Jekyll and Hyde revision

Context

Family - Robert Louis Stevenson came from a family of scientists, engineers, religious figures and even a professor of philosophy.

Edinburgh – A dangerous place to be. The medical school paid good money for dead bodies. This led to a rise in murders. Graves were robbed.

Charles Darwin’s ‘Theory of Evolution’ turned religion upside down. Victorians no longer knew what to believe in and so looked to the supernatural for answers instead of God. The idea of animals changing in response to their environments led to a renewed belief in prehistoric people and the fear that they would return and take over the world. This link to the idea of duality: the good and the evil; nature vs supernatural; science vs religion.

The onset of the Industrial revolution meant lots of people moved to the cities. People were poor; increase in crime. It seemed like it was the start of an evil time in history. 

1 of 12

Gothic elements

Setting in somewhere abandoned - Has secret passaged, trap doors (Jekylls lab)

An atmosphere of mystery + suspense - Fear unhanced by the unknown (who is Hyde?)

Ancient prophecy - Connected with inhabitants, often confusing (Jekylls will, if he disappears) 

Portents or visions - Portent of coming events (Start girl injured may portent more injuries)

Supernatural or otherwise inexplicable events - Disturbing nature/science (Creating Hyde) 

High, even overwrought emotion - Crying, emotional speeches (Poole/Utterson worry for J) 

Women in distress - (Maid witnessing Sir Danves Crew murdered) "He smote her in face she fled"

The metonymy of gloom and horror - Metonymy is a subtype of metaphor "hailing down a storm of blows"

2 of 12

Extra

Narration/structure - Starts with Utterson (respectable lawyer) who fears Jekylls will. This document holds power over him + jekyll. Stenvenson frames the novella with documentation and plays with line between myth and truth. Ends with Jekyll. 

Use of letters and doccuments - Confessions of responsibility + narrative are forms of documentation that creates suspense + mystery of the novella. Characters repressing desires put feelings in writing rather than speaking which creates web of secret documents.

3 of 12

Symbols

Night/Darkness - Represents evil + serves as hiding place (Jekyll becomes Hyde at night when dark and no witnesses). Darkness extends to shadows/fog, creates gloom + inhability to see clear.

Walking cane - In Victorian England gentlemen used these as sign of belonging to a higher social class. Hyde breaks his when beating Carew; symbolise break in Jekylls identity. Cane also represent symbol of dichotomy; was a gift from Utterson, represent friendship, symbolise broken.

Houses - In jungian pyschology house represents psyche (mind) of person. Front is how you present yourself in public, back is hiddien and kept private. In novella Jekyll greets people through front of door while Hyde enters through the back using a door that no one knows enters Jekylls house. Hyde has whole house but uses two rooms symbolise Hydes limited development as he is not a complete person. 

The door- Symbolise pathway of curiosity for Utterson. When door mentioned Uttterson commences a quest to figure something aabout Hyde. The door is the setting for the talk of the girl and Hyde and the 'false' cheque. Door also an 'entrance' innto pysche. When Poole and Utterson break down locked door they discover the true, private person on the other side. 

4 of 12

Theme - good vs evil

Jekyll and Hyde is an allegory for good vs evil. The question is which is superior. Evil stronger (Hyde taking over). Good stronger (Hyde ends up dead at the end suggest failure of evil).

"Last reputable aquaitance and the last good influence in the lives of down-going me" Utterson wants to help those who wrong rather than judge. Forshadow death. Repeat 'last' its final

"Damnable man; and the person that drew the cheque is the very pink of the properties, celebrated too"  Enfield expains to Utterson that Jekyll and Hyde atre the antithesis of one another. 'Damnable' is Hyde, religious imagery-cursed. 'Pink of properties' is Jekyll is well liked. 

"Secrets of his own; black secrets by the look of him; secrets compared to poor Jekylls worst would be like sunshine" Uttertson believes J has dark secrets and H is blackmailing him. Light and dark imagery.

"Ape-like fury, he was trampling his victim under foot and hailing down a storm of blows...at the horror of sights and sounds, maid fainted" women is distress. Zoomorphism-Darwin.

5 of 12

Theme - good vs evil

"first breath of this new life...delighted me like wine" Being Hyde is enjoyable. He is free and can endulge desires, doesnt have to be good with morals.

"safe of all mens respect, wealthy, beloved.... now I was the common quarry of mankind, hunted, houseless, a known muderer." Jekyll decribed as good but then transforms into Hyde and we can see how his thoughts begin to chance. He instantly becomes evil. Cumlative effect, conttrast between characters. 

6 of 12

Theme - repression

"undo evil done by H" J says H committed crimes not him. 

A victorian gentleman had to repress all desires and have good morals. Everything is sober and dignified, can't be happy. 

"He was austere with himself...but he had an impproved tolerance for others...inclined to help rather than reprove." Utterson is careful how he behaves. He only drinks alcohol when alone and never seen the theatres. However, he is happy to tolerant people and their behavior but lots of people were not. Utterson often jealous of others for their behaviour. 

"No sir, I make it a rule of mine: it more looks like Queer street, the less I ask" Enflield stops himself from asking questions when he is suspicious for fear of what he might find out. Enflield repress desire to be inquistive. 

"concealed my plessures" Jekyll represses his desires. 

"My virtue slumbered; my evil, kept awake by ambition, was alert and swift to seize the occasion" More J represses H the more keen he is to come out. 'alert + swift' sounds animalistic. "my devil had been caged, he came out roaring" Religious. Can't repress. 

7 of 12

Theme - friendship

Utterson wants to uncover the mystery of the evil man bcos of his friendship with J, friendship acts as motivator and enaber. J and Lanyon friendship fraught with competition and anger.

"To be last reputable aquaitance and the last good influence in lives of down going men" Utterson is a friend to troubled people

"Utterson sprang from his chair and welcomed him with both hands" Lanyon + Utterson have a good freindship, trust. 

"He began to go wrong, wrong in mind...such unscientific balderdash" J isn't modern. Friendship worsened due to Jekylls scientific interests. 

"sincere and warm affection" J sees Utterson as a close friend. Emphaise U is a reliable narrator.

"we may at least save his reputation" U tells Poole to not mention J will, wants to save reputation.

"Forever, despised and friendless" J admits if he is H permantly he will lose friends + respect. 

8 of 12

Theme - religion

Mainly references to god and satin.

"the man in the middle...really like satin" Hyde compared to Satin after trampled girl

"Whilsted he has always been, known for charaties, he has now no less distinguished for religion" If his attemps to do more good Jekyll seems to be more religious.

"Fallen upon his knees and lifted his clasped hands to god" Jekyll is turning to god in desperate times

"Somberly and gratfully to bed...dry divinty on a reading desk" Keeping up good morals as respectable victorian gentleman.

9 of 12

Theme - science and nature

Important in victorian society was the advancement in science. Anything that questioned the divinity of god and the existence of human soul was seen as monstrous.

"I never saw a man so distressed...at what he called my scientific heresies" Jekyll disappointed Lanyon takes a religious approach to his scientific studies, referring to them as 'heresies'

"Only on one point were they agreed; and that was the haunting sense of unexpressed deformity" Hydes unatural appearance makes everyone suspicious of him instanttly. Gothic - not accepted in society.

"O god! I screamed... like a man restored from death-there stood Henry Jekyll" Against natural order, unatural.

"But the temptation of a discovery" Jekyll knew he was taking a risk experimenting on himself but his desire overtook any worries.

10 of 12

Theme - violence

"The man trampled calmy over the childs body and left her screaming on the ground" Juxtaposition, agressive and supernatural. Doesn't care. 

"Snarled into a savage laugh" Hyde is primitive in his behavior. Animalistic, darwin.

"Spirit of hell awoke in me and raged... tasting delight from every blow." J explains Hyde loved violent acts

"Once a woman spoke to him, offering, I think, a box of lights. He smote her in the face and she fled" Even when people are polite Hyde can't resist violence towards them. Women in distress.

"Mr Hyde shrank back with a hissing intake of the breath" Defence, secretive. Connotations of snake is predator, manipulative, poisionous. 

11 of 12

Key facts

Dualism - Dual nature of men. Two 'people' Jekyll and Hyde. "Man is not truely one but truely two"

freuds theory - ID; (Hyde) Have agressive instinct, no moral/social value. Takes pleasure in violence, needs to be satisfied immediately. Ego; (Jekyll) conscious and rational, dominated by social principles. Struggle with demans of ID. Super Ego: Represnted by the proclaimed and implicit morals of victorian society which prided itself on refinement + goodness. "Half way open" Two personality's, out window (Hyde-ID), In window (Jekyll-Ego)

Theory of Evolution - "ape like fury" "moving like a monkey" Hyde has not full evolved yet. Zoomorphism, animal like feature, degenerated, primitive man. "Inorgranic" not fresh. 

Doubling - Jekyll transformation of Hyde is generated by fear of regression. London split into two. The respectable upper class and crime prevalent. Jekyll house also split, J's house and lab.

12 of 12

Comments

No comments have yet been made

Similar English Literature resources:

See all English Literature resources »See all Jekyll and Hyde resources »