The Duality of Human Nature: Men’s Roles Essay

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The Duality of Human Nature: Men’s Roles

What truly defines a man? What roles should men hold in society? According to Victorian society, men should be respectful, successful and well known, which often restricted men from enjoying the pleasures of life and revealing their true self. Both Victorian writers, Robert Stevenson and Oscar Wilde, depict the roles of men in their works, while making a critique about the roles that are set by men in society. In the narrative, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Stevenson and the play The Importance of Being Earnest by Wilde, they explore the importance of duality as a matter of satiric exposition of what's wrong in Victorian society. Both writers aim at illustrating how the
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The creation of two identities allowed Jekyll not to carry a public mask at all times to cover his own dispositions about life. The notion of the expectation of society and how it affects men is seen when Jekyll says in his statement of the case: Hence it came about that I concealed my pleasures, and that when I reached years of reflection, and began to look round me and take stock of my program and position in the world, I stood already committed to a profound duplicity of life. (Stevenson, 2200). Here the reader is able to see how the idea that society restricts the identity and pleasure of men is being used as a critique in this narrative. This passage shows how a restrictive life leads to a life of concealment in which sooner or later one begins to be curious and explore a life of one's own, even if it’s by means of a secret identity. Just as Jekyll later states “man is not truly one" (Stevenson, 2200). The reader could infer that perhaps Stevenson is suggesting that men is made up of double identities which creates a inner battle, when it comes to identity self and that human nature is made of two aspects that just one. Therefore, because of the restrictions to live one life as set by society leads people to hold their pleasures and not release them; as a result, a dual identity is created. In contrast, Wilde in his play The Importance of Being Earnest
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