Jekyll and Hyde

How does Robert Louis Stevenson explore the duality of
human nature in Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde?

In the year 1886 Robert Louis Stevenson wrote ‘Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’.   In the Victorian period, society was concerned with a number of things and the writer touched some of these by describing Hyde as “ape like” and “far from human” or “more animal than human”, and he tries to get across that in the Victorian period the poorer people were not graded as very human and they were looked down on by the richer and more wealthy people.

Stevenson’s character ‘Dr Jekyll’ was a respected member of the society, he however is dissatisfied because he wanted to show another side to his personality and he could not do that because his reputation as Dr Jekyll show him as a good well behaved, well mannered man.   He does not wish to ruin his standing in society he doesn’t want to be not respected, but he also wants to split his personality in half, one for the bad/evil and one for the good/honoured.   When he first seeks to separate the two he does not expect the evil to be so extreme, “I stood already committed to a profound duplicity of life”.   He also says that a normal human has two sides “I thus drew steadily nearer to the truth by who’s partial discovery I have been doomed to such a dreadful shipwreck: that a man is not truly one but two”.   He was aware that “In my own person that I learned to recognise the thought and promote duplicity of a man.”   He has been trying to suppress his bad side, and hopes science can help him and needs to show both sides of his nature.   He begins experimenting to split both sides then he can have what he wants.

The writer emphasises and describes the transformation in great detail because he wants to make it sound frightening and difficult and it possibly shows this is not a normal thing to do.   Dr Jekyll states “I risked death”.   When he took it his physical transformation was horrific, he felt a painful, bone grinding and deadly nausea....