Q: Discuss the concept of control in regard to Jekyll’s relationship with Hyde. Is absolute control possible? Can one choose when to be completely good or evil? How does Stevenson portray this through his resources of language?
In composing his novella The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mrs. Hyde Scottish author Robert Lewis Stevenson’s main focus is the duality of man and his human nature. Influenced by western literature, Stevenson composed a story where the main characters act as perfect foils for each other. In this battle of good vs. evil, Dr. Jekyll is the source of all good while Mr. Hyde is driven by pure evil, creating the dynamic balance of duality which all humans battle against. Dramatically, both characters exist in one body, thus the struggle is heightened due to the intensity and hunger for survival each posses. Stevenson portrays the acts of this struggle of survival through resources of language embedded in his novella, proving that ultimately, as good and evil try to battle for survival one outlives the other.
In his journey Henry Jekyll is found theorizing the duality of man and how two ‘polar twins’ constitute man: good and evil. In his attempt to manifest both identities Jekyll finds himself between a revolution of two ‘personas’ competing for survival in his body in attempt to eliminate the other. “…This familiar that I called out of my own soul, and sent forth alone to do his good pleasure, was being inherently malign and villainous; his every act and thought centered on self; drinking pleasure with bestial avidity from one degree of torture to another; relentless like a man of stone. Henry Jekyll stood at times aghast before the acts of Edward Hyde but the situation was apart from ordinary laws, and insidiously relaxed the grasp of conscience. It was Hyde, after all and Hyde alone, that was guilty. Jekyll was no worse he woke again to his good qualities seemingly unimpaired; he would even make haste, where it was possible, to undo...
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