Posted at 11.22.2018
From begin to finish 'The Unusual Circumstance of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' by Robert Louis Stevenson portrays tough contrasts: good and evil, rich and poor, morality and immorality, love and repulsion and the upper and lower classes. However it is merely when Religious ethics (previously little challenged by other religions or science), the Victorian obsession with respectability, the category system and other stereotypical Victorian attitudes are explored with these contrasts that it's made clear how duplicitous the era was. The novella acts as an participating exploration into other Victorian behaviour, interests, worries and obsessions. Included in these are: fear of social unrest, disability discrimination, sexism, a desire for settled endings in books, a dependence on biblical recommendations, and clashes between science and religion.
The obsession with wearing "an air of respectability" (as Jekyll is said to carry) is one of the greater reasons why Jekyll finds enjoyment in jumping between his two personalities. Chances are that he would indulge in passions his peers would not have approved of - an assortment of heavy drinking alcohol and sex. He also went to prostitutes, a life "he found hard to reconcile [. . . ] with [his] imperious desire to carry his brain high". That is undoubtedly also the key reason why very few participants of the low classes hold important assignments in the storyline. In fact really the only lower class persona to properly feature in the novella is the head-servant, Poole. Much closer to his professional (he's referred to as "Dear Poole" using one occasion), he has specialist on the other servants and certainly is not the 'most affordable of the low'; this is most likely the main reason Stevenson considered Poole fit for such a job as he plays. How the people dress themselves, furnish their homes and discussion of one another is also evidence of this obsession. Jekyll's home "wore a great air of riches and comfort" to this scope as that Utterson "was wont to speak of it as the pleasantest room in London".
The novella discloses a lot about the class system, the cause of many public problems, and its own iron-grip on every Victorian citizen. The upper classes in the book are portrayed to be upright and respectable, surviving in grand abodes, the spoils of well-paid professions - Jekyll is "a doctor" and Utterson "a respectable lawyer". We live also told that Jekyll was created "to a large lot of money, endowed besides with excellent parts [. . . and] keen on the admiration of the sensible and good among [his] fellowmen". When young he previously seemed going for "an honourable and distinguished future". The low classes cannot be portrayed more dissimilarly. Other than servants, the novella reveals they might be unemployed, criminals or prostitutes employed in Soho's sex district. They either stay in small quarters in their masters' properties or amidst "slatternly passageways" in the "dismal 1 / 4 of Soho". Within the Victorian period people was raised knowing which class they belonged to; and, as this is usually identified by birth it provided great benefits for the abundant (who stayed rich) but brought on the indegent to either lose faith in social mobility, or else, to revolt.
'The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' do not just illustrate the class systems divisions but can serve to fortify it. It portrays Sir Danvers - immediately before his death - as "an old [but] beautiful gentleman with white hair". This could merely be an effort by Stevenson to heighten the murder's pressure but I feel this image of goodness and purity through the type commanding the best social position is an attempt to highlight the insolubility and inferiority of the lower classes to prospects above them.
The lower classes feature little in the storyline, only ever appearing as vehicles through which Stevenson could move the story forwards, or working under the training of their employers. This means top of the classes were expected to make the decisions whilst the low classes ran errands in ineffectual lives. In the e book this is proven by the strict rule for dealing with users of another category. Addressing an company "Mr" or "Sir" is expected. Upon the rarity that an workplace should dignify their servant with a name it would be their surname as the Religious name was considered too familiar and affectionate. Being viewed as such could be detrimental to reputations so a more standard form of address would be "Maintain your tongue!"
A hierarchical composition manifested from fear of scandal is also evidenced. Were scandals to be fond of upper course personage they could signify a decimated reputation. Yet by way of a circle of common fear the upper classes could actually enjoy whatever "secret pleasures" they wished, such as the ones that Jekyll confesses to and Hyde commits. The fear of scandal is most strong on site 37, where Utterson is bothered the "good name of another would be sucked down in the eddy of the scandal. " On web page 38 Utterson's butler discovers information labelling Jekyll as a murderer. Utterson urges Jekyll to "make a clean breasts of this in self confidence" and when the butler's master asks him to keep carefully the matter silent he calmly says "I understand". Therefore the mutual fear and devotion in this scandalous system is even stronger than moral obligation. Once Jekyll perfects his potion he must work alone to protect his status, he creates a room "with the most studious good care" in another house in Soho for Hyde to reside in and found a "silent and unscrupulous girl" to keep house there. He even would go to the distance of familiarizing all his servants with Hyde and writing a will leaving "everything to Hyde in case of his fatality or disappearance". It really is implicit that the measures Jekyll removes would mirror other respected characters.
The novella portrays a contemporary society split into two; it is not only Jekyll that is "committed to a serious duplicity of life" - all the abundant and powerful are in ignorant luxury, ignoring the struggling lower classes. Stephenson's work also shines light on the system that kept the upper classes' illegitimate indulgences hidden.
Fear of revolutionist ideology was strong among members of top of the class. To uncover proof such in this report, one must read into the ways in which the indegent are neglected, for example in voting, health, rights and legal representation; and exactly how these factors could lead to a massive uprising (such as was observed in France). People of lower classes are still left almost unrepresented inside our story, the countless servants, that could have moved quietly within the house, are rarely seen, when they are these are "whimpering quietly". The idea of them "whimpering" shows them as inferior and over-emotional. If not for the more steady changes in thoughts and opinions over the school system's role out of this under-representation to a world where all classes show some extent of solubility within world Britain may have observed a trend on the very scale many Victorians experienced feared.
The Victorians got strong expectations of this content and plots of the era's literature. Stephenson abstains from direct information of immorality, instead only alluding to the novel's visual scenes. In addition they expected settled endings - the righteous prevailing, the bad punished.
Many of Hyde's crimes are just vaguely alluded to, especially erotic ones. Others, such as Sir Danvers' murder, are referred to briefly and inexplicitly, only that Hyde was "hailing down a surprise of blows". To heighten the surprise factor of every offense Stevenson instead details at length the earlier tranquillity and through later talking about that "a purse and gold watch were found upon the victim", illustrating that this attack's purpose was simply sadistic. This idea of sadism, an utter, deeply entrenched evil is important to the novella's note and Jekyll's hypothesis that evil is not simply as a result of necessity such as a beggared boy turning to opt for pocketing but is more deep-rooted and harks back again to the idea of 'original sin' and that man is no different to any beast. Jekyll, reflecting on mankind, "All individual [. . . ] are commingled out of good and wicked. "
Perhaps the abstinence from graphic description is because of the fact that Stevenson's better half damaged the first draft because of its explicit descriptions of intimacy, violence and recommendations to homosexuality. Recommendations that Jekyll/Hyde were homosexual are so watered down that many disregard them: Hyde "always enters by the rear door". This dilution typifies the desire to have morality and the disgust at graphically extreme descriptions; a point which, if further extrapolated, unveils the desire of top of the classes (at whom the book was targeted) to ignore or cover the huge social problems of these nation.
Victorian novels mainly are resolved. I personally find archetypal works in which those that show qualities like: determination, god-centeredness, humility, generosity and dignity always win out in the long run; and where virtue is rewarded whilst wrongdoers are punished disappointing because they're too idealized. This idea is clearer in many previous books where even the toils of the indegent are rewarded. One vivid example of this is Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte in which Jane falls frantically deeply in love with and (by the book's completion) marries Mr Rochester despite his blindness and frailty. At first the story of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde appears to have strayed out of this framework because Dr Jekyll does not manage to isolate himself from the "evil aspect of [his] nature". However the closure of the novel is more complex. Upon re-examination of the concluding chapters it appears to be the situation that Jekyll destroyed Hyde along with himself: "the doom that is closing in on both folks has recently [. . . ] smashed him"
Victorian books is usually rife with examples of biblical recommendations, the most visible here being "'I incline to Cain's heresy'". This refers to 'Genesis 4:9' which represents Cain murdering his sibling Abel. God is said to have asked him where Abel was to which Cain said: "Am I my brother's keeper?" Utterson simply re-phrases this to: "I let my brother go to the devil in his own way". The saying has become synonymous with people's unwillingness to simply accept responsibility for the welfare of the fellows and is employed by Stephenson to improve the story and broaden Utterson's persona.
The need for biblical allusion in books is one component in the mechanism by which Stevenson sheds light on the have difficulties between research and religion. Similarly, we see religious beliefs reflected in words throughout the book: Poole uses the key phrase "I give you my Bible phrase" to show his solemnity to his observation of Jekyll and Hyde but this contrasts with the growing science. It really is worth remembering that many Victorians saw technology as an atheistic idea, Lanyon message or calls Jekyll's works "scientific heresies" within an almost oxymoronic juxtaposition (within an atheistic world there would be no God for research to produce heresies about). The era brought many improvements in research yet some seemed to threaten the literal interpretation of the Bible. Most simply found ways to re-interpret the Bible in the light of such discoveries with little damage to their faith. However people especially battled with ideas set out in 'The Source of Species' because they seemed too immediate an strike on faith. It said that life evolved from more primitive forms. Darwin's theory is referenced often such as when Hyde is thought to have "ape-like fury, " he is also described as "troglodytic" and "degenerate" perhaps concurrent with a hypothesis of change evolution into a far more primitive form. People now believed they had to select from the dangerous new methodical theories and the more venerable option of religion. From the point of view of any man choosing the second option, Jekyll's tests would be considered meddling in God's affairs and something only God should have control over.
The framework of elements of the publication, also, reflects a more scientific method of situations which would before have been tackled with superstition and the words of the bible. On pages 41 and 63, this is exhibited by sections of wording that take each event methodically, as if they were notes from an experiment. Hyde's transformations are also posted like scientific observations.
Chemistry is also in proof, as an growing knowledge, not yet examined. To exploit the curiosity of his audience to the complicated moral implications of modern technology Stephenson select Jekyll as the novella's protagonist and uses many words connected to Jekyll's vocation to include depth and mystery to the story: "the glazed presses packed with chemicals", "a graduated glass" and a "red tincture [. . . ] and powders". Jekyll uses chemistry to enhance into Hyde, and area of the reason Stevenson thought this more feasible was that no one had yet fully explored chemistry's choices. Perhaps, if he were to write 'Jekyll and Hyde, ' today, the method of change might be genetic executive/quantum physics.
Drug and alcohol abuse are observed at horrendous levels. Utterson identifies a "gin palace"; "a woman passing out for her morning glass" indicates the low price of gin and how this ravaged many lives. Drugs are only hinted at but the "convulsive action" of Hyde's jaws and "gagging" described by Lanyon is currently recognized as an indicator of cocaine maltreatment.
For me the most powerful symbol of science's improvements is within Jekyll's transformations which symbolise both improvement and devolution making them a cause of fear. It really is worth remembering Poole's hasty go back to the comfortable reassurance of religious beliefs, with the words "God grant there be nothing wrong. "
In his novella, Stevenson consistently explains to of some "unnameable deformity" which makes Utterson's "blood run cold". Words like "dwarfish" all inform a similarly negative history of Hyde's countenance. Enfield talking about Hyde to Utterson said simply: "You can find something wrong along with his appearance; something displeasing, something downright detestable". The present day sees disability seen less critically than the era that observed the publication of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Maybe it's argued that Hyde is scary purely because of his inclination towards bad, but is this true? In my opinion 'Yes' would be too shallow an answer. Stevenson plainly says such in the text: "bad [. . . ] had left on that body an imprint of deformity". Like so many imaginary villains impairment and deformity contribute even to modern-day fearfulness of Hyde. Prejudice to the disabled/deformed is resultantly one heinous Victorian attitude that lingers still.
Such prejudicial views were not merely limited to the disabled; women were also considered less valuable, sexism engrained in population. On web page 55 Hyde is described as "weeping such as a woman"; this succinctly illustrates how women were considered "too frail". It was assumed they lacked the cranial capacity in psychologically disturbing occurrences. In 'The Last Nights' the cook was "crying out, 'Bless God! It's Mr Utterson'", the housemaid "broke into hysterical whimpering", and then proceeded "weeping loudly". Such circumstances were thought to demonstrate how women were unable to handle complex or mental situations. With such weak foundations in place, women were thought unsuitable for important careers like government content; having said such, the head of the monarchy was a female. However this did not result in any relaxation of the feminine ideal; indeed only top class women weren't limited to housework, and boosting as much children as you possibly can. This stereotypical notion of faintheartedness - instead of brilliant thinking and decisions - is also exemplified on page 30, after Sir Danvers' murder: "at the horror of these sights and tones, the maidservant fainted. "
"Man is not truly one, but truly two". These words - the final outcome to Jekyll's life and research - record the essence of the whole novella and the stereotypical Victorian attitudes reflected in it: especially hypocrisy, from the division of the school system, other discriminatory bandings including love-making and impairment, and the division of beliefs between science and religion. So excellent were the contrasts in the novella that terms changed from 'Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde' have become part of modern life. The saying can be used by newspapers to describe disturbing murderers; with personalities not dissimilar to the heroes - or persona, depending on how you look at it - that are central to our story. As with the infamous Jack the Ripper (another affluent murderer) the stereotypically dark or primitive contemporary society that is too oft shown by Victorian horror tales fails to totally explore the core - the Jekyll in this instance -- a primary of civility, respectability and prosperity. In this way the novella functions as an interesting, yet inaccurate exploration that only reinforces old stereotypes about Victorian world.