Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde vs Victorian

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 254
  • Published : July 28, 2010
Open Document
Text Preview
During the late nineteenth century the flourishing of the Industrial Revolution caused a great deal of disorder and instability throughout all of Europe. New technological advancements in machine-based manufacturing were beginning to spread throughout the country; which ultimately caused for the lower classes sudden decrease in job opportunities and eventually unemployment. Due to the up rise in technology many workers from the countryside faced the challenge of moving to the inner cities in order to find job opportunities with the new machinery. Although the technological advancements brought forth many positive contributions, the competition for employment created a surplus in the population of the cities. Since towns became overpopulated the living conditions became unbearable for society. With all the changes occurring throughout Europe, the Victorian society feared what was to come in the near future. These new advancements in technology brought forth many changes in sciences, politics, and allowed for different people to begin to express their thoughts. As the people began to shape this new social environment, everyone had to adapt to this modern way of life. High ranked individuals were now seen as the most respectful and influential individuals among society, which allowed them to gain power and therefore stabilize society. The high expectations from the lower class ultimately paid a toll on the “higher ranked” class which eventually caused them to want to step away from the responsibilities society held them accountable for. Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, is able to portray these experiences with the books primary characters: Dr Jekyll, Mr. Hyde, Utterson, and Lanyon. The novel reveals how Jekyll’s curiosity of the duality of men leads him to find his real persona. Jekyll, like many of the individuals of the Victorian era faced a constant struggle to uphold the views of society and disregard their inner thoughts. During the Victorian time period the society revolved around a social class, which was male centered. For this purpose Stevenson makes the main characters of the novel the ideal Victorian men who are well-rounded, respectable individuals. Utterson is a respectable lawyer; in turn he becomes the narrator of the story. The reason behind this is to create a bond with the reader to show how the typical Victorian man would react to a particular situation and the obstacles he would face. Utterson is seen as the common Victorian who always abides by the rules and does not defy the social ideals. His way of thinking revolves around reason, ideals, and common sense and he never allows himself to think about supernatural events. This novel is able to expose the fears which people faced in this era and how hiding the truth was enforced if it meant peacefulness for all of society. This is evident throughout the short story because every time Utterson would come across someone or something that would suspect Jekyll of criminal behavior he would just turn the other way and make a reasonable excuse for it. His Victorian ideals allow him to protect the reputation of his friend Jekyll and therefore prevent his downfall. For example, this can be seen when he first hears about Hyde’s incident with the trampling of the girl. When this occurred Hyde hands out a check in order to make amends with the witnesses of the event, the check turns out to reveal Jekyll’s name on it. Instead of accusing Jekyll with having some type of connection to the crime, he simply defends his reputation and accuses Hyde of blackmailing the respected Jekyll. This idea that Stevenson portrays was typical during that time period, the lower class would blackmail the upper class when they would find there was something that would jeopardize their reputation. This is a reoccurring theme in the novel and especially with Utterson’s character. Another prime example of this is when Utterson arrives...
tracking img