Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde Theme Essay - Middle School Language Arts - Essay

1022 words - 5 pages

Duality: something we have created within our minds that restricts us from seeing a
world where this division does not exist, or in other words a world of perfection. One story that
utilizes this is the novella written by Robert Louis Stevenson entitled ​The Strange Case Of Dr.
Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.​ This novella describes a well-respected member of society that has
everything that a man could wish for, Dr. Jekyll, and an indecent and mysterious member of
society that is suspicious and gory, Mr. Hyde. The main character, Dr. Jekyll, is constricted by
Victorian society which causes him to split into the two selves of Jekyll (good) and Hyde (evil).
Additionally, the society forces Jekyll to suppress his secretive behavior that will eventually go
out of control. This compels him to live a double life and causes the destruction of Dr. Jekyll and
Mr. Hyde. Throughout the reading of this novella, the theme of good v. evil is reoccurring
through Stevenson’s illustration of the two characters physical appearance, portrayal of both
characters personalities, and foreshadowing between setting and character.
To begin with, the theme of good v. evil can be conveyed by the physical appearance of
both Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. For example, in Dr. Lanyon’s Narrative it states, “He put the glass
to his lips and drank at one gulp. A cry followed; he reeled, staggered, clutched at the table and
held on, staring with injected eyes, gasping with open mouth; and as I looked there came, I
thought, a change—he seemed to swell— his face became suddenly black and the features
seemed to melt and alter—and the next moment, I had sprung to my feet and leaped back against
the wall, my arm raised to shield me from that prodigy, my mind submerged in terror. ‘O God!’ I
screamed, and ‘O God!’ again and again; for there before my eyes—pale and shaken, and half-
fainting, and groping before him with his hands, like a man restored from death— there stood
Henry Jekyll!” (page 50). This comes as a great shock for Lanyon as he had previously doubted
Jekyll’s experiments. Furthermore, Lanyon dies shortly after the incident, having written his
narrative of the event. The transformation scene is vital in the story because here the veil is lifted
off Jekyll’s secrets and we find out that Jekyll and Hyde are one and the same man. The real
message of this passage is not to emphasize the difference between Jekyll and Hyde but that they
are in a constant battle with each other over dominance. At this point Jekyll (good) is getting
weaker as Hyde (evil) is beginning to take over. Also, Mr. Utterson describes Jekyll as, “a large,
well-made, smooth-faced man of fifty, with something of a stylish cast perhaps, but every mark
of capacity and kindness.” (page 12), while Enfield describes Mr. Hyde as, “He is not easy to
describe. There is something wrong with his appearance; something displeasing, something
down-right detestable. I never saw a ma...

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