The story of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde was written in the 19th century. This was a time when scientific advances were rapid and new discoveries taking place within a short space of time. This is also known as the post Darwinian Period. At the time people where still recovering from the previously published book by Darwin, ???origin of Species”. This basically depicted us as being descended from apes and being Just the product of evolution, which contradicted all religious texts and beliefs.
However, towards the end of the 19th century, within the post-Darwinian perspective, scientists uch as Freud were also beginning to examine various influences on human morality and character including drug and alcohol addiction, multiple personality disorder, and regressive animality. These are questionable influences in the novella written by Stevenson and possible drives behind the writing. One of the ways Stevenson portrays Hyde’s character is through his appearance.
In the opening chapter when he is first sighted by Enfield he is described as ‘Some Damned Juggernaut as well as ‘not like man’. This puts across a huge sense of deformity in his fgure and posture. Just from the word damned we the reader can deduce that he is evil and malicious. This suggests he is condemned or doomed to eternal punishment, beyond Just this life and into the afterlife. We can further analyse that the term ‘Juggernaut’ makes us see him as overpowering, destructive and warmongering. Stevenson continues to describe his disturbing character with relations to being an ape. ?? In an ape like fury’ ???Hairy Hands” are examples of this. From this we can ratiocinate that he is so different in fgure and appearance that it is immediately distinguishable from anyone else. This also raised a chance for debate in the readers mind as at the time the theories of Darwin were still questionable, and these ideas about his appearance fuelled the opportunity for people to think about current affairs, it shows how it must have been quite a topical subject of the time if it is linked into fictional writing.Order now
Due to this profound popularity, Stevenson can show the disturbing character by relating it to current affairs in the real world making the reader have a closer connection to the ideas of Hyde’s character. Stevenson continues to present Hyde as a disturbing character using the surroundings and locality. An example of this is the back door to Jekylls home home; it is a good reflection of the personality and appearance of Hyde. Shabby and dilapidated This is closely collated to Hyde’s description of ‘scruffy and scrummy ‘Blistered and distained ‘also closely relates to Hyde’s character. Mr Hyde’s life is blistered and his soul distained due to the evil and sense of trepidation he emits into others around him. This is a very powerful effect used by Stevenson to show the isturbing character of Mr Hyde. In the beginning of the story when Jekyll has relative control over Hyde his windows in his home are described as ‘Always shut and clean’.
This is a reflection of Jekyll and shows how organised and civilised he is in the beginning and that his hold onto reality is quite tight. However as the story progresses and Jekylls grip on Hyde begins to weaken the windows are described as ‘Dusty and barred with iron The dusty description shows how he is starting to loose Everything which he once new in the past is starting to be covered over and gather ust suggesting he has moved on from what he once was.
The iron bars make us ratiocinate a secretive sort of character which is evident in the story, as he begins to lock himself in his cabinet more often and be concealed from his friends and servants. All his deeds and actions are carried out secretly and this has made the reader become much more sceptical on his intentions. The disturbing character of Hyde is reinforced further by the acts and deeds he commits during the novella. Right from the beginning the disturbing character is hown as he tramples over a young girl almost as if it was 0k to do so. Trampled calmly over the child’s body In this situation Hyde is seen as a monster and malicious, because he has done something as terrible as trampling an innocent girl much younger then himself, but not Just the fact he did it but he did it with calm, as if she was almost unimportant and not noticeable. The fact he does it calmly is a contradiction in itself but this links onto further deeds suggesting this psychotic behaviour which plagues him. How he can do all these things with such cool as if it was all normal is.