Jekyll and Hyde The duality of Human Nature

After finishing the “Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr.Hyde” I believe that Stevenson was attempting to portray the duality of human nature as well as the natural internal human struggle between good and evil through the characters of Jekyll and Hyde. This idea is very clear from the start of the story as Dr. Jekyll ┬ádevelops a potion that transforms him from a well respected scientist into a morally corrupt monster that taps into his deep sinister desires. One quote from the text where this idea is very prevalent comes when Dr.Jekyll is explaining the reasoning for creating this dual identity, “Hence it came about that I concealed my pleasures; and that when I reached years of reflection, and began to look round me and take stock of my progress and position in the world, I stood already committed to a profound duplicity of me. Many a man would have even blazoned such irregularities as I was guilty of; but from the high views that I had set before me, I regarded and hid them with an almost morbid sense of shame” (50) For me this clearly represents the duality of human nature and Dr.Jekyll’s inability to showcase his true persona and beliefs out of fear for being judged and scrutinized by the public. This theme continues to persist throughout the novel as Dr.Jekyll begins to lose control of Mr.Hyde and the urges and temptations from the “evil side” of his persona ultimately overwhelm and drown out Dr. Jekyll, leading to him committing suicide in order to prevent the dangers that Dr.Hyde posed to society. This ending perfectly wraps up the novel and ties together the idea about the duality of human nature and how sometimes individuals are unable to win the battle of the mind or the battle between good and evil. Dr. Jekyll and Dr.Hyde clearly represent the natural duality of human nature and the difficulties that many individuals have attempting to maintain a balance between the two sides while not succumbing to complete madness like Jekyll ultimately does.

One thought on “Jekyll and Hyde The duality of Human Nature”

  1. Jekyll and Hyde asks a question that can be asked of every novel we have read. Are there any true ‘villains’. Throughout Jekyll and Hyde, we know that Jekyll is a good person, yet he still has this evil within himself, an evil he wishes more than anything to rid himself of. This is Jekyll and Hydes’ answer to the question: Are there any true villains. Their answer is no, because the point of the novel is meant to show people are nuanced. It could be argued that every novel which we have read this year can answer this question as no. For Dracula, before he is killed, Quincey notes that he looks as if he is happy to be put out of his misery, indicating vampirism and Dracula are two separate beings, like the flu infecting a human. Therefore, Dracula is not evil in totality. In Lady Audley’s secret, we might want to believe Lady Audley is wholly evil given her actions, but we must understand that she was a woman in a society that forced down a lane she did not want to go on. She was someone had to make a choice between living independently or living at the whim of a man she did not love. Even for someone with such sinister intentions as Lady Audley, she still is incapable of being wholly evil.

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