The Case Of Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde

1052 Words5 Pages
Among the words used to describe the elitist Victorians, “hypocrites” may very well be the most popular. This supposed generation of “Do-Gooders,” with their heightened sense of morality, repressed sexuality and increased piety, were actually far from perfect. They had an exceptional list of standards by which they claimed to dutifully abide, but more often than not fell short of. The Victorians were, in the words of literary critic Walter Houghton, brilliant actors able to “[conceal] or [suppress] their true convictions and their natural tastes” (146). The matter of Victorian hypocrisy, as it has come to be known, has been scrutinized by a plethora of critics and authors alike. However, the moral façade that has come to be associated with the Victorian era was perhaps first criticized in Robert Louis Stevenson’s Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Apart from being an exceptional Gothic work, Stevenson’s novella is an excellent critique of the hypocrisy that dominated the Victorian era. In his novella, Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Robert Louis Stevenson uses the characters of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde to expose the double standards and moral pretensions that governed Victorian society. Dr. Jekyll, the protagonist in Stevenson’s Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, is the ultimate embodiment of the standards of morality by which the upper class Victorians claimed to abide. In the novella, Dr. Jekyll is a righteous, upstanding member of the elitist
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