and flagitious undercurrent, the hiding place for much evil . This was to an extent actually true of Victorian London it had respectable areas but was quite a seedy place. As an example there was the notorious Jack the Ripper, who killed prostitutes in London in the Victorian era at night in back alleys and brothels and was suspect to have been a respected politician or businessman by day. This links in with the idea of Victorians often leading double lives good in the day and bad at night.The structure and form of the book emphasize the gothic traditions that Stevenson draws. The book is written from Mr. Uttersons perspective with narratives and interjections from other characters, such as Dr. Jekylls Full Statement of the Case however, significantly Hydes opinion is omitted. This heightens the shroud of secrecy and depravity that surrounds Hyde, the monster. This technique was common in Gothic novels of the time. It adds tension and terror to the novels by keeping the lector deprived of knowledge.To this we can link the reaction of the c ontemporary reader to this story. The reader would recognize much reality in the book. They would see truths from the time. For example, the pressures of society would be familiar. Some may be shocked or slightly ill at ease(predicate) when reading it, because the ideas of living double lives and suppressing evil and acting upon it in privacy, would have rung true of some readers. To discuss this in the open would have been out of the question and may have put certain individuals in an extremely uncomfortable spotlight. As was discussed earlier in the essay there was a clear Victorian mentality that reputation was very important, maybe the most important thing to some individuals. So some may have had private feelings and longings and may have acted upon these in private. On perceive this in the book, Sir Danvers Carews situation for example, it may have felt to them as though they were no longer safe to have a diabolical private life as people new that this sort of thing happen ed.* * *In conclusion I think that the book is a fairly truthful reflection of many aspects of Victorian society and culture, especially the idea of living a double life. I also think that Stevensons use of Gothic Literary tradition is effective. In the novelette, he provides a new variation on traditional themes. All in all, I think that Stevenson employs a high level of reality and supplements this by potation from the literary culture of the Victorian Britain of which he was a part.