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Jekyll and Hyde Essays

Themes Duality is the central theme that binds together all the intricately plotted themes within the both the novel and the film Duality- Book The duality of man is a key theme in the novel, “The Strange Case Of Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde”. The separation of Jekyll into two beings, Jekyll and Hyde, is an allegory for humankind’s conflicting forces of good and evil. These characters bring to life the inner struggle between the two powers of the soul. Jekyll, the protagonist, portrays the good side of human nature in this narrative. From the start of the story, Jekyll is aware of this dual nature.
Knowing this, he concocts a potion that will separate the two. These separate entities come in the form of Jekyll and Hyde, two equipotent, coexistent, and eternally opposed components that make up a “normal” individual. Here, good and evil are not related but are two independent entities, individuals even, different in mental and physical attributes and constantly at war with each other. This is evident when Jekyll asserts that “man is not truly one, but truly two,” and he imagines the human soul as the battleground for an “angel” and a “fiend,” each struggling for mastery.
This theme of duality, and how Robert Louis Stevenson portrays it to us, is very much an embodiment of Freudian concepts. The issues raised in the novel find resonance with the Freudian concepts of instincts, life and death instincts, and the structural theory of the mind. The characters in the novel manifest characteristics of Freud’s theory of the mind. Mr. Hyde would seem easily recognizable as the id, seeking instant gratification, having an aggressive instinct, and having no moral or social mores that need be followed. He takes pleasure in violence and similar to the death instinct ultimately leads to his own destruction.
Dr. Jekyll is then the ego; he is conscious and rational, and is dominated by social principles. He has a difficult time juggling between the demands of the id, represented by Mr. Hyde. In the novel, Dr. Jekyll gives in to his impulses and after initial pleasure soon cannot control their power. Rather than let Mr. Hyde go free and realizing that Hyde needs Jekyll to exist, he decides to end his own life. Further, by labeling Mr. Hyde as a “troglodyte”, Stevenson seems to make a comment on the theories of evolution and that he considered Hyde that is savage, uncivilized, and given to passion: poorly evolved.
Edward Hyde represents a regression to an earlier, less civilized, and more violent phase of human development. The novel needs to be looked at in the context of its setting of Victorian London. Stevenson seems to make a comment not only about the dualism present in every individual but also in society as a whole, where the aristocracy that superficially were genteel and refined, had dark secrets to hide behind the high walls of the mansions in which they lived. Most of the action takes place in the night time and much of it in the poorer districts of London, considered the abode of evil-doers.
Most significantly, Mr. Hyde enters and leaves Dr. Jekyll’s house through the back door which seems a metaphor for the evil that lies behind the facade of civilization and refinement. Duality- Movie In this film, we see a connection to Freudian concepts and ideas, specifically in the realm of the unconscious. Mr. Hyde is a culmination of the unconscious and inherently evil impulses of Dr. Jekyll that come to the surface as a result of the potion he drinks. Furthermore, the subject of duality of man is breached in this film, in that Dr.
Jekyll becomes two different people as a result of his scientific experiments…. The mentally ill patient (Mr Hyde) highlights the devil within. Instead of an evil force acting upon him, he himself becomes this evil force by becoming mentally ill and deluded. In this way, the film stereotypes and exaggerates the behaviors of what a deluded person might be, and subliminally conditions a person to fear becoming mentally ill. After Jekyll’s future father-in-law once again refuses to push up his wedding date, we start to see the other side of Jekyll, Hyde.
Mr Hyde is a violent sociopath, more beast than man. Berating waiters, assaulting those who dare to speak back to him, seizing everything he wants, beating women simply for the fun of it, Mamoulian’s incarnation of Hyde is a swaggering, violent force of nature, channeling every dark impulse of Jekyll’s and becoming a rampaging, unrestrained abomination in every imaginable sense. Mamoulian’s Jekyll’s-eye camera technique, prior to the shift to an objective perspective inside the lecture hall displays to the audience this idea of duality in man as well as many other things.
One, it suggests how important a man this Dr. Jekyll is. Another, it suggests how important a man this Dr. Jekyll considers himself. The subjective technique also introduces the theme of hiding that becomes central to the material and demonstrates the concept of duality. In effect, Mamoulian is hiding his protagonist in order to suggest that Jekyll himself is hiding things about himself, including the complexity of his nature. Finally, the subjective technique implies that whatever is true about Jekyll is also, somehow, true about us.
Mamoulian begins his film by forging a connection between us and Jekyll by requiring us to see through Jekyll’s eyes as if they were our own. Furthermore, it is important to notice the specific fears prevalent in the film. Clearly, new scientific discoveries were gaining hype in the 1920s (conditioning, behaviorism, evolutionary theories), threatening the field of religion. Dr. Jekyll was, like Darwin and Watson, a scientist with a thirst for knowledge, and in his quest ended up manipulating nature and creation. As a result, he turns into a terrifying and evil man.
This alludes to the horrifying results too much scientific introspection yields, and what might happen should creation be assigned away merely to test tubes and evolution The strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde can be seen at various levels. As a story, it talks about the concept of good and evil that exists in all of us. At another level, it is a critique on the hypocrisy and double standards of the society. It is also an interesting study into the mind of the author and into the theories of dualism. Finally, it can be seen as a remarkable study into human psychology. There are many versions of Dr. Jekyll and Mr.
Hyde, but this one is arguably the best. It is incredibly mature in its themes, magnificently acted and superbly directed. It offers us a sophisticated exploration of sexuality and repression, and the cruelty that they can produce Repression- Movie Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’s other main theme is the consequence of repression, making this film much more than your standard “good versus evil” morality tale. Jekyll is portrayed as a curious, open young man. Mamoulian resists the temptation to portray Dr. Jekyll as a hedonistic libertine, instead giving us a decent, honest man wanting to explore perfectly natural and healthy desires.
As a forward thinking scientist, Jekyll wants to learn about the world, and is not afraid of what he might find. The representatives of public opinion, however, do not share these views. One by one, we see all of Jekyll’s desires and goals thwarted by “proper” society. Lanyon puts down his scientific ideas as “absurd theories”; General Carew says that he is “indecent. ” When his servant suggests that Jekyll indulge himself in the “amusements” of London, Jekyll sarcastically comments that a “gentleman” like himself mustn’t participate in them.
All of Jekyll’s normal desires are mercilessly slammed down by the morality of the era. The film implies that society, as much as Dr. Jekyll, creates Mr. Hyde. It is a savage indictment of conformity and constraint. Repression- Book Repression is indisputably a cause of troubles in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The repression here is that of Victorian England: no sexual appetites, no violence, and no great expressions of emotion, at least in the public sphere. Everything is sober and dignified, and you’re really not supposed to be happy. (That would somehow take away from your focus on morality).
The more Dr. Jekyll’s forbidden appetites are repressed, the more he desires the life of Mr. Hyde, and the stronger Mr. Hyde grows. This is clearly demonstrated after Dr. Jekyll’s two-month hiatus from donning the visage of Mr. Hyde; Dr. Jekyll finds that the pull to evil has been magnified after months of repression. According to the indefinite remarks made by his overwhelmed observers, Hyde appears repulsively ugly and deformed, small, shrunken, and hairy. His physical ugliness and deformity symbolizes his moral hideousness and warped ethics.
Indeed, for the audience of Stevenson’s time, the connection between such ugliness and Hyde’s wickedness might have been seen as more than symbolic. Many people believed in the science of physiognomy, which held that one could identify a criminal by physical appearance. Additionally, Hyde’s small stature may represent the fact that, as Jekyll’s dark side, he has been repressed for years, prevented from growing and flourishing. His hairiness may indicate that he is not so much an evil side of Jekyll as the embodiment of Jekyll’s instincts, the animalistic core beneath Jekyll’s polished exterior.

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