Key Themes in The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

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  • Created on: 27-04-20 09:19
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  • Themes in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
    • Communication
      • Problem throughout the novel
        • Enfield claims he does not want to share the name of the man who trampled the young girl
          • Even when he does the conversation is ended
        • Utterson withholds relevant information from the police following Sir Danvers Carew's murder
        • These silences reflect the confines of the moral nature of the Victorian era
          • The Victorian era placed a great deal of importance on outward appearances
            • Enfield, Lanyon, Utterson and Jekyll worked to hide or keep secret any piece of information that might mar a reputation.
        • No one who meets Hyde can describe exactly what it is about his appearance or face that makes him seem evil, but all agree that upon meeting or seeing him, they felt a sense of horror
        • Much of the important details regarding the nature of Jekyll and Hyde are passed on in written form rather than in speech
        • Jekyll writes his final confession in a letter to Utterson, rather than sharing his secrets in person
        • Perhaps the lack of language or communication between characters and related to Hyde demonstrates that the supernatural occurrences in the novel push the world beyond the logical, and therefore beyond speech.
    • Duality of Human Nature
      • Mr. Hyde is Dr. Jekyll
        • "Man is not truly one, but truly two."
          • Every soul contains elements of both good and evil
            • One is dominant
              • In Jekyll's case it was his good side
            • Jekyll tries to split these
              • He cannot because
                • "[Jekyll] is a composite being, a mixture of good and bad...[and] Jekyll is not really transformed into Hyde but projects a concentrate of pure evil that becomes Hyde."
                  • Jekyll's potion only allows his purely evil side to gain strength
                  • Hyde is pure evil and Jekyll is pure goodness
                    • There is no way to split the two personalities
        • Without counterbalancing his evil identity, Jekyll allows Hyde to grow increasingly strong
          • Hyde will eventually become the dominant side
            • Destroys all the pure goodness Jekyll ever had
      • Man is not a dual being?
        • Primative bening tamed by laws of society
          • Anamalistic nature of Hyde
            • Jekyll's experiment reduces his being to its most basic form
              • Evil runs freely without considering the constraints of society and civilization
      • the bustling, growing and many layered city of London supported Jekyll's work and gave him the freedom to pursue his dual lives.
    • London
      • The novel begins on a London street that proves to act as central to much of the novel's action
        • Hyde was able to walk through society unnoticed and disregarded by the many strangers using a cloak
          • Without this opportunity for absolute anonymity, Jekyll would never have been able to carry out his experiment
            • the bustling, growing and many layered city of London supported Jekyll's work and gave him the freedom to pursue his dual lives.
    • Violence
      • Hyde tramples a young girl
        • Hyde thoroughly enjoyed this
      • Hyde's final victims
        • Himself and Jekyll
          • Neither are innocent
            • Hyde is guilty of a great many crimes
            • Jekyll is guilty by proxy
              • He shres Hyde's body
              • He created Hyde


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