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Is Doctor Jekyll A Tragic Hero?

725 words - 3 pages

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: is Jekyll a tragic hero?

Dr. Jekyll is certainly one of the most complex and layered characters in the novel, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, by Robert Louis Stevenson. His character can be interpreted in many ways. In order to describe Jekyll as a tragic hero, one first must decide what a tragic hero is.
A tragic hero is someone who was born into wealth or nobility. Also the character must be someone of great respect and admiration to fall down the social ladder. They are responsible for their own fate and suffer with a flaw which will no doubt lead to their demise. This flaw will doom the character to make a serious misjudgement. This character must also inevitably ...view middle of the document...

Utterson regarding Lanyon’s relationship with Jekyll and in other parts of the novel.
Jekyll had always had an interest in the duality of character. He believed that there were two parts to the human soul: good and evil. He is infatuated with “man’s dual nature”. His experimentation in this matter leads to his downfall. He proves his long term suspicions that “man is not truly one, but truly two”. He is driven by the ambition of proving his theory and rejects the voice of reason.
Jekyll makes some major errors of judgement through out the course of the novel. His first major mistake was in trying the potion in the first place. This was made worse by Jekyll continuing to consume the potion. This mistake was irreversible as the more frequently Hyde was let out the more powerful he became and Hyde eventually took over.
Jekyll makes his worst mistake in the third chapter, ‘Jekyll was quite at ease’, when Jekyll says to Utterson arrogantly “The moment I choose, I can be rid of Mr. Hyde”. Jekyll underestimates the power of Hyde and this surely leads to his downfall.
Jekyll makes the...

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