How does Stevenson portray the duality of man in the opening chapters of ‘The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’?
Stevenson writes ‘The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’ with the intention of showing the reader the duality of man and explores this through the juxtaposition of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. In this novella, Stevenson also uses the environment and setting of the story to represent the contrast between Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
In the opening chapters of ‘The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’, the Soho area of Victorian London is described negatively and disapprovingly, compared to other areas of Victorian London An example of this is in the chapter of ‘The Carew Murder Case’, where the Soho area is
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Hyde is represented as the exploding bottle causing destruction along its path. Stevenson also creates juxtaposition between Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde during the opening chapters, as he describes them both in completely opposite ways. For instance, in the ‘Search for Mr. Hyde’, Mr. Utterson says, “... if ever I read Satan’s signature upon a face, it is on that of your new friend.” Here, Stevenson suggests that maybe Mr. Hyde is the artwork of Satan, just as an artist signs his name on a piece of completed work or perhaps that Mr. Hyde is Satan himself in disguise. Stevenson’s modern day audience may not think much of him using the word “Satan” to describe Mr. Hyde’s appearance, but in the Victorian era, England was a very Christian country, people were extremely religious and were very disapproving of blasphemy or the use of words that may relate to hell or the devil, hence the Victorian reader feeling shocked at seeing such language and words being used in the novella. On the contrary, in ‘Dr. Jekyll was quite at ease’, Dr. Jekyll is described as “-a large, well-made, smooth-faced man of fifty.” This is a big contrast from Mr. Hyde’s description as Dr. Jekyll is portrayed to be a man of good looks and not as a man with a ‘displeasing smile’, that Mr. Hyde seems to be described as. Additionally, not only has Stevenson set out to create juxtaposition between Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, but he could possibly want