Instructor name Date Dr. Jekyll’s Transformation In Robert Louis Stevenson's story The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde the main character is a divided personality that eventually transforms completely into something else…
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His primary personality is characterized by refinement, curiosity, and altruism, all of which he loses by the end of the story as he transforms into Mr. Hyde. One of the most characteristic traits of Dr. Jekyll is his refinement. The first actual appearance by Dr. Jekyll is during an elegant dinner party he hosts for his friends. He is well-groomed, described as a "large, well-made, smooth-faced man of fifty, with something of a stylish cast perhaps, but every mark of capacity and kindness" (Ch. 3). Jekyll is clearly very well-versed in the proper modes of social behavior within polite society, able to attract reputable men to his table and aware of expectations of justice. However, when he is trapped within his Hyde alter-ego, he is a small, ugly man - "not like a man; it was like some damned Juggernaut" (Ch.1). Hyde not only has few cares for the conventions of polite society, but also demonstrates very little intelligent care for his own welfare in terms of covering his own tracks. While he's willing enough to pay restitution upon his first appearance, he becomes progressively worse as he gains greater control. Dr. Jekyll's curiosity, marked by his intelligence and his position as a scientist, is perhaps what leads him most into trouble as he deviates from safe scientific practice. Jekyll's position as a scientist is made clear in the conversation Mr. Utterson has with Dr. Lanyon. Commenting on the reason he and Jekyll are no longer friends, Lanyon exclaims, "such unscientific balderdash ... would have estranged Damon and Pythias" (Ch. 2), revealing that their differences were of a scientific nature at the same time that it reveals Dr. Jekyll had strayed from accepted practice. His intelligence is also attested to by the company he keeps as five or six "intelligent, reputable men" often join him for dinner. However, Hyde is seen to be little more than a nearly destitute reprobate first as he tramples a child and later when he murders an elderly gentleman he passes in the night. While this is also unorthodox behavior, it is markedly different from Dr. Jekyll. Although Dr. Jekyll realizes he has released something primal in himself, he remains concerned throughout the book that he is able to control it until he finally gives in to its control. That he feels responsible and in control of Hyde is made clear when he tells Utterson, "the moment I choose, I can be rid of Mr. Hyde. I give you my hand upon that" (Ch. 3). Although Dr. Jekyll feels no guilt or involvement in the trampling of the little girl, he is highly shaken by Hyde's actions in murdering Mr. Carew. His altruistic nature is revealed as he tells Utterson, "I swear to God I will never set eyes on him again. I bind my honour to you that I am done with him in this world. It is all at an end" (Ch. 5). Dr. Jekyll remains concerned about his own reputation up until he realizes he can no longer maintain control over Hyde. It is perhaps the very last goodness in the man that causes Hyde to commit suicide within the lab, thus protecting society from his unrestrained behavior. As the story progresses, the character traits of Dr. Jekyll transforms into the character of Mr. Hyde. He goes from being a refined, intelligent, altruistic individual to a base, unconcerned, antisocial monster as he moves through this transition. Although he fights it, in the end, Dr. Jekyll is swallowed by Mr. Hyde, but leaves enough of his own goodness within Hyde to cause the latter
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This essay discusses that the split personality in the Jekyll-Hyde relationship is a portrayal of the existence of both good and evil in a single individual. The character strives to maintain a dignified relationship with others as Jekyll. The introduction of both Jekyll and Hyde shows the ability of people to balance between good and evil.
4 Pages(1000 words)Essay
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