Essay on The Concept of Evil in Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Stevenson

894 Words4 Pages
The Concept of Evil in Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Stevenson The substance of the Bible and Greek myths - the premise of the evil that is in man - sometimes lurking deep in the psyche, sometimes controlling and consuming like a wild beast, is explored in Robert Louis Stevenson's (1850-94) short Victorian novel of 1886. Rarely does the mere title of a novel have the myth-making depth to grip the imagination and ensure its place in our language for generations to come. Today everyone knows what is meant by a 'Jekyll and Hyde character'. A handful of other novels with this quality perhaps come to mind; including 'Frankenstein'. In this book the good Dr Jekyll has grown bored with his respectable…show more content…
Stevenson witnessed double standards led by middle class people all-around him, this made him determined to avoid hypocrisy, and to respond against the stern Scottish Presbyterian background which he felt helped to form it. From the beginning of the novel, we are given the impression of an atmosphere consisting of secrecy, and mystery. The setting contributes to this; the strange door which Enfield remarks upon is always locked, the window in the rest of the house forever shut and the buildings around the 'court' huddled together as if in conspiracy. Utterson lies in his 'curtained room' in 'the gross darkness of the night' with 'a great filed of lamps' - referring to the gas street lamps. As coal was burnt so much at this time, the fog was a constant problem. The fog adds to the atmosphere of gloominess and secrecy and 'the dismal quarter of Soho' appears to Utterson 'like a district of some city in a nightmare'. Hyde undoubtedly symbolizes 'the beast in man' and is described continually using animal imagery. When he is tackled by Utterson, he is described as 'hissing like a cornered snake'; Poole describes him as a 'thing' which cries out 'like a rat'; he walks 'like a monkey' and
Get Access