Comparing Human Nature in Macbeth and Dr Jekyll

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Victorian London at the time was the largest city in the world, with a total population of around 4 million people in the 1 ass’s, and was one of the first cities to come completely urbanites. For the first time, more people were living in towns and cities than in the country. This forced them to increase the interiority of their lives, through having little involvement with the society outside their blacked-out windows. This made it a perfect setting for mystery novels like ‘Dry Jewell and Mr. Hyde?. Macbeth is a play written by William Shakespeare in 1604.

It is set in Scotland and is considered one of the darkest and most powerful tragedies in literature. The play dramatists the corrosive psychological and political effects which occur when the evil inside a person is hosing as a way to fulfill the ambition for power. Shakespeare performed this play and was paid by the monarch, King James l; this meant that the sovereign had a large effect on the outcome of the play. In this essay, I will be comparing how and why the writers use strong feelings about human nature in Macbeth and Dry Jewell and Mr. Hyde. Stevenson goes out of his way to paint Hyde as annalistic-?”let wasn’t like a man”.

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Here, Stevenson cleverly uses the personal pronoun “it” to emphasize the inhumanness of Hyde and to show how out-castes he is from society. Utters describes him as a “troglodyte,” r primitive creature and he is constantly referred as doing things in an “apelike” manner. Yet, if Hyde were just an animal, it wouldn’t be expected that he would take such delight in violent crimes. He seems to commit violent acts against innocent people with no reasoning except for a strange type of pleasure- something that no animal would do. He knows the moral law but he still he basks in his breach of it.

For an annalistic creature, Hyde seems oddly at home in the urban landscape of Victorian London. All of these observations imply that perhaps civilization, too, has its dark side. It could be said that Macbeth had more control over his choice to murder Duncan than Jewell had in the brutal killing of Care. “Let not light see my black and deep desires” in Macbeth shows that he understands the evil that he is going to commit against God, who is perceived as the “light”, but is still prepared to carry out this tragic deed. Machete’s greed is caused by his yearning to increase his status in society, the same greed which is in most human beings.

Even though it could be said that Dry Jewell had little control over what Hyde did because they had split personalities, “Man is not one but two”, Jelly’s lust for knowledge did cause him to repeatedly take the potion. The potion was constantly destroying the figurative “door” which was keeping Hyde from taking full control of Jewell. In ‘Henry Jelly’s full statement of the case’, Stevenson cleverly uses “I locked the door by which I had so often gone and come”, to show that the bridge between Jewell and Hade’s conscience had been completely destroyed by Jelly’s suicide.

Jelly’s susceptibility could also link with the myth of ‘Pander’s Box’. Both of these stories show how humans are capable of releasing great evil into the world as a result of their underlying curiosity. Macbeth may have had more choice in the crimes he committed but he also had more factors trying to influence the decisions he was making. As Machete’s fatal flaw was greed, the witches tempt Macbeth when they chant, “All hail Macbeth! That shall be King hereafter” in Act 1 scene 3, because he couldn’t risk something that would dramatically increase his status in society just to chance.

Macbeth was also affected by Lady Macbeth when she questions his manhood in, “When you durst do it, then you were a man// Be so much the man. ” For a male at the time, to be questioned of their masculinity Was the ultimate insult, especially from a woman. This emotional blackmail device from Lady Macbeth clearly worked, because Lady Macbeth was able to take full control of Macbeth hereafter. In the same manner that Lady Macbeth goads her husband, Macbeth then provokes the murderers by questioning their manhood, “Ay, in the catalog ye go for men”.

Both of these acts show that both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth equate masculinity with naked aggression, and whenever they converse about manhood, violence soon follows. Their understanding of manhood allows the political order depicted in the play to descend into chaos. Lady Macbeth and the potion acted as a catalyst for both of these main characters. Lady Macbeth removed any confusion in Machete’s mind of whether to let chance decide his fate or to take action when she says “Chance may crown me/ Without my stiff’. She does this by emotionally blackmailing Macbeth; “Such I account thy love”.

To an Elizabethan audience, the power and control that Lady Macbeth has and is allowed to express would be shocking because women were deemed as the weaker gender. In contrast, the potion used by Jewell speeds up the process of Hade’s possessing of Jewell. Stevenson cleverly changes how he refers to “the potion” as the narrative unfolds. He starts off by calling it a potion” but then proceeds to call it a “drug”. A “drug’ implies that Jewell is addicted, “l once more prepared and drank the cup”, which, due to his lust for knowledge, he is. Stevenson could ultimately be trying to show the naivety of humans.

In Macbeth, Shakespeare uses vast amounts of imagery involving blood. Shakespeare uses “Blood will have blood” to imply that Macbeth will have to kill again, in order to evade his inevitable capture. In the Elizabethan era, society believed that Kings were chosen by God through the Divine right. As King James would have been paying Shakespeare to entertain him; justice loud have to be placed upon Macbeth in order to please the King. In Exodus 21 :24 it says; “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth”, which shows that God approves of capital punishment.

This reflects the vengeance which was allowed to be enforced in this particular period because of the bible’s teachings. In contrast, in ‘Dry Jewell and Mr.. Hyde’ there are much more graphic images when any violence occurs. The compelling imagery used by Stevenson in “His bones were audibly shattered” confirms the beast-like impression already described by Stevenson in the “search for Mr. Hyde”. In his chapter, Mr. Utters confronts Mr. Hyde and the writer immediately describes how “Mr. Hyde shrank back with a hissing intake of breath”.

Stevenson cleverly uses “hissing” to show the serpent-like aura of Mr. Hyde. This links to “act like the flower but be the serpent inside” which is said by Lady Macbeth in Act 1 Scene 5. In both the Victorian and Elizabethan era, religion was at the forefront of society. Therefore, in these different passages from the texts, both writers were trying to show that any human, regardless of wealth or nobility, who allows evil to consume their conscience and to acetate, their actions, has conspired with the devil. One of the main themes rampant in Macbeth is that Of deception.

There is a disconnection between appearance and reality. Hypocrisy is everywhere in Macbeth; what is good for one person may be bad for others in the play. The first scene of the play highlights this. We are introduced to the witches, who speak in ambiguous equivocations. The quotation “Fair is foul and foul is fair/ Hover through the fog and filthy air portrays that because what is ‘fair’, good or wholesome for humans, is ‘foul’ or unwholesome for the witched. ‘Filthy air”, is an atmosphere that humans would shun, but is the kind of atmosphere that the witches would thrive in.

For the characters in Dry. Jewell and Mr.. Hyde, preserving one’s reputation emerges as all-important. The prevalence of this value system is evident in the way that men such as Utters and Enfield avoid gossip at all costs; as they see it as a “destroyer of reputation”. Similarly, when Utters suspects Jewell first of being blackmailed and then of sheltering Hyde from the police, he does not make his suspicions known; part of being Jelly’s good friend is a willingness to keep his secrets and not ruin his respectability.

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