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How do Stevenson and Shakespeare use setting to indicate a problem with characters?

By hannahdobby14 Oct 16, 2014 592 Words
How does Stevenson and Shakespeare use setting to indicate a problem with characters? Stevenson foreshadows a problem with Hyde by describing the door, in great detail, to Hyde’s home, because the door is described as uncared for, “the door, which was equipped with neither bell nor knocker, was blistered and distained.” The fact that the door was “blistered” shows that the inhabitant(s) did not care for their home, in Victorian times, the home owners would receive little to no respect from neighbours because their home was in such a bad state. The readers are to believe that the paint on the door is peeling and the colour is fading because it’s blistered and distained. To describe the door Stevenson uses narrative focus, this is to zoom in on the detail on the door and help you to imagine how uncared for this door is. This description of the door could be interpreted in many ways; Hyde likes his own company and is a recluse because he is mostly alone and rarely goes through the door, or Mr Hyde uses that door as a back entrance for his sordid desires, because Stevenson was influenced by Jack the Ripper and the rising number of prostitutes in Victorian London when writing Jekyll and Hyde. Stevenson also describes the street where the door is, as being a nice street and welcoming and colourful and then there is this door which sticks out like a sore thumb and brings down the whole feeling of the whole street, Stevenson describes it as “a certain sinister block of building thrust forward”. He uses personification to describe the door to make it seem more alive than the rest of the street. Stevenson uses the word “block” to describe what the building was like in the setting it was in and it was just there, it has no aesthetic at all. The problem with Hyde is that he doesn’t fit in and this is shown by both the door and how his house looks, and when he is around he brings the feeling of instant hate and despise. In contrast Shakespeare uses pathetic fallacy when the witches meet, on a “black winter morning” to show that the witches signify that either evil has already taken place or will take place. When writing Macbeth Shakespeare was influenced by the Jacobean beliefs on witches; they were associated with demons and the devil because everyone believed the bible to be completely true, and when witches where practicing their dark magic, God would make the weather horrid because the natural order has been broken. This means that, in terms of a Jacobean simpleton, the witches were up to no good and were making God angry. Shakespeare uses “black” to describe what the sky was like to signify what they were doing, because they were performing the darkest magic on that winters morning. In the beginning the witches are performing some kind of ritual and Shakespeare uses the technique of iambic pentameter and them speaking in riddles for the witches’ speech. This is to catch the audience’s attention and draw them to what was going on, on stage. They are also clairvoyant and start predicting what’s going to happen “When the hurly-burly’s done, When the battle’s lost and won.” Even though the play is about Macbeth we haven’t met him yet but already evil has been established, showing that Macbeth is entwined with evil. Or alternatively Macbeth’s hamartia could be that he wants power, but to get that power, is to foray into witchcraft.

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