Victorian Period, Essay Example
Explore How Victorian Period Morality in England is Reflected in the Duality of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
The Victorian period is characterized by moral values, honesty, perfectionism, sexual proprietary, duty, charity, responsibility, and reputation. Commitment and accountability were the values that contributed to economic development and innovation in the Victorian era. In the Victorian period, people worked towards maintaining a good reputation, which led them to hide their evil and wrong personalities to be viewed as upright people. The Victorian period morality reflects Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’s duality when Dr. Jekyll reveals his hidden, selfish, and evil persona, Mr. Hyde. Dr. Jekyll hid this persona because he was trying to maintain a good personality.
Ways in Victorian Period Morality is Reflected in the Duality of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Industrial development and innovation characterized the Victorian period. There was an industrial revolution during the Victorian era. This moral value is illustrated when Dr. Jekyll focuses on his scientific development of creating another persona, Mr. Hyde, when he discovers that human beings have a good and bad side. Dr. Jekyll wanted to research that theory. He was persistent in achieving his goals despite his friend Dr. Lanyon not supporting his work and calling it “Unscientific balderdash” (Stevenson); this only shows that Dr. Lanyon does not believe in Dr. Jekyll’s scientific experiments. Dr. Jekyll does not care about losing his great friends in the way of achieving his scientific experiments. The Victorian molarity period was so much into a reputation and social perfection. People maintained good personalities and perfect images to appease others. In this period, people hid their characters and would not talk about anything that would destroy their self-image. People in the Victorian era avoided these conversations to cover imperfections in society. Issues such as domestic violence, torture, infidelity, or rape could not be discussed because people wanted to protect their community image.
An example is in the strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, where Utterson gets to know about Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’s duality, and instead of telling his friends, he chose to protect Dr. Jekyll’s reputation. Utterson represents the Victorians who never engaged in distasteful conversations to maintain a lovable reputation. The Victorian era did not support anything that would sabotage its reputation, creating an image of perfection(Valarie 2).
In the novel, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Dr. Jekyll shows how concerned he is about maintaining a perfect impression. He protected his reputation by hiding his evil side is Mr. Hyde. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’s duality is a reprehensible situation to talk about in public; hence, Dr. Lanyon did not speak to anyone about what he saw caused him to die in shock.
The Victorian era was branded with high moral values. These high moral values led to England’s success, and people from other countries envied England. High ethical standards made England a respectable and well-known state. This period fashioned people to adhere to the standards and values without acknowledging what they stood by. People could hide different personalities to follow high moral values. Stevenson uses Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’s duality to show the Victorian period where people had other characters, which the society ignored due to the high moral values set to be followed.
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’s duality portrays the character of the Victorian period of division in class. Victoria’s period was based on social status differences between the elite and the low level. The elite received better housing, education, food, and employment when the low class got poor housing, low-class education, and working places. Dr. Jekyll is a remarkable scientist born in a great family with a large inheritance and a nature to work hard. He received an excellent education, which earned him wealth and a good reputation. In contrast, Mr. Hyde is a low, violent, and uneducated criminal who lives in an impoverished area that is messy at the doorway.
The Victorians were fascinated with progress. Whether going to school or moving a step up to join the middle-class, the Victorians supported every progress of their friends, families, industries, and economies. Tracking progress was significant in England for industrial and economic development. Dr. Jekyll was fascinated with progress from scientific research of a good and evil theory to creating a drug that would divide the two personalities.
Dr. Jekyll is compared to Charles Darwin in the Victorian period. In 1859 Charles Darwin released a book uncovering the evolution of man. The Victorians were against it because it instilled doubt of whether God created the world and everything in it in seven days. Victorians believed that Charles Darwin was playing God’s role in knowing how creation took place. The novel Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Stevenson shows the failure of scientific developments. When Dr. Jekyll fails to find a drug that can separate both good and evil personalities. Dr. Jekyll was playing “God’s role.” By trying to create a drug that would separate two personalities. His failures are reflected in Charles Darwin’s failures.
The Victorian molarity period was characterized by duty, commitment, and competence. People had duties at work and responsibilities at home to answer; this made people in the Victorian era very hard work and productive, impacting England’s economic and industrial development at that time. This morality is shown in Dr. Jekyll when he decides to work in his laboratory to achieve his ambitions of finding a medicine that could separate both his good and evil personalities.
Dr. Jekyll’s laboratory location supports the Victorian moral values of hiding unpleasant things to create a nice image. The laboratory of Dr. Jekyll is unpleasant and separated from the main house with a far reach. To locate it, one would have to pass through the kitchens in the main house’s basement. The location of Dr. Jekyll’s lab is an indication of how unlikeable it was. Stevenson describes Dr. Jekyll’s house as ” a great air of wealth and comfort” and his laboratory having ” a decaying facade and air of neglect.”
Stevenson tries to explain how people in the Victorian period hide their unpleasant personalities. The differences between the house and the lab show the good and bad sides of Victorians. Dr. Jekyll hides his laboratory from people while also inviting people to his house for dinner parties. This a clear illustration of how people in the Victorian Era suppressed their bad sides while also seeking validation and a good reputation from their presentable personalities.
Although the Victorian Period was based on truthfulness, the duality of personalities in the society caused deceit. Victorians fear the impact of duality in a person; one of them is deceit. Stevenson tries to show the loophole of the Victorian molarity period. The duality of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde makes Dr. Jekyll deceitful to his friends and society. The primary incidence of lies is when Dr. Jekyll hides his dark and evil side in Mr. Hyde(Tarr).
Another incidence of lies is when Dr. Jekyll tells Utterson that he had encountered Mr. Hyde, “I have a great interest in poor Hyde.” “I know you have seen him”(Stevenson). Dr. Jekyll shows interest in knowing Mr. Hyde and claims that he has met him, but he is Mr. Hyde. Dr. Jekyll also shows deceit when he claims to lose all ties with Mr. Hyde, but eventually, Mr. Hyde takes control over Jekyll.
Deceit is also illustrated in the life of Mr. Hyde. The dismal of Soho is an unsafe area which was a home for the homeless and abandoned children. It transpired to also be Mr. Hyde’s residence. When Utterson and the police walked into the room, they were shocked to see expensive items such as a closet filled with wine, fancy carpets, and pictures on the wall. The dismal of Soho was an area filled with poverty and was the home for the working class. Utterson was shocked to see that such a room with luxurious items existed in an area filled with poverty-stricken people. Dr. Jekyll’s deceit about being Mr. Hyde is illustrated when Dr. Lanyon knows the truth about the duality(Stevenson).
The Victorian period was against the belief of duality in human nature. This causes Dr. Jekyll to hide his dualities and release them in Mr. Hyde. Mr. Hyde liberates all the evil desires without Dr. Jekyll being accountable for it. Mr. Hyde acts upon all the dark desires that he had earlier hid in Dr. Jekyll for him to be part of a reputable society. The Victorian molarity period made Dr. Jekyll satisfy society by obeying all its moral codes(BBC).
When Dr. Jekyll hides his personality for long, his darker side grows bigger and out of control. Dr. Jekyll’s idea of creating a drug that separates his two personalities is a critique of how the Victorians hide their bad side with the lack of knowledge that both personalities existed in a person. Dr. Jekyll’s intention of suppressing and controlling his dark and evil side failed, and Mr. Hyde took control over him(Spark notes).
The Victorian molarity period believed in charity. People in this era were kindly giving back to the needy and poor. Dr. Jekyll portrayed a kind and charitable side when Mr. Hyde was not present. He would devote his time to charity events and interacting with his friends by holding dinner parties at his house. This was evident when Utterson noticed a positive impact on Dr. Jekyll’s health when there was no sign of Mr. Hyde. Stevenson portrays the good side of the Victorian period in Dr. Jekyll’s devotion to charity. Despite his dark and evil personality, Dr. Jekyll shows that he is still kind to others in need.
Stevenson shows how the Victorian period’s fear of judgment made people put their evil and ugly side to discretion to avoid judgment. Dr. Jekyll knew that if he chose to show his dark side to people, society would remember him for his bad personality forgetting all his work to maintain a respectable reputation. The fear of judgment made him not to disclose his secret to anyone before he died. Dr. Jekyll knew the consequences of releasing his dark desires in Dr. Jekyll, therefore, creating Mr. Hyde, who society did not know as a respectable person; instead, the society deemed Mr. Hyde as a poor, ugly and dangerous person full of evil. Dr. Jekyll fears getting judgments from his close friends, such as Dr. Lanyon and Utterson.
The duality of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a clear picture of the Victorian period. People get to understand how reputation in that Era affects the life desires of Dr. Jekyll. The duality of these two personalities helps people comprehend which side of someone’s personality was to be hidden for one to maintain a positive image; in the novel, the strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, people get a clear picture of how Victoria period was against grape viners and rumor mongers. Finally, people understand moral values such as charity, duty, honesty, and responsibility in the novel.
BBC. Bitesize, Duality of Human Nature.web Retrieved from https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/guides/z22x6sg/revision/3#:~:text=Stevenson%20writes%20about%20the%20duality,good%20and%20evil%20within%20them.&text=This%20side%20becomes%20active%20through,acts%20of%20violence%20against%20others.
CliffNotes.Dr. Jekyll, and Mr. Hyde.Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.Retrieved from: https://www.cliffsnotes.com/literature/d/dr-jekyll-and-mr-hyde/character-analysis/dr-henry-harry-jekyll
Mack, Valerie. Reputation and Social Perfection: The Social Creation of Mr. Hyde.Bloomington: Illinois Wesleyan University,2012.Print. Available from: http://digitalcommons.iwu.edu/gateway/2
Spark notes. Dr.Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.Retrieved from: https://www.sparknotes.com/lit/jekyll/character/dr-jekyll–mr-hyde/
Stevenson, Louis. Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. London: Longman,1886.Print https://www.sparknotes.com/lit/jekyll/character/dr-jekyll–mr-hyde/
Tarr, Clayton. Victoria Repression & Molarity in Dr.Jekyll & Mr. Hyde.Retrieved from: https://study.com/academy/lesson/victorian-repression-morality-in-dr-jekyll-mr-hyde.html
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