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Stevenson uses many motifs in the novel, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. One of them that stands out the most is duality and opposites which are used throughout the novel in every chapter. Duality comes from the word “dual”, meaning it consists of two parts. In this case, they are opposite parts in which are later described in the novel by Stevenson. Good and evil are both opposite feelings or in some cases, an influence, usually meant against someone else. In the novel, Stevenson shows duality when Dr. Jekyll switches from person to person and demonstrates the difference between the two personalities. Good and evil are not different from each other, but are connected and established by each other.
Dr. Jekyll created a potion to express his feelings and bad expressions without feeling guilty so that he wouldn’t ruin his own reputation and make it look bad on his good name. The first example of duality happens when Mr. Hyde gives a check to the little girl’s family. Though everything is normal, Utterson realizes the check was signed by someone else, and not by just anyone else, it was Dr. Jekyll. Duality now occurs when a will from Dr. Jekyll is read. The doctor’s possessions are ‘to pass into the hands of his friend and benefactor Edward Hyde’ Utterson reads and is confused. This allows Mr. Hyde to actually ‘step into Dr. Jekyll’s shoes…free from any burden or obligation.’ which makes the reader think that they probably have a really close connection, but has never been noticed before. At least that is what Utterson thought, until he dreamed the night of the trampled girl once again and remembered the door. Utterson stays confused about their connection.
Another example of duality in this novel is when Mr. Guest compares the writing of one of Dr. Jekyll’s notes with one of Mr. Hyde’s. He comes to the conclusion that they are the exact same handwriting, but have a different slant. Utterson also came to the conclusion that Dr. Jekyll forged the letter for Mr. Hyde. He realizes that Mr. Hyde has access to Dr. Jekyll’s lab, where Jekyll spends most of his time and where he feels most natural. All of this leads to a bigger conclusion, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde are the same person just slanted in different directions morally. Jekyll slants towards good and Hyde slants toward evil.
In the chapter, The Incident at the Window, duality was shown at the end. One day Utterson and Enfield pass by Hyde’s door, which they now know that it leads to Jekyll’s laboratory. They decided to pay Dr. Jekyll a visit and with a surprise, found him at his window looking a little bit ill. They ask him if he was fine and wanted to have a conversation with him. They wanted to take a walk, but Jekyll didn’t want to go outside and they settle to stay where they were. As the conversation was going on Enfield and Utterson seem to have had seen something. Jekyll also noticed what was happening and rapidly closed the window and disappeared in plain sight. Stevenson gives the readers a glimpse of something and then closes the window, creating suspense.
Dr. Jekyll’s butler arrives at Utterson’s house and lets him know that something is not right with Jekyll. They arrive and the servants are all frightened and explain what was happening. It doesn’t sound like Jekyll’s voice and they even got a glimpse of who it was, and looked nothing like him. They came to the conclusion that it was Hyde and decide that they are going to break in if he doesn’t open the door. The mystery person insists not to, but they break in and find Hyde, who had poisoned himself and a letter. There was a new will, giving everything to Utterson. There was no Jekyll and trace of him whatsoever. There are many questions Stevenson created in this part of the novel. What happened to Jekyll? Why is Hyde there? Why did the will change? This cases dramatic tension into the subject of duality, Hyde’s evilness and poison and Jekyll’s goodness and disappearance.
It is at last proved that Henry Jekyll and Edward Hyde are the same person. Lanyon got a letter saying to retrieve stuff from Jekyll’s lab and someone would pick it up later that day. Someone arrived at Lanyon’s house and greeted himself as Edward Hyde. He got the liquid and asked Lanyon if he wanted to stay and watch. He decided to stay and Hyde drank the potion. He turns into Henry Jekyll. One can turn into the other with the potion. This information resolves the great deal of tension created all throughout Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
Dr. Jekyll gives his whole story up and says what and why everything happened in a letter. He started by saying that he has lived a dishonest life, living one way in public and another in private. He mentions that he created a potion that made a second body and personality. He tested the painful process and it worked. He created the reality of having the second self engaging first in a few undignified pleasures and later monstrous ones. One night he goes to sleep as Jekyll, but wakes up as Hyde. Hyde has become his natural state. The rest of the story comes to the biggest conclusion yet. Henry Jekyll being the good in duality and Edward hide being the evil side of his own body. Good and evil are not different from each other, but are connected and established by each other, the same way Jekyll and Hyde are connected in one body, but different personalities.
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