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Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde “The novel ultimately succeeds by terrifying us, for who among us does not contain the potential for developing the split-personality of good and evil which the protagonist so vividly portrays” –E. Zolgist
Victorian Age (Queen Victoria on throne 1837-1901) • A. Values based on hard work, strict morality, and pragmatism; booming economy and rapid expansion in manufacturing • B. Advances in science and technology inspired curiosity • C. Attitudes became pessimistic towards the end of the age due to prominence of Romanticism in previous years.
Romanticism: emphasizes imagination and emotion over intellect and reason • 1. Belief in Man’s goodness • 2. individualism • 3. reverence for nature • 4. idealism • 5. paradox of free thought and religious mysticism • 6. revolt against political authority and social invention • 7. exaltation of passion • 8. cultivation of emotion and sensation • 9. a persistent attraction to the supernatural, morbid, melancholy, and/or cruel
Influences on Robert Louis Stevenson (Scottish Writer 1850-1894) • A. Victorian values- ladylike/gentlemanlike behavior; obsesses with decorum; progress was measured by materialism • B. Naturalism- the idea that nature has a cold indifference to human suffering; environment and heredity determine success or failure in life • C. Rousseauistic philosophy- society corrupts man by bringing out his inclination toward aggression and egotism. Rousseau argued that science and arts do NOT increase man’s happiness- they corrupt
The Gothic Novel (a form of the novel in which magic, mystery, and chivalry are the chief characteristics- horrors abound) • A. Jekyll and Hyde written in 1886 • B. setting has hints of gothic influence • C. supernatural comes from a combination of romantic and gothic influences due to popularity (Stevenson did need to sell books) • D. Note absence of any prominent female characters • E. Uses a doppelganger (double goer)- a ghostly double of a living person, especially one that haunts its own fleshy counterpart
Structure • A. combines realistic (middle class characters with middle class values) with the romantic • B. alchemy idea and “touch of occult” • C. “potions” • D. vivid imagery • E. Note Lanyon’s reference to “Jekyll’s preoccupation with science” • F. Might have known about Freud but his pre-psychoanalysis occurred around the turn of the century
Features worth noting • A. references to wine and altering potions • B. significance of the two names • C. significance of documents (wills and letters) • D. characters other than Jekyll and Hyde- note all are bachelors • E. setting- theme of duality (2 personalities) • F. violence • G. subtle references involving the number 2
2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 • 2 appearances, 2 personalities, 2 voices, 2 handwritings, calls at 2 o’clock, 2 hours after the murder, 2 pts. Of view, 2 wills, 2 places of residence and operation, 2 names, cane splits in 2 pieces, 2 drinks- wine and potion
Theme…. • Dominance of man’s evil nature over his good. • Symbols and irony… throughout