Jekyll and Hyde Main Themes

Key themes in the novel Jekyll and Hyde and some quotations

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  • Main Themes in Jekyll and Hyde
    • Duality of Human Nature
      • Utterson - opening paragraph. Utterseen is seen to have desires which he controls and supresses, but acts on this by being around other respectable men who do act on these desires
      • split up into two people
      • temptation
      • "horror of my other self" - scared of what he himself is capable of
      • "man is not truly one, but truly two" - Jekyll's final statement
    • Atavism / Degeneration
      • Fear of the 19th century after Darwin published the Origin of The Species
      • Hyde is often portrayed in book covers and in film adaptations as an "ape-like" creature, and this quote appears many times throughout the book
      • "seen the full deformity of that creature"
      • Humans are seen to be above animals - hierarchy
      • Hyde - animal hide?
      • "ape-like fury" "instincts"
    • Respectibility / Reputation / Hypocrisy
      • The men in the book are all respectable, high in society people, but there is no reason for why they are out at such late times of night
      • "every guarantee of an honourable and distinguished future"
      • appearence VS reality (we see this with London and the men in the novel), public VS private.
      • split up into two people
      • shows that everyone had a private life - even the most respectable and high class of people
      • 'kill' hidden within Jekyll's name
      • irony, doctor killing someone - hippocratic oath
      • There was a general public desire to be respectable and in a high-class at the time
      • "dethroned"
    • Morality - Good and Evil
      • split into two people - devil and the angel, biblical
      • Jekyll is purely good and Hyde is purely evil
        • Hyde - "like Satan"
          • hyperbole
      • there is a message to the story - two sides to everyone
      • dark impluses - internal conflict
      • Cain / Able reference made by Utterson - first murder.
    • Secrecy / Hiddenness / Mystery
      • Hyde's name sounds likethe word 'hide' which shows how hidden he was as a person and how well Jekyll managed to cover his secret
      • "private room" - Jekyll isolating himself from other people
      • surpression of alter-ego / dark-side
      • 'case' - in title, concealing, briefcase
      • concealed and hidden pleasures
    • Friendship
      • The respectable men are all friends, however some are closer than others, for example he had an argument with Lanyon about the most recent scientific experiment - "Scientific balderdash" - Lanyon
      • no women in play, possible link to homosexual behavior - Jekyll




Really useful- thank you!!!!

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