Extract from chapter 10 “Let me but escape into my laboratory…..But this danger was easily eliminated from the future.”
1a) Explore how Stevenson presents the relationship between Jekyll and Hyde in this extract. Give examples from the extract to support your ideas (20 marks)
Stevenson presents Jekyll and Hyde’s relationship as being both conflicting and hypocritical. Jekyll states ‘Edward Hyde would pass away like a stain’ this simile suggests Jekyll’s confidence in control over Hyde. But a ‘stain’ suggests that it would never disappear, Stevenson uses this to prove that Jekyll has tried to wipe away the ‘stain’ of Hyde, causing conflict between them as Hyde seems to have power. The setting in which Hyde emerges is said to be ‘midnight’ which can come across quite cliché but can evoke a very ominous atmosphere. It also has a semantic field of darkness which expertly demonstrates Hyde’s dark intentions. This links to the theme of the gothic which runs through the novella as the mysterious ‘ape like’ Hyde roams London at ‘midnight.’ In turn, this creates conflict between the hypocrisy of the two because Hyde is the ‘stain’ that won’t go away and Jekyll continues to use him for pleasure even though he has done malevolent acts.
Although Hyde is made out to be very evil and conniving, Jekyll’s hypocrisy implies him to be just as evil, ‘the pleasure when I made haste to seek in my disguise’ thus exemplifying Stevenson’s opinion of the respectable Victorian gentleman and their hypocrisy in which he despised and so made the antagonist in the novella. The verb ‘disguise’ suggests the theme of duality of man as a ‘disguise’ can imply a façade covers the true person, which also shows the relationship between Jekyll and Hyde as being very hypocritical which also links to the idea of the respectable Victorian gentleman being one persona at day time and another at night time fulfilling his desires.
Later in the extract, Hyde is describe by Jekyll to be ‘malign and villainous.’ This phrase exemplifies Darwin’s theory of primitive man with a bestial nature, Jekyll most likely believed in this theory in which 19th Century Victorian society would have feared because they were very religious and this idea would startle the audience. This juxtaposes the modern reader’s perspective because in this society, we don’t have a strong belief in one religion within one country we are multicultural and therefore have a wider understanding of matters. By Jekyll accepting this deformity of Hyde it implies their relationship to be incongruous.
Lastly, the relationship between Jekyll and Hyde is presented as a ‘conscious slumber.’ The ‘conscious’ links to the concept presented in the 1800s and proclaimed that there are different aspects to man’s nature and psyche, the ID, Ego and superego. This idea of ‘conscious’ also links to Stevenson’s intentions as he present Jekyll with a dual nature, one who can’t control what he’s doing. The verb ‘slumber’ suggests that it is almost like a dream but a nightmare which creates an element of the gothic. The personification of the ‘conscious’ here, which is slumbering, also presents Jekyll and Hyde’s relationship as almost fantastical and dreamlike which demonstrates the hypocrisy of the trust as dreams and fantasies are all in our imagination.