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Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde Essay

1695 words - 7 pages

Literature that reflects the concerns of contemporary society is of great importance because it warns as well as informs the reader about what dangers can affect the individual in society, not necessarily only in a physical sense. Whether people desire to read something that deals with these concerns in society or not, it is crucial because it allows them to escape their present state and explore a new concept, such as that in fantastic literature. This allows people to come back to reality with knowledge of the unknown or strange, yet also gain the knowledge to understand the issues that affect people every day in modern society. Alexander Solzhenitsyn writes, “Literature that is not the ...view middle of the document...

He tries to reveal the underlying dual nature of the human mind. In the statement that Dr. Jekyll makes of his own illness, he claims to believe that “man is not truly one, but truly two” (Stevenson 55). This statement is very strong and representative in several ways. Stevenson does not literally imply that every person has a personality disorder; he refers to the innate tendency for humans to have a dual nature. Jekyll says that he has been “doomed to such a dreadful shipwreck” (Stevenson 55), showing that he does not like the way he feels when he becomes his alternate personality of Hyde. Similarly, we as human beings tend to be two faced in some aspects, and this is what Stevenson refers to beneath the literal meaning of a split personality disorder. Human nature is that we act differently among different people or even when faced with different situations. Many times, this dual nature is not recognized by the individual. This is why Stevenson implies that the duplicity of human nature is innate in a sense.
However, we also learn from experience as we get older, because we are not completely born with a dual nature, but we learn how to act in certain ways around different people and when placed in different situations. This duplicity of human nature is generally okay but not always positive. It can cause the pain of maintaining relationships, hurting others and being hurt. The reflection of this pain is what Solzhenitsyn refers to in his quote. Literature, such as this book, that reflects the pains of society, in this case also reflecting the social dangers of the dual nature of humans, is known as true literature, and not just a façade. The story reveals the importance of understanding this dual nature because it can help to prevent emotional harm to others and oneself. This is shown in the text when Utterson and Lanyon discuss how the two of them were such good friends with Jekyll, and that Jekyll was a very respectable individual. Utterson says that “few men could read the rolls of their life with less apprehension” (Stevenson 17), referring to Jekyll’s ability to have control of his life and mind. This control that Jekyll loses over himself represents the control that we as humans do not have over our dual nature. We unknowingly act two faced around different people, and this “doom and burden of our life is bound forever on man’s shoulders” (Stevenson 56). This statement by Jekyll is very true because this duplicate nature that humans possess will never change.
The strange case of Jekyll and Hyde reveals in several ways how the duplicity of human nature takes control of an individual’s mind and this is a clear warning of the dangers that Solzhenitsyn refers to in his quote about literature. It is a shock that Jekyll’s mental state took such a sharp turn towards deterioration. In his case, his personality disorder makes him lose complete control of his mind. However, Stevenson’s implication of the duality of...

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