Comparing the Impact of Darwin on Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and She

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The Impact of Darwin on Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and She Who Must Be Obeyed

Imagine what would happen if everything you believed to be true was suddenly challenged. How would you feel if the solid rock bottom of your religious and cultural beliefs turned into a slippery slope of doubt? Such was the dilemma the Victorians faced with the publication of Darwin's Origin of the Species.

The questioning of man's origin in the form of evolution and survival of the fittest brought an uneasy feeling as to man's place within the hierarchy of the universe. Darwin's theory that mankind was evolved from apes and not created by a divine being shocked civilized society. The comparisons between civilized and uncivilized behavior
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Like Dr. Jekyll, Ayesha's underlying evil lies very close to the surface. However, it doesn't take a drug to reveal her beastly behavior, but jealousy of another woman. Ayesha had not outlived jealousy. Ayesha's speech to Holly as to why Ustane must be murdered is another reflection of Darwin's theory,

"for day by day we destroy that we may live, since in this world none

save the strongest can endure. Those who are weak must perish; the

earth is to the strong, and the fruits thereof. For every tree that grows

a score shall wither, that the strong ones may take their share. We run

to place and power over the dead bodies of those who fail and fall; ay,

we win the food we eat from out of the mouths of starving babies. It

is the scheme of things." (203)

Holly does not subscribe to Ayesha or Darwin's theories. He believes in a "moral sense of right and wrong, based on our conscience, upon the great wall of responsibility that marks off mankind from the beasts." (203) The difference between civilized and uncivilized. Even in She's death scene, Haggard shows us the Victorian preoccupation with Darwin's theory. Job cries out, "She's turning into a monkey!" (293) Haggard goes on to describe Ayesha's death as if she were in the process of de-evolving. She ends up "no larger than a baboon" until she finally fades into

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