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Tention in Novel Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde

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The handing over of ten pounds was perfectly normal. However when he gets the cheque, someone completely different signed it. Enfield tells Utterson, “And signed with a name that I cannot mention.” This adds mystery as why would someone give ninety pounds to a man who was so detestable, and it adds mystery as who was the third party person who signed the cheque? At the beginning of the book Mr Utterson is described as austere, giving him a set of rules and a routine that he stuck to.

However the night of the day he was told the story of Mr Hyde, he did not follow his usual routine. This adds mystery as he is austere so whatever he does must be important. Stevenson tells us, “When he would go soberly and gratefully to bed. On this night, however,” telling us he does not follow his usual routine.

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Another character action that adds mystery involves the will of Doctor Jekyll.

As his lawyer Mr Utterson should have assisted in the making in the will, but the book tells us, “Mr Utterson…had refused to lend the least assistance in making it.” A lawyer usually helps in the making of their clients will, so it is highly mysterious that Mr Utterson did not. Later in the chapter Mr Utterson begins to search for the character of Mr Hyde. This adds tension as the reader waits in anticipation of the introduction of the character in the novel. Mr Utterson says, “If he be Mr Hyde, I shall be Mr Seek.” Finally when Mr Hyde gives Mr Utterson his address, it adds horror. This is because Mr Utterson believes he is thinking of the will and believes if he knows of it he may get impatient and do something terrible to get his inheritance. Mr Utterson says, “Can he too have been thinking of the will.”

The fifth topic I am going to study is foreshadowing. The first piece of foreshadowing is when Mr Utterson and Mr Enfield come across Hyde’s house. The description of the house in places could be matched to the description of its occupant. I mentioned earlier in the essay that the house is said to be scarcely a house and that Hyde is described as barely human. Though the character has not yet been described to us yet, because of the foreshadowing in the house description, you begin to get an image anyway. The description includes “the marks of prolonged and sordid negligence.” This adds horror, as the description of the house is hideous; so if it begins to describe the character it means he too is hideous. Tension is added as you await the introduction of this hideous character.

The second piece of foreshadowing I am going to use as an example comes in the story told by Mr Richard Enfield. This is foreshadowing, as what Mr Hyde does in this story is only an indicator of what he is capable of actually doing. This is only the introduction of his evilness and later in the book the reader expects Hyde to commit worse crimes than he has done so in the story. Although he tramples over a young child, later in the book he commits murder, on MP, Sir Danvers. The story says, “for the man trampled calmly over the child’s body.” This adds horror as the crime committed already disgusts people and later he will commit crimes of a worse nature. It also adds tension as all the time the reader comes across Mr Hyde’s name they are waiting in anticipation of his next terrible crime.

Then the description of Doctor Jekyll’s house is foreshadowing as again it could be matched to description of its occupant. It is described as having “a great air of wealth and comfort.” This could also be matched to Dr Jekyll who was rich and those around him were comfortable in his presence. This adds mystery to the novel as both houses matched the description of their occupants in places giving a link between the two houses. Also Mr Hyde’s house was said to have been “Two doors from one corner,” and Doctor Jekyll’s was said to have been “Second from the corner.” This establishes another link between the two houses and is foreshadowing, as there is a link that the reader is just unaware of at the time. The foreshadowing adds to the horror as there are two different sides to the house and as we find out towards the end of the book we find out the occupant has two different faces too. It also adds mystery, as at the time of reading we do not realise though clues are hinting of this.

The penultimate topic I am going to look at Stevenson’s methods of adding horror, mystery and tension to his novel, is information held back from the reader. The first piece of information held back from the reader is the name of the man who signed the cheque in Mr Richard Enfield’s story. He knows it but does not mention it and Mr Utterson knew it anyway so didn’t need telling. The reader is the only person not to know the name. Mr Utterson says, “If I do not ask you the name of the other party, it is because I know it already.” This adds mystery, as Mr Richard Enfield never mentions the name, still Mr Utterson knew it and this forms a link the reader does not know about adding the mystery. The second piece of information held back from the reader is the “unscientific balderdash,” that caused Doctor Jekyll and Doctor Lanyon to fall out.

Again this is mysterious as they were described as good friends, yet now because of one disagreement they hardly talk to each other. The reader though is not told what the falling out was for and is left in mystery. Another piece of information held back from the reader is the face of Mr Hyde. The reader gets several descriptions of Hyde but his face is never described. Utterson asks, “Will you let me see your face?” Despite Mr Hyde’s acceptance, the reader still does not know what his face looks like or why he looks deformed. This adds tension as the reader is still waiting for a description and a reason for the sense of deformity.

Finally, the butler, Poole, announces to Mr Utterson that Doctor Jekyll is from home. Stevenson writes, “Poole presently returned to announce that Doctor Jekyll was gone out.” The reader, however, is not told of where Doctor Jekyll has gone adding mystery and tension as the reader suspects the disappearance described in the will, could have occurred. It is also late at night; so where he is at this time is mysterious. But the reader can only suspect, as the butler does not mention the whereabouts of his master Doctor Jekyll. Also mysterious is the fact that the butler had to go check whether his master was in or not. You would expect a butler to know the whereabouts of his master.

The final topic I am going to study is incidents involving or times of mentioning the will. The first time the will is mentioned is early in the second chapter of the novel. The first thing that is mysterious about the will, is that Mr Utterson begins to study it late at night. Why he needs to read it at this time is unknown by the reader but Mr Utterson had left his usual routine despite the fact he is an austere person. Stevenson writes, “On this night, however…he took a candle and went into his business room.” Also mysterious is the fact he played no part in the making of the will. It is usually one of the tasks of the lawyer to assist their client in the making of their will to ensure that it is how the person wants it and that they leave what they want to who they want.

However, in this specific case Mr Utterson, “Had refused to lend the least assistance in the making of it.” Another mysterious thing about the will were its clauses. The staff that worked in the house of Doctor Jekyll got a few small payments according to the will. Everything else was left to one Mr Edward Hyde, who was an evil man and who was never mentioned by Doctor Jekyll to his close friends. This is mysterious as Doctor Jekyll did not seem the type of man to mix with people like him and he had never mentioned him to his friends, yet he was going to leave him everything. A different clause was also mysterious.

The will read, “In case of Dr Jekyll’s disappearance or unexplained absence for any period exceeding three calendar months’, the said Edward Hyde should step into the said Henry Jekyll’s shoes.” This is mysterious, as the reader does not know why Doctor Henry Jekyll would disappear for three months with no reasoning. Finally the fact that Mr Utterson believes it to be blackmail adds horror and mystery. Whatever Doctor Jekyll did in his past must have been bad adding the horror and the reader has no idea what it is, adding to the mystery. Mr Utterson believes it to be, “The ghost of some old sin.” The suspicion of blackmail also adds tension as he may attempt to confront Mr Hyde with it, but the reader has to wait in suspense to find this out.

In conclusion Robert Louise Stevenson creates a sense of horror, mystery and tension using incidents, such as character actions, descriptions, such as places and objects, such as the will. The points I have made in this essay all use examples or quotes of how he creates the three elements and I have continued by describing how these examples or quotes add horror, mystery and tension to his novel. Robert Louis Stevenson creates these elements as they make the novel exiting and makes the reader want to read on. Without his excellent techniques of getting these elements across, the novel would have not been anywhere near as successful as it is today. Also because of the genre of the book it is hard to avoid putting in any horror, mystery and/or tension in to it.

Cite this Tention in Novel Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde

Tention in Novel Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde. (2017, Nov 04). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/tention-in-novel-doctor-jekyll-and-mr-hyde/

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