Comparing Frankenstein And The Strange Case Of Doctor Jekyll And Mr. Hyde

Submitted By oliviacerys
Words: 1079
Pages: 5

Compare how the theme of duality is presented in Frankenstein by Mary Shelley and The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

The Oxford dictionary defines duality as “the quality or condition of being dual”, this statement defines it as a condition and both protagonists show signs of madness as the novels develop. They both experimented with new science which was not socially accepted at the time. Frankenstein and Jekyll both make clear efforts to conceal their activities, with Victor going away from his family home to build the monster at University and Jekyll retreating to his laboratory to experiment.
The key point in both novels is the link of a character to a location. In Jekyll and Hyde there are a lot of similarities between the protagonists and where they live. Jekyll resides in a high estate townhouse which is described as having “a great air of wealth and comfort.” This house is an expression of Jekyll and his standing in society, however when Jekyll becomes Hyde he purchases a “cheap quarter” in Soho which suits Hyde’s character, the neighbourhood is described as “dingy” and “blackguardly” these words describe Hyde’s personality very well, Hyde is “deformed”, “disgusting” and “displeasing” much like the place he lives. Even though Jekyll’s house is described as “handsome” the lab is shielded by this innocent cover. The lab is very close to Jekyll’s home but still has a different entrance for Hyde when he changes and enters the property. However when Frankenstein wants to build his monster he travels to Ingolstadt, an area of knowledge with his own room for his experiments, away from his family and Elizabeth, tending to run away from his problems. Even though Frankenstein’s lab is very far away and Jekyll’s very close to home, the idea of retreating and becoming introverted is another one of the gothic conventions they have in common.
The idea of the double is popular in Gothic fiction, Shelley and Stevenson were some of the first authors to revolutionise this concept. The double could be an expression of Shelley and Stevenson’s life at the time, much like how Shelley expresses the circle of life and death in Frankenstein after losing 4 out of her 5 children. The relationship between Frankenstein and the monster is similar to Mary’s attraction and repulsion of motherhood, Frankenstein plays the role of a mother who neglects her child and must suffer punishments from the child going to heaven and leaving her. Like any “mother” Frankenstein has the responsibility to nurture his creation just like, if not more than a normal mother and baby because of the monster`s potential to harm unknowingly.
On the surface Hyde and the monster seem very similar, they are both unnatural creatures rejected by society, both murderers of innocent people. Both Hyde and the monster are compared to the devil. Before we even know Hyde’s name he is compared to Satan by Mr Enfield, "I never saw a circle of such hateful faces; and there was the man in the middle, with a kind of black sneering coolness –frightened to, I could see that –but carrying it off, sir, really like Satan." The monster also compares himself to Satan, saying “many times I considered Satan as the fitter emblem of my condition; for often, like him, when I viewed the bliss of my protectors, the bitter gall of envy rose within me.”
However when you look under the surface, they aren't the same at all. Hyde is an evil, revolting creation, with a need for violence and hatred of humans, the first thing we hear about Hyde is in Chapter 1 “for the man trampled calmly over the child’s body and left her screaming on the ground”. In contrast, Frankenstein's monster began as an innocent, frightened creature, cast away from human society due to his hideous appearance. His constant lonely suffering and longing for affection made him furious at his creator for making him so different from humans. “Believe me, Frankenstein: I was benevolent; my soul glowed