Victorian Literature Essay

2858 Words 12 Pages
Viktor E. Frankl, the Austrian psychologist, once stated that “When we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves”. A Victorian society condemned to a period of forced adjustment into a life of despotism, as a result of radical change and revolution, dictatorial upper-class tyranny and a life absent of pleasure and happiness, serves as an example of the great psychologist’s words. The industrialisation and development of Britain acted as a major catalyst for the way society would respond, reforming the lives of many. Not only did the British industrial revolution of the nineteenth century enforce drastic social reforms, it also shaped Victorian literature. Great literary authors exposed the injustices …show more content…
In Tennyson's The Kraken, the bold use of imagery in the description of the metaphorical sea creature, representative of the working-class "unnumber'd and enormous polypi" suggests the size of the workforce that laboured in factories similarly to Dickens. The use of the words "enormous" and "unnumber'd” makes it near impossible for the reader to gauge an estimate at the amount of labourers in the Victorian era, revealing that society was largely working-class. He uses the biblical phrases "fire shall heat the deep" also "he shall rise" in an attempt to portray the habitat of the fictional creature, almost as if it were hell itself. From a religious reader's viewpoint, it would be apparent that by doing so, Tennyson uses the hostile image of hell to mirror the callousness of the life of a Victorian factory worker. Both writers expose the working-class to be excluded from a purpose in life aside from labour, limited to arduous living conditions, possessing little value for their worth as individuals.

In the gothic thriller, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Robert Louis Stevenson adopts a similar vision to that of Dickens and Tennyson in aiming to reveal the apparent disparage of the working-class. Within the novel, the dissimilarity between Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde “Jekyll had more than a father's interest; Hyde had more than a son's indifference” emphasises the vast gap between the lower and upper classes. Stevenson uses