Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: A View Into Societal Changes in the 19th Century

1398 Words 6 Pages
Robert Louis Stevenson was born on November 13, 1850, in the city of Edinburgh, Scotland. Throughout his childhood he was told morbid tales from the Bible, as well as Victorian penny-serial novels that he would carry with him throughout his years and what would place the greatest impact on his writing.[1] In 1886, he published a novel, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, based on a man with pure intentions, who ends up turning himself into a viscous murderer. Dr. Henry Jekyll is a well-known doctor and respected man, known for doing numerous acts of kindness and work for charities. However, since he was a young boy, he secretly engaged in wrongful behavior, and from then on, was determined to experiment and find a way to separate …show more content…
Utterson is what would be considered as the perfect European gentleman. A prominent lawyer who was well respected in his community and is now trying to protect his long-term friend, Jekylls’ reputation from the mysterious Mr. Hyde. There are few instances in the novel when Mr. Utterson is taking walks with Mr. Enfield, but they do not gossip, or otherwise speak ill of those closest to either of them, especially Utterson, as if they were of blood relation.[5] Although he investigates what seems to be an unrealistic series of events, he chooses to not believe it and to continue looking for an explanation. And just as Utterson avoids the reality of what he may have discovered, as inconceivable as it may be, so too does European society prefer to deny the existence of an uncivilized acts of inhumanity, no matter how essential these acts may be.[6] Conservatism is also evident through the behavior of Dr. Jekyll, who for the sake of his reputation keeps Mr. Hyde hidden in his laboratory. Upholding one’s reputation shows as a major theme throughout the novel, just as it plays a roll in society for the sake of upholding one’s stature. During the latter half of the nineteenth century, Europe went through many significant changes that had great effects on their society. These changes were largely due to the Industrial Revolution that dates back hundreds of years, but shows most prominent influence during this time. The technological