Duality of Human Nature in Macbeth and Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde Essay
Duality of Human Nature in Macbeth and Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde Essay.
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The supernatural themes especially portrayed in Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and Macbeth, show the complexities of the human mind and the conflict between good and evil. This theme and the idea of having two sides are in relation to the Victorian society in the context of when these novels were written. The novels together show how judgement can be impaired by ambition, greed, and intrigue and how in turn remorse or regret can be a result of listening to an influenced mind.
There are many differences between these two novels but despite this there are also many features that when combined together support the common theme among them both, the duality of human nature. The context in which both novel and the play was written was a time of conflict between science and religion, the scientific revelation opposed the belief that God was the earth’s creator. The harmony between science and faith broke down and the supernatural themes in both Macbeth and Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde struck further fear to the people in society while they were vulnerable.
This fear was linked with Victorian decorum, the way people presented themselves for other people’s judgement and perception was different to how they acted behind closed doors; it was a secret world of unsuspected lies and deception. Doctor Jekyll was a ‘respectable doctor’ and had earnt the trust and friendships but his mind was torn between right and wrong and his intrigue in new science brought out the other side to his personality in a literal and supernatural form. This is in the same way that Macbeth, ‘a valiant cousin’, who had the respect of the King, became driven by ambition which blurred the path of righteousness behind people’s backs. Shakespeare uses Macbeth’s thoughts in his first soliloquy to show the conflict between decisions of right and wrong. He is driven by his ‘vaulting ambition’ to self fulfil the prophecy proposed by the witches.