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Duality Of Human Nature Analysis Essay

The duality of human nature Besides being an interesting and intriguing dark novella, “Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” by Robert Louis Stevenson, as any piece of literature studied at school, carries a deeper meaning. In it, Robert Louis Stevenson separates the two sides of Dr. Jekyll’s personality in two different characters in order to highlight the difference between the decent and the evil one as well as the fragility of the barrier that separates them and demonstrate to the reader how important it is to constantly discipline, encourage, and develop the good one and not allow the evil one take over.

Robert Stevenson achieves the effect of complete contrast between Jekyll and Hyde though making them the ultimate foil characters that share one body and yet have nothing else in common: starting with the size of the body – “My master… is a tall, fine build of a man, and this was more of a dwarf”, and ending with where each lives – Dr. Jekyll in one of the house with “pleasantest room in London. ” (the end of Ch. 2) and Mr. Hyde in a house in “Soho. ” Interestingly enough, the reader starts to notice the contrast between Mr. Hyde and Dr. Jekyll relatively early in the plot, before knowing that they are he same person.

When Hyde injures the poor girl “the man trampled calmly over the child’s body” (***) walks into the laboratory that belongs to a respected Doctor Jekyll, and “presently came back with the matter of ten pounds in gold and a cheque for the balance on Coutts’s, drawn payable to bearer and signed” (***) by the doctor himself, Mr. Enfield’s surprise over this connection “For my man was a fellow that nobody could have to do with, a really damnable man; and the person that drew the cheque is the very pink of the proprieties, celebrated too”, hints the audience to pay attention to the nnatural interaction of the two main characters.

As the story develops, Hyde becomes more and more intertwined with the doctor – he has his key to the laboratory and is introduced to the house servants. As the connection between the two becomes more obvious to Mr. Utterson and the audience, through various hints from the author – like the writing of Hyde’s ‘final letter and Jekyll’s invitation “there’s a rather singular resemblance; the two hands are in many points identical: only differently sloped” (***), the deeds of Mr. Hyde become more and more evil – “The pleasures… ere, as I have said, undignified.. But in the hands of Edward Hyde, they soon began to turn toward the monstrous. ” (***)

This is a mere natural result of Jekyll’s conniving at the evil behavior of his dark side. Dr. Jekyll is a weak human who is tired of controlling the evil side of his character; the opportunity to, with surgical accuracy, separate it from the rest of his good intentions is something he fails to resist throughout the book, even when he knows which consequences it leads to.

Or does he? In legal terms, Dr. Jekyll, with his impeccable reputation, is bulletproof to any accusations; in moral terms, he has an excuse of not being he person who committed the crime. As a result, even Hyde’s murder of the Member of the Parliament allows Jekyll to control himself for just two months. For two months Dr. Jekyll is terrified with what his ‘apprentice’ has done. He disciplines himself not to drink the potion and hold Hyde under control. “For two months, however, I was true to my determination; for two months, I led a life of such severity as I had never before attained to, and enjoyed the compensations of an approving conscience” (***).

And although it is unclear if he does it out of the feeling of guilt for killing a person, or out of fear to be xecuted for a political murder, his life changes without Hyde: “Now that that evil influence had been withdrawn, a new life began for Dr. Jekyll” (****) – his house again welcomes guests and holds dinners. Even the old trio of Jekyll, Utterson and Lanyon has reunited again. And everything seems to be moving towards a happy ending when Hyde kicks in stronger than ever before. As calmness before the storm passes, the evil in Dr. Jekyll bursts forth and takes over the poor doctor. I began to be tortured with throes and longings… I once again compounded and swallowed the transforming draught” (***).

After this ncident, Hyde became robust enough to overcome the physical requirements for the transformation and can come out when he desires without drinking the potion. The moment Hyde no longer need the potion to transform, the barrier within Dr. Jekyll breaks and darkness floods his mind: “There comes an end to all things; the most capacious measure is filled at last; and this brief condescension to my evil finally destroyed the balance of my soul” (***).

To make things worse, Dr. Jekyll starts to run out of the antidote, which was created with an unknown essential ingredient and thus cannot be replicated. The doctor is left ithout his main weapon against the other part of himself, which gets stronger every day. And this is exactly what Robert Louis Stevenson intended to demonstrate – one step on an evil path encourages and eases the other and eventually one finds himself running into the complete darkness.

To ensure that even a novice in literature is able to comprehend the conflict described in the book, author makes Dr. Jekyll write it in his own words in his letter of confession – he writes: “I concealed my pleasures; and that when I reached years of reflection, and began to look round me and take stock of my progress and osition in the world, I stood already committed to a profound duplicity of me” (***). Dr. Jekyll has been controlling himself too harshly: as a result of this crackdown, he becomes obsessed with a desire to satisfy his dark desires in a way that will not cast shade on his reputation. So when the opportunity appears, he does not miss it.

And from there it all goes downhill for the poor doctor – the freedom that Hyde gives him is like a drug that he claims that “the moment [he] choose[s], [he] can be rid of Mr. Hyde” (***), but in reality he is unable to give up. Just like with drug, Jekyll quickly develops tolerance to his transforming otion and has to drink up to triple dosage to turn to his dark apprentice – “Once, very early in my career, it had totally failed me; since then I had been obliged on more than one occasion to double, and once, with infinite risk of death, to treble the amount” (***).

This, as well as other specifics of Dr. Jekyll’s situation create a strong resemblance between his potion and addictive drugs, highlighting the temptation the main character has to fight. Through the story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Robert Louis Stevenson delivers the idea that evils have to be fought constantly and in a smart way – no one but Saints could endure onstant denial of part of their character.

Dr. Jekyll is a scientist rather than a Saint, and although he is able to lead his honorable life, he puts himself in moral guidelines that are too tight – “Many a man would have even blazoned such irregularities as I was guilty of; but from the high views that I had set before me, I regarded and hid them with an almost morbid sense of shame” (***), which leads to the development of a burning desire for his darker personality to break out. Having the means to set it free, and the desire he cannot resist, Jekyl falls into the obeys and becomes an educative example for the readers.

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