Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

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Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde – Wide Reading Assignment Term 3 The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, or Jekyll and Hyde for short, is a mystifying short horror story written by Robert Louis Stevenson and set in Victorian England. It encounters the mystery of Henry Jekyll and Edward Hyde through the eyes of mild-mannered lawyer, Mr Utterson. Stevenson has skilfully characterised Jekyll, Hyde and Mr Utterson, who is the ultimate Victorian, into a complex and baffling plot based upon a true story. Its age defying themes include science vs. supernatural, the effects of society on the individual and the Jekyll/Hyde dual personality. Henry Jekyll is a medical doctor that undertakes experiments in an attempt to purify his good side from his bad side. Thus he transforms into the “detestable” Edward Hyde. Hyde, a man giving “a strong sense of deformity”, is Jekyll’s alter ego; one that hides behind Jekyll’s polite façade and whose doubtful relationship with Jekyll stands out in a society where there are distinct borders between social classes. At the end of the story, Hyde commits suicide, something that Jekyll thought “impossible”. This makes his character more believable as it is doubtful that any urban-dwelling man could possibly be as evil as Hyde in the beginning of the story. The novella is set in the “draughty streets of London” in Victorian times, during the peak of Western civilisation. Within the text, the setting has no value other than to help the audience visualise the storyline. Sub textually; the setting is what pushes Jekyll to want to become another man free of “social burden”. His inability to do some things that may be considered “preposterous” by his peers results in him attempting to break out of character and become a whole new person; Hyde. Although the setting does not directly change the plot, it informs the characters’ choices and actions throughout the story where a different setting would have resulted in a different outcome....
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