Jekyll And Hyde Duality Of Human Nature
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a riveting tale of how one man uncovers, through scientific experiments, the dual nature within himself. Robert Louis Stevenson uses the story to suggest that this human duality is housed inside everyone. The story reveals “that man is not truly one, but two” (Robert Louis Stevenson 125). He uses the characters of Henry Jekyll, Edward Hyde, Dr. Lanyon, and Mr. Utterson to portray this concept. He also utilizes important events, such as the death of Dr. Jekyll and the death of Mr. Lanyon in his exploration of the topic.
The story takes place during the Victorian age, a time when there were only two categories of people: good people and bad people. There was no way that one man could be considered acceptable without suppressing his evil side almost entirely. The reason that Jekyll restrained his evil side for so long was because of this dichotomous Victorian society. Most people, including Jekyll’s friends, Lanyon and Utterson, are content to stay molded in this ideal. However, Dr. Jekyll soon became tired of this hypocritical mindset and states that he “it was rather the exacting nature of my aspirations…. that made me who I was and…. severed in me those provinces of good and ill which divide and compound man’s dual nature” (123). He had determined that he would find a way to indulge his more human nature while still yet living in acceptance among his colleagues. Dr. Jekyll soon did discover a method, but it inevitably came with a curse. Stevenson uses this to display that people generally tend to go with the societal flow and conform to other people’s ideas so that they will fit in.
This leads to the first example of human duality which is the good and bad side to conforming to societal conventions. Dr. Jekyll, as well as Mr. Lanyon, is used in exploring this topic. Dr. Jekyll has never allowed his evil side to have much freedom, so it is less developed. He states that “The evil side of [his] nature… was less robust and less developed than the good” (131). This is the good aspect of Jekyll suppressing his evil nature to be accepted in society. However, the negative side to this restraint is that, when he finally uncovers his evil nature, he is unable to control it. Eventually, this leads to his ultimate destruction. Lanyon also displays this because he has never even acknowledged the fact that he has evil thoughts....