Mr. Hyde Essay, Research Paper
In the strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: Steveson used the architecture of Dr. Jekyll s house very intelligently. The house can be regarded to be parallel to Dr. Jekyll s double personality. Throughout the book, the house lends itself as a powerful prop, by which it is possible for Dr. Jekyll to use his house even when he is in the form of Mr. Hyde. The house, like Dr. Jekyll, has a dark side. On the front side of the house, it seems to be an elite, upper class, respectable home. However, the rest of the house is quite the opposite. As the book described it discolored wall on the upper; and bore in every feature the marks of prolonged and so did negligence. Therefore the back door could be used by Mr. Hyde, with very few suspecting Mr. Hyde of having any connection to Dr. Jekyll. Steveson fit the architecture of the house into the story cleverly. The house supports Dr. Jekyll s secret of being Mr. Hyde at times. The house symbolizes the double personality of its owner. Therefore Dr. Jekyll and his house have parallel characteristics.
We are introduced to the back door right at the beginning of the book. The door is said to be equipped with neither bell or knocker, was blistered and distained. Along with the introduction of the door is the introduction of Mr. Hyde. Mr. Hyde s appearance is described as something displeasing, something downright detestable. So right from the beginning, we are aware of Mr. Hyde s connection with this mysterious door. Mr. Enfield s story on page 2 gives a good understanding of the shady character of Mr. Hyde. A quote from the book that best describes this is The next thing was to get the money; and where do you think he carried us but to that place with the door? whipped out a key, went in , and presently came back with the matter of ten pounds in gold and a cheque for the balance on Coutts s, drawn payable to bearer, and signed with a name that I can t mention. But as the story progresses we learn that the house belongs to Dr. Jekyll. The fact that Dr. Jekyll is only seen in the front of the house, which is well furnished and respectable, brings about the contrasting features of the house. This is also a good time to note that this contradiction of the two sides of the house signifies that Dr. Jekyll is obviously hiding a very big secret, and that there is a big difference between his public and private identity. Mr. Vetterson not knowing what Mr. Hydes connection with Dr. Jekyll is, is also a very big clue to the fact that even when Dr. Jekyll entertains his friends at home, he only has a certain part of the house that he puts on display. These parts on display are mainly the hall, which was a pet fancy of his and which was which was supposed to be one of the pleasantest rooms in London; and the dining room. So, the part of the house that Dr. Jekyll liked to show off were large, low roofed, and comfortable; which is a contrast to what it seemed it may be if one saw the house from the back. Other then this, the house seems to be, more or less, private to Dr. Jekyll. As he was a doctor it was know that he did have a laboratory, which is not exposed till the very end of the book when Utterson and the butler break in to find a dead Mr. Hyde. It is very important to speculate on what Dr. Jekyll would have done if he didn t have the convenience of having the back of his house so rundown and unlike that of the front of the house. There probably would have been no way Dr. Jekyll could have made this distinction between Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. And no way he could have been able to keep Mr. Hyde a secret for as long as he did.
The importance of Dr. Jekyll keeping up his image of a respectable man, was more important in those times. London, and its society must have been very conscious of class and respectability. A secret of the nature of Dr. Jekyll would have created a scandal beyond belief in those times. This book portrays a very interesting insight into the double sides of human nature. Each person has a dark side, which is brought out in different ways. Some people bring out their violent side by playing sports, or watching violent movies. Some people find other means by which they can come around the darker side of their nature. But Steveson tries to show, through this novel is that each person has some secret identity, and that if their living environment is too closed they feel like breaking boundaries and becoming their fantasies, at the risk of what other people may think of them. Dr. Jekyll himself confessed this to Utterson in his letter after his suicide. He wrote I know myself, at the first breath of this new life, to be more wicked, tenfold more wicked, sold a slave to my original evil; and the thought, in that moment, braced and delighted me like wine. Steveson was trying to say in this novel, that Dr. Jekyll was a man, who had always followed the rules of society. He was a respectable man, and had never had any adventures. By becoming Mr. Hyde, with the help of his knowledge of science he was satisfying his evil side. But he could not altogether forget about society. Although Dr. Jekyll s reputation was still important to him, and he becomes a hypocrite in the process, he found a way to hide his hypocrisy and keep his reputation as it was. This is why he had to use his private and public identity the way he did. The house clearly caters to Dr. Jekyll s double personality. Steveson uses the house as a prop throughout the book. The story never would have worked if the house s architecture was not like it was. It is almost too much of a give-away that the house was made in this way. But no reader if the book would realize this unless, it was thought about more, or studied.
In conclusion, the house of Dr. Jekyll is much more important then one would think at the beginning of the book. If the architecture was not planned by Steveson the way it was, the story would not have been as good. Steveson used the house greatly to his advantage, and greatened the mystery of the novel.