SparkNotes: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: Themes

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde study guide contains a biography of Robert Louis Stevenson, literature essays, a complete e-text, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis.

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This essay will analyse how the author captures the reader’s interest and introduces the key ideas in chapter 1 of ‘The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.’ This essay will evaluate how the author, Robert Louis Stevenson, uses different language, how RL Stevenson uses imagery, structure and form, and the settings to capture the reader’s interest....

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Critical Essays

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The Gothic element of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is represented via the theme of doubling. This is revealed to the reader by the horrifying transformation of Dr Henry Jekyll into the atavistic murderer Edward Hyde. The transformation is generated by the fear of regression, as both men are revealed to be the same person. Stevenson's depiction of the respectable gentleman Dr Jekyll as capable of the terrible behaviour exhibited by Mr Hyde, is evidence of his manipulation of Victorian anxieties and social fears. It shattered the veneer of class-conditioned respectability that covered and controlled the lives of respectable members of the population. As the text demonstrates, it is not only the impoverished, working classes living in the slum areas of the city that are capable of committing crimes; criminals are also found in educated, wealthy, and seemingly respectable echelons of society.