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Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde Essay

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Multi-faceted Duality in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
In The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Robert Louis Stevenson explores the dual consciousness of man imposed by Victorian Era moral standards. Stevenson illuminates the conflicting nature of man with the rigid social institutions, the emerging sciences of the mind and body, and the prudish façade of contemporary moral society. Dr. Jekyll’s experiment parallels emerging psychological and medical ideas of the time-period. “The more that I read about the debate in Victorian psychology over the “double-brain”, the more I realized Stevenson’s story paralleled this professional discourse.” (Danahay) His two selves, represented by Jekyll and Hyde were backed by the then dominant, Dual Brain theory. Stevenson’s novella exposes the truth about Victorian society’s double life. The public face and accepted truth of prosperity and respectability was countered by immense poverty and abundant sin. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is an important piece of Victorian literature because it symbolizes many of the emerging ideas present in society at the time.
Victorian society’s idea of perfection was directly at odds with the natural inclinations of man. Prudish and uptight, the social constructs diminished the myriad colors of humanity to black and white. “The Victorian era was famed for its outstanding morals and social customs, and was often seen as being a period of peace and perfection for England. England’s poster
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