Stevenson and Conrad: The Duality of Human Nature

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The literary device of personification is found in both The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Heart of Darkness. This literary device is shown to further demonstrate the theme, the duality in human nature. Personification is defined as the ascription of a personal nature or human characteristics to something nonhuman, or the representation of a theoretical quality in human form. Stevenson uses personification to figuratively make London come alive. Mr. Utterson comments on the scenery by saying: “the fog still slept ... lamps glimmered like carbuncles” (Stevenson 1959). Stevenson further describes the city through the literary device of personification. This is exemplified when Mr. Utterson describes Soho: “nothing but a door on the lower story and a blind forehead of discoloured wall on the upper” (Stevenson 1645). It is here, in London that Mr. Hyde commits his worst crime yet, the murder of Sir Danvers Carew. Yet the most authoritative personifications are evident in Dr. Jekyll’s confession. This is exemplified when Dr. Jekyll realizes his experiment has “severed me from my own face and nature” (Stevenson 1685). Stevenson continues to use personification when Dr. Jekyll describes Mr. Hyde as the true personification of evil: “the slime of the pit seemed to utter cries and voices” (Stevenson 1648).
Conrad in his novella Heart of Darkness also applies the literary device of symbolism to further display the duality of human nature. Conrad often personifies the

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