The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde

Good Essays

British Modernism, which dates from 1890-1945, is one of the strongest and revolutionary movements of all time, affecting great change in art, music, and literature. Approaching the end of the Victorian Era, an overlap with early Modernism arises, as writers began resisting this sense of order and questioning accepted roles and beliefs. Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was published during the late Victorian era, but he clearly brings into question the acceptance of Victorian philosophies, especially the belief that one truth exists and that we can identify good and evil as separate entities. The names Jekyll and Hyde have become synonymous with multiple personality disorder. This novel can be …show more content…

Roving beyond its place above the water is the ego, the conscious, rational division of the mind. Beneath the waters of consciousness, the hidden expanse of the iceberg divides into the superego and id. The superego, or “the moral part of us” lays the grid work for and reinforces rules. Farthest from the shore of consciousness, the id embodies the individual’s desires: the most primal part of the mind developed during the prenatal months. Dr. Jekyll is the conscious ego attempting to maintain balance between his id, or Hyde, and his superego, or the Victorian morality of his society. Jekyll, the ego, undergoes a tragedy of imbalance wherein the morals, imposed by a Victorian superego, overwhelm the psyche. Struggling under the impossible standards placed on humanity, he enlists the help of science to physically extract the repressed human needs, or id, from his tormented mind whose physical form is that of Hyde. Exemplifying Hyde as the consequence of society restraint, Robert Louis Stevenson attempts to expose the devastation and hypocrisy Victorian society creates in the gentleman. In the passage where Jekyll notes that Hyde was “knit” to him “closer than a wife, closer than an eye” (Stevenson). The use of the term “eye” is a pun for the word “I”. In this sentence Jekyll concedes that Hyde is in fact a part of his character and not a distinct, malicious alter ego squatting in Jekyll’s mind until he springs forth into Hyde.

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