External Influences on Stevenson’s Writings
“The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” by Robert Louis Stevenson was a familiar title to me and prior to reading it I believed I was well versed about the story. I knew that Dr.
Jekyll was an intelligent man who experimented with the idea of creating a more powerful version of him that would release his deepest inhibitions. In addition, I believed that the
people of the town were not fully aware of Mr. Hyde, only that there was a monster running about the city creating havoc. The townspeople would not be directly affected by Mr. Hyde and I most certainly never thought that Mr. Hyde was capable of
murder. Furthermore, it was my thought that when people
referred to another person as being like Dr. Jekyll and Mr.
Hyde that they could switch from being kind one minute to
being irrational and short tempered the next. I never believe the cliché to be in reference toward one’s physical aggression or anger. Finally, prior to reading the novel I believed that the novel was am indication to the times and the medical
maladies that were present at the time that Stevenson wrote it.
Upon my completion of the book, I learned that while in some aspects I had the right idea on Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the novel was much more insightful that I had ever imagined. Not only was Dr. Jekyll an intelligent man but he was very popular around his town as well as reputable in his society. Others
assumed he was an average man who was being blackmailed by Mr. Hyde for some misdeed that he had committed in his earlier
years and that was their only connection. Furthermore, the
townspeople were unaware of the happenings of Dr. Jekyll’s experiments and the consequences of drinking the concoction
that transformed him into Mr. Hyde. Perhaps the most shocking difference between what I perceived to be true and what the
novel revealed was the fact that split personality disorder
was not even a thought at the time this novel was...
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