Repressed Personality and Sexual Subtleties in Robert Louis Stevenson Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

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Repressed Personality and Sexual Subtleties in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

The Tragedies of repression

In the reference book Victorian Britain: An Encyclopedia Stevenson is noted for saying that "fiction should render the truths that make life significant" (760). We see this most closely in his Jekyll/Hyde experiment when Jekyll explains why he invented his infamous potion. Jekyll says: "I concealed my pleasures; and when I reached years of reflection...I stood already committed to a profound duplicity of life" (Stevenson, 42). Because of this feeling of being one thing in the public's eye, well respected and controlled, and another on his own, Hyde invents an outlet. This outlet becomes, at least symbolically, a representation of
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If we stopped here we might think that Stevenson was making a comment about our baser selves being devolved. However, Jekyll goes on to explain that Jekyll himself must be constructed physically the way he is because most of his life had gone toward constructing a social facade, while Hyde was more childlike and thus smaller in stature--freer.

The Sexual Subtleties

Not one female character has a name within Stevenson's story. Because of this we are able to see Jekyll's lack of relationship with women, but also his abounding friendships with men. Through 20th Century eyes, which have seen the introduction of sexuality more clearly expressed as an identity thanks to Freud, one can begin to glimpse the homosexual undertones throughout the story. These undertones would not have been noticed right after its publication because homosexuality was not something openly discussed (though often blackmailed which I explore later).

Because of his repressive personality, which also has no sexual response to women. Dr. Jekyll creates a drug-induced other half. In effect, he separates mind from body. Hyde, the physical personification of everything sensual, is often described encircled in darkness. This leaves his actions open to be imagined by the reader. This second personality, Mr. Hyde, is the "immoral son" (Stevenson,115) of Jekyll, the amalgamation of every fantasy that society is afraid to own up to.

In exploring this physical possibility of a
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