Attitudes to Science in Jekyll and Hyde

  • Created by: GroovyG
  • Created on: 16-04-20 13:59


(From page Dr. Lanyon's Narrative - "He put the glass" to "the murderer of Carew.")

Point >> The character of Lanyon is used to display some of the attitudes towards the consequences of science during the Victorian period. (C)

  • Behavior/actions around the transforming Hyde are defensive and present his shock.
  • "Sprung", "leaped back against the wall", "shield" and "submerged in terror"
    • These are all v.defensive actions which suggest that he is in shock of the events unraveling before him.
    • "Shield" and "leaped back against the wall" suggests that he needs to protect him self from the unnatural experiments that Jekyll carries out.
    • "Submerged in terror" suggests that the situation is causing him to be flooded with psychological fear and confusion - the experiment is v.negative.
  • Ideas that Jekyll was meddling with what only God can control.
    • "Like a man restored from death" (simile) -  meddling with God's power.
    • Repetition of "O God" is a cry for God's help in the confusing situation - he needs support for something unnatural of humans that cannot be controlled.
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Extract continued

  • Presents how some people are unwilling to believe in something that goes against everything they believe in.
    • Much like the Victorian society when some believed that they could either choose science or religion.
    • "I shall die incredulous" - 'incredulous' means unwilling to believe the series of events. He refuses to believe what has happened due to the unnatural. 
  • "Moral turpitude that man unveiled to me" - 'turpitude' means shame. Shows how Lanyon believes Jekyll should be ashamed of his experiments because they have negative consequences one of which being Hyde who is described as a "creature".
    • "crept" and "hunted" - animal-like and not wanted a negative consequence connoting that experimental/transcendental science is not right and that it has serious outcomes.
    • "My soul sickened at it"(personification) and "my life is shaken at its roots"(personification). These both show Lanyon's confusion in the scenario because he is shocked at the events and this presents this type of science in a negative way because it suggests that its consequences are serve. 
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Power of science

Point >> The power of science is presented throughout the novella in the form of Hyde's acts because he is seen as a scientific experiment and because he is "pure evil", this brings a negative aspect to the outcomes.

  • Hyde causes destruction and death. 
    • The death of Carew was due to Hyde and shows how science was able controlling society and change people in the Victorian period because it goes against the conventional views.
      • Hyde is depicted as the enemy against everybody else and is an outsider in society - may suggest that science was becoming a burden on society because it was changing the norm and causing difficulties (like the divides between those who believed and those that didn't).
  • The power of science is sometimes seen as threatening to the other aspects of society.
    • Jekyll struggles to go "deeply" into his experiments because Hyde becomes a "more awful pressure" - this may be a warning about the power of science and what it could do to Victorian society (how it put pressure on some to decide what they were to believe). (C)

Overall >> the power of science and what it could do to others in terms of their beliefs in conveyed through Hyde and Jekyll's opinions on him and the experiment.

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Utterson, Jekyll and Lanyon

Point >> The trio are used to compare scientific views of the time.

  • Utterson is used as a middle ground character who can convey the views o both sides and has no opinion shared on scientific or religious matters.
    • He listens to Lanyon talk about Jekyll's "unscientific balderdash" and "scientific heresies" and witnesses as Jekyll turns to religion "no less distinguished for religion" and in both cases makes no comment.
    • This is important because the novella is neither swayed by strong religious or scientific views and this allows the reader to come to conclusions on what Utterson's views on scientific experiments are. 
  • In contrast Jekyll is a big believer in science and uses it for his tests however is constantly described in spiritual ways.
    • "I was cursed" - said when he is explaining his experiments with Hyde and has negative connotations. 'Cursed' suggests that he is trapped within his experiments and presents their negative impact on him. Again shown with "my devil had been long caged" (metaphor) which is said in his full statement of the case. 'My' shows that he takes ownership of his experiments and therefore the consequences that have risen from it.
    • The consequence for Jekyll was his death which presents the devastating consequences of experiments and presents a v.negative attitude surrounding them.


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Utterson, Jekyll and Lanyon Overall

Overall >> characters in the novella are used to present attitudes towards scientific experiments and their consequences in a negative way because they are perceived to have painful consequences with two characters dying from them not only Jekyll, who was in carried out the experiment, but also Lanyon showing the affects they can have on a wider scale.

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Hyde as a Consequence of Science (continuation of

Point >> Hyde is used to show the consequences of scientific experiments.

  • People cannot bare Hyde and his repulsive manner and this shines a negative light on scientific experiments.
    • He is "ape-like" suggesting that he has primitive/atavistic behaviors and is unwanted.
    • He is compared to the devil - "my devil", "like Satan" and "pure evil" - all v.negative and may have deeper meaning. Idea that he is the consequence of science gone wrong showing dangers of it and pessimistic attitude towards science.
  • Described in a v.religous way - directly juxtapose.
    • Suggests the unnatural and wrong in experimental/transcendental science.
    • May have something to do with Stevenson's and a large part of Victorian society's rejection of science - many didn't agree with the practice. Stevenson rejected the science of engineering (father wanted him to study it) suggests that he believes there are limitations to science. 

Overall >> Hyde is used to portray a highly negative perspective of scientific experiments and the damage they can cause. He is also used him to convey the wrong in some sciences and the lack of benefits they reap.

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  • Scientific experiments are seen v.negatively through 'Jekyll and Hyde'.
  • Perceived to have large consequences that can affect multiple people.
    • May be linking to how the 'Origins of the Species' 1859 turned many away from religion.
  • The reactions of characters to science are key.
    • How Lanyon reacted to Jekyll in a shocked way.
    • How people react to Hyde in a highly negative way - physiognomy.
    • How Jekyll reflects on his experiments.Evolution - Wikipedia
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