In the current essay I would like to consider Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and provide my own opinion concerning the duality of human nature. To begin with it should be noted that “Strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” – is a novel by famous writer Robert Louis Stevenson, which was published in 1886 in London. By genre – it is rethinking of the traditional romantic themes emerging at an angle of duplicity of science fiction. Without any doubts I am for dual nature of humankind and I will explain why.
Stevenson’s fiction story is devoted to one of his favorite themes – the borders between good and evil in human nature. Stevenson was very similar to what was said about human nature by the authors of classic romanticism, as well as the authors of the realist school. As a fact, Stevenson does not think that any human is uniquely good or uniquely bad, he is something more. It can be said that from following quote we can see that Dr. Jekyll is not an angel and he does not hide it: “Enfield, describing Hyde to Utterson, “There is something wrong with his appearance; something displeasing, something downright detestable”, according to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Notes and Quotes (2010).
According to Khalid Humayun (2007), Stevenson continues the theme, which was begun by Mary Shelley – the theme of pride of the human mind and its inability to foresee the consequences of his actions. In the current novel, Jekyll invented his elixir, but he had no idea to which consequences this situation will lead. It can be said that Stevenson did not deny the science. In turn, he denied the usage of science to which people are capable of pursuing immoral purposes. Evil in Stevenson’s is a much more active principle than good. Jekyll creates an evil, not kind of twin. Evil, free from the pangs of conscience that is not associated constraints of morality, always ready to start an independent life. In my opinion, Stevenson and his characters are aware of the attraction of not only sensual pleasures delivered by evil, but in a paradoxical sense of freedom that comes with the enslaved human evil – freedom from remorse, freedom from fear of internal responsibility for their actions. It can be seen from the following quote: “Jekyll describing his fascination with Hyde, “It seemed natural and human. In my eyes it bore a livelier image of the spirit, it seemed more express and single, than the imperfect and divided countenance I had been hitherto accustomed to call mine”, according to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Notes and Quotes (2010).
Without any doubts Hyde scares only a threat to his life and nothing more. It should be noted that voluntarily committed the evil, to which the man does not want to really confront, transforms him into a slave. As a result, Jekyll, as Hyde, comes to senseless cruelty to the little girl and the horrific murder of Sir Carew. Evil fully masters to those, who voluntarily willing to release it for freedom. When Jekyll begins to turn into Mr. Hyde in spite of himself, he realizes that he has lost himself: “I was slowly losing hold of my original and better self, and becoming slowly incorporated with my second and worse”, according to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Notes and Quotes (2010).
It can be said that I agree with Stevenson that there can not be a strictly good or bad person. Everybody has good and bad features of character and it is normal. However, we should remember to control ourselves and try to do good deeds. It is significantly more difficult, but this also a new, higher level of conscious human activity. Everybody knows that break and destroy – is much easier than create and build. Also, in my opinion, it would be wrong if all people would be only bad or only good. In this case, life would be predictable and lose its main feature – interest, imagine, that you knew, in advance, what would be the reaction of a person to certain event or news.
To sum it up I would like to say that Stevenson opened a new motive of the physical transformation of man into his evil twin, devoid of all humanity. Without any doubts, this opening anticipated the age of almost purely visual comprehension of the world, which comes at the turn of XX-XXI centuries. As a fact, Stevenson creates a vivid image of the ghost and the gradual victory of evil over good, not only in the soul, but also in the human body. Maybe that is why, in contrast to William Wilson, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde became common names in the English-language culture. I am for dual nature of humankind because, in my opinion, this makes our lives interesting. However, Stevenson showed us that we always are responsible for our actions and must control our emotions and desires.
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Notes and Quotes (2010). Retrieved June 21, 2011 from http://www.bookrags.com/notes/jek/QUO.html
Khalid Humayun (2007). The psychology behind the case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde. Retrieved June 21, 2011 from http://www.helium.com/items/218058-the-psychology-behind-the-case-of-dr-jekyll-mr-hyde