Snaith// Jekyll and Hyde themes

Dual nature of man

Victorian society had a rigid set of moral values, men had to repress many true feelings and desires in public.

Jekyll feels that his good and evil side are struggling against one another so he creates Hyde to rid himself of sin however Jekyll underestimates how  closely the good and bad sides of his personality are bound together and the power and attraction of his evil side.

Stevenson shows the dangers of letting the sinful side take over, it is tempting and unavoidable.

The idea of duality is used to criticise respectable society, suggesting that the gap between appearance and reality is hypocritical and unrealistic. 

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Dual nature of man quotes

"The rosy man had grown pale; his flesh had fallen away”

This shows the transformation of Lanyon and his physical deterioration as he discovers Jekyll's secret.

The fact Jekyll's secret affects more than just himself hints at the dualistic nature of the novel- there is always two sides to a story. 

"Rosy man" is associated with vibrant colour and health as opposed to "pale" and its relation to deat

"I was no more myself when I laid aside restraint and plunged in shame”

Jekyll was equally himself when he was submitting to his desires and committing dreadful acts as he was when he was engaging in good.

Alliteration in "no more myself" stresses the word "myself", Jekyll's self is dual and features both shame and knowledge, both himself and Hyde hidden behind these connotations

"Laid aside" and "plunged" are active and dynamic descriptions, Jekyll vigorously pursues shame yet doing good is tiring for him. Possibly towards the end of the novel Jekyll has finished trying to resist Hyde and gives in. 

"I stood already commited to a profound duplicity of life"

In Jekyll's letter to Utterson, Stevenson explores Jekyll's fascination of duality as he believes it is a condition that affects all men and the battle played out in every one of us with the character of Hyde repressed within Jekyll.

The use of "profound" creates a sense of intensity, this reflects the emotions Jekyll is trying to convey within his letter when he is telling his secret, as if he was completely engrossed with these thoughts and feelings. 

The fact that he is "committed" suggests that it is a realisation he has come to terms with.

 

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Reputation

The gentlemen in Jekyll and Hyde value their reputation above all else,  immoral activities and uncontrolled emotions would damage their reputation, meaning they would lose many social advantages.

Because Victorians valued reputation so highly, it’s difficult to know what people are really like causing Utterson problems, he can not fully understand Jekyll’s situation because he only sees his reputation as important.

Jekyll feels as though he has to hide his sins to protect his reputation which is why he creates Hyde, he is able to prowl around causing destruction and death whilst his reputation remains intact.

Utterson is wary of gossip in case it reflects badly on him and is more concerned about preserving Jekyll’s reputation than bringing Hyde to trial.

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Reputation quotes

“I concealed my pleasures”

This quote in particular demonstrates just how ashamed the men are to show their true feelings due to the fear of ruining their reputation. This means that the only way they are able to experience "pleasures" is through secrecy. 

“If it came to a trial, your name might appear”

“I had been safe of all men’s respect”

“looks like Queer Street”

 

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