Dr. Jekyll is Totally A Victorian Era Gemini

The concept of duality is present in the the novel, “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”, through the main character Dr. Jekyll. Duality is a popular “Victorian” theme as well as the idea of secret lives. Dr. Jekyll shares some similar qualities with the astrological sign Gemini, particularly the concept of duality. The astrological sign, gemini, is typically associated with dual personalities, being two faced, and twins. Dr. Jekyll’s character embodies the two faced stereotype; the good and friendly Dr. Jekyll and the unrestrained and violent Mr. Hyde. This dichotomy reflects the twin-like nature of the Gemini sign as well as the idea of secret lives or duality in Victorian literature. Dr. Jekyll was able to navigate different aspects of himself and separate his good and bad qualities through use of a potion. Dr. Jekyll’s experiment and the manipulation of human nature to separate the good and bad qualities into different personas, reflects his internal struggles. Dr. Jekyll is constantly at battle with his morals and his dark desires, so he toys with potions and successfully separates his darker inclinations behind a masked persona, Mr. Hyde. Although not physically two different people, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde are viewed very differently by society. Dr. Jekyll is respected in society and because of this he holds high expectations for himself which is why he indulges in a potion that allows him to transform into Mr. Hyde. Dr. Jekyll is able to maintain a respectable reputation through the secret transformation of his darker alter ego, Mr. Hyde. Of course, life isn’t perfect and everything begins to backfire as Dr. Jekyll loses control over the transformations into Mr. Hyde. The loss of control highlights how unrealistic it is to live two lives and how difficult it is to carry secrets. The separation of the respectable Dr. Jekyll from the malicious Mr. Hyde resonates with the Victorian era, especially the constraints of Victorian society.



Mirror Mirror

“She left the web, she left the loom
She made three paces thro’ the room
She saw the water-flower bloom,
She saw the helmet and the plume,
       She look’d down to Camelot.
Out flew the web and floated wide;
The mirror crack’d from side to side;
‘The curse is come upon me,’ cried
       The Lady of Shalott.”
The Lady of Shalott, by Alfred Tennyson is filled with themes of isolation, art, love, and the supernatural. The lady of shalott is stuck in isolation from the outside world but is left with her creative genius to weave/knit creating a “webbed” piece of art reflecting the world around her. The lady of shalott can only observe the outside world through the reflection of a mirror. The unspoken curse that inevitably causes her death is connected to the Lady’s weaving and her observations. The origin of the curse is unknown to the readers, contributing to the supernatural theme. Sir Lancelot, a knight, is reflected in her mirror and The Lady of Shalott impulsively looks out her window driven by his beauty and maybe even a lust for love. Unable to pursue something that she wants, it is easy to understand why she was overwhelmed at the sight of the knight and disobeyed her curse. Looking out her window to Camelot broke the curse, the mirror broke, and her tapestry came undone, foreshadowing her fate. Realizing her own fate and craving a connection to the world, she leaves her tower and travels to Camelot by boat. Although the curse keeps her protected and safe, it leaves her isolated and confined. Unfortunately she does not reach Camelot before the curse takes her life, her body is found floating in the boat with a parchment on her reading, “The Lady of Shalott”. I interpreted this poem as an examination on the limitations imposed on women in the Victorian society. Women weren’t to do much except kind of be present, when necessary, and be pretty. The isolation parallels the limited roles placed on women where they were often confined to domestic spaces and restricted from participating fully in public life. The curse symbolizes how the societal restrictions dictated womens behavior and interactions. The curse restricts the Lady’s agency and symbolizes the limitations placed on Victorian women’s freedom and self expression.

Sherlock Holmes: A Guide to Giving A Compliment Without Sounding like You’re Actually Giving A Compliment. (Late Post #2)

“Really, Watson, you excel yourself,” said Holmes, pushing back his chair and lighting a cigarette. “I am bound to say that in all the accounts which you have been so good as to give of my own small achievements you have habitually underrated your own abilities. It may be that you are not yourself luminous, but you are a conductor of light. Some people without possessing genius have a remarkable power of stimulating it. I confess, my dear fellow, that I am very much in your debt.”

Oh geez, where to even start. First of all I do think Holmes is genuinely trying to give Watson a compliment because he seems to like him enough to keep him around for his investigations. They’re like Shaggy and Scoob, but with more than two brain cells that aren’t constantly battling each other. Anyways, they’re partners, you get it. The combination of praise and subtle criticism is exactly the formula for a backhanded compliment. Right off the bat Holmes gives off this “cool guy” demeanor, by leaning back in his chair and lighting up a dart. These two things are by no means “cool”, but in fact very dangerous. I mean, Holmes is an intelligent guy, and he thinks that leaning back in a chair is a good idea? Yeah, okay. And second, lighting a cigarette, he is really living on the edge here isn’t he!

Anyways, let’s digest this backhanded compliment for what it really is. Holmes begins with initial praise, “Really, Watson, you excel yourself”, it’s really kind coming from such an intellect. Immediately followed by his kind words, Holmes mentions that Watson underestimates his own abilities in comparison to that of what Holmes has achieved. Which, I don’t know why Holmes describes his achievements as “small”…he has literally solved murder cases. THEN, he uses a metaphor to continue his poetic compliment saying Watson is a “conductor of light”. Oh, how I would just be swoon if some guy had told me I am not luminous, but a conductor of light (0_o) . (Sorry I’m getting too sarcastic) . Anyways, Holmes claims that Watson doesn’t possess any genius himself, but instead has the ability to spark brilliance in others. The way I interpreted this was that Watson’s talents are more about facilitating Holme’s genius. The final expression of appreciation, Holmes “confesses” he is in Watson’s debt, which sets a tone of hesitation in acknowledging Watson’s good work before. I think Holmes is genuine in his praise, but he has poor choice of words, too many words, and doesn’t give Watson enough credit on the daily. That’s how you give someone a compliment without sounding like you’re giving them a compliment.

What I really think Holmes is trying to say here is, “Good job Watson, we work well together”.

A Vampire’s Facelift

“There lay the Count, but looking as if his youth had been half renewed, for the white hair and moustache were changed to dark iron-grey; the cheeks were fuller, and the white skin seemed ruby-red underneath; the mouth was redder than ever, for on the lips were gouts of fresh blood, which trickled from the corners of the mouth and ran over the chin and neck.”

I think that this passage describing Dracula and his physical appearance, after a blood sucking episode, encapsulates the essence of Dracula being more than a typical vampire but also a symbol for the significance of blood, as the source of life and power. Blood is a huge theme in the novel, and this passage illuminates the rejuvenating effect that the consumption of blood has on Dracula. Dracula’s facial features have altered, with fuller cheeks and now a ruby-red undertone in his skin, this change is a visual representation of the liveliness and life force he gains from consuming blood. Most organisms rely on blood-flow through their bodies to stay alive because of it’s important qualities like carrying oxygen and nutrients, and removing waste products. That being said, blood is life’s vital fluid. In the context of vampirism he is able to sustain youthful looks, life and power when he feeds on blood, it is an exchange of life energy. It allows him to replenish youthful physical features along with his supernatural powers. Dracula is obviously no saint, as he is constantly presented to the audience with things that highlight his dark and malicious intentions. The gruesome description of blood that runs from his mouth down his chin and neck highlight the corruption, of his own actions, and the violation of life. Now that we can interpret blood as the source of life and power, I think it is safe to say that Dracula’s desire for blood is parasitic, like a leech. I think the character of Dracula has many layers that contribute to his complexity in the novel. The connection between Dracula and blood, is more than a typical vampire. Through blood, Dracula represents darkness and malice, and the consumption of life and power.


After the storm: Symbolism

I wanted to focus on a pretty early part of the book because of what I think the passage really represents. In chapter nine of Lady Audley’s Secret, during the storm Robert is unfazed and spends his time leisurely, while George on the other hand is very agitated. After seeing Lady Audley’s portrait, he struggles processing what he saw. George is feeling uneasy after seeing the portrait of Lady Audley, in which her true identity is revealed. The portrait triggers George emotionally because of the resemblance it had to his past wife who passed away. Digging more into the symbolism interpreted in this passage, Lady Audley has a “monstrous” secret that she is desperate to keep concealed. She has strange behavior during the storm claiming she is afraid of the lightening, but I think she is using her “fear” of lightning to conceal her inner turmoil, and her guilt of hidden secrets. Her guilt and anxiety from her secret/past could also be represented by the storm and maybe even potential consequences that could come in the near future. I think the storm represents the internal/external conflicts that the characters face along with a bit of foreshadowing of what is to come that might be significant to the plot. For readers the storm adds dramatic tension to the story, especially between George and Lady Audley. Lady Audley is (obviously) worried that George might find out her terrible, dark secret that she has been hiding, and George himself is processing all of his emotions after being exposed to Lady Audley’s portrait. The storm consistently serves as a powerful element by representing symbolism in the story.