Shocking Principles Terrifified Victorian Readers in The Strange Case of Jekyll and Hyde

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The sophisticatedly-constructed novel ‘The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’ was devised in 1886, during the revolutionary Victorian era, by the author, Robert Louis Stevenson. Stevenson developed a desire to write in his early life and ‘Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’ cemented his reputation. The novel is widely known for its shocking principles that terrified and alarmed the Victorian readers. ‘Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’ plays with the idea of the dual nature of man, his two identities. On the surface, Dr Jekyll is a conventional, Victorian gentleman, but below the surface lurks the primitive, satanic-like creature of Mr Edward Hyde. One of the elements that play a significant part in the novel is setting. Stevenson subtly uses the setting to…show more content…
Powerful adjectives such as ‘blistered’ and ‘distained’ (disease decay bit etc). The creation of mysteriousness and tension is crucial to the Gothic genre. However, the front of Jekyll’s house ‘wore a great air of wealth and comfort, though it was plunged in darkness’, which shows that evil was not far away from good and this creates tension and the image that evil is fighting good in a chaotic battle. In addition to this, Stevenson splits up the locations to symbolise the good and evil. The main house shows a typical, Victorian structure. However, the laboratory and the cabinet represent the evilness behind the shield of normality. The cabinet is very significant in the novel, as it is locked until the final chapter, when Mr Utterson and Poole break down the door. It is found to contain the ‘cheval-glass’ (the mirror), in which Jekyll would watch himself transform into the repulsive figure of Hyde. Hyde’s apartment was set in Soho, a very sleazy, corrupted part of London at the time. Living in Soho links Hyde was the lowest levels of society: prostitutes, foreigners and primitive, immoral behaviour. Also, Soho had eerie weather- ‘a great chocolate-coloured pall lowered over heaven’, representing the malicious crimes being committed and the blocking out of God. This reflects the mysterious, depraved attributes of Hyde’s
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