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Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, English Discussion Project -

Literary Analysis of Stevenson's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde for British Literature.

Brad DeRider

on 10 September 2011

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Transcript of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, English Discussion Project -

Summary Biography of Robert Louis Stephenson
(1850 – 1894) Critics I. J.A. Symonds,
Contemporary of Stevenson IV. John Sanford,
a Jungian interpretation v. In conclusion, parts of Dr. Jekyll could stand to be eliminated. iv. By having this ego that excluded these other characteristics, Dr. Jekyll created the monster Mr. Hyde. iii. Believed that by Dr. Jekyll created Mr. Hyde with his egocentrism, not wanting the qualities that Mr. Hyde later embodied to affect his reputation. ii. Explained the story in entirely Jungian concepts. Source: The Strange Trial of Mr. Hyde, John Sanford II. G.K. Chesterton,
Contemporary to story and author III. Elain Showalter,
Modern psychologist Early reviews considered the work to be "shilling shocker" Was wildly popular, then to now iv. Questions the stark realism depicted without an attempt to “make the best of it” iii. revolts against idea of “consciously yielding to evil”
ii. Symonds seems to think the allegory reflects scientific “cast” i. 'Louis, how had you the "ilia dura, ferro et rere triplici duriora," to write Dr. Jekyll? I know now what was meant when you were called a sprite.' Source: John Addington Symonds: A Biography, by J.A. Symonds i. Protests that Mr. Utterson is really a
Scottish lawyer and not an Englishmen,
on account of reading a book of dry
divininity on Sunday evening. iv. the realization of the botched experiment is his realization of his folly (and doom) iii. Compares the “pill” as “selling his soul” ii. Realizes that this story is a
confluence of Stevenson writing a
proverb and Stevenson's own
upbringing. i. Considered the story to be a reaction to perceived increased homosexual activity in society Source: Strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, by RLS, Martin A. Danahay iii. Uses a quote from Lang to show that RLS was homosexual, [of RLS] “possessed more than any man I have ever met, the power of making other men fall in love with him”
ii. Specifically, Victorian feelings on the matter Story of the Door
Mr. Richard Enfield and Mr. Utterson are out walking
Enfield tells Utterson a story behind the door they happen upon during their walk
The story is of a strange man , who is indescribable and instantly despised by all, tramples down a young girl.
The strange part of the story is that the man paid off the family using a checkbook belonging to Dr. Henry Jekyll.
Later we find out that this despised man is Mr. Edward Hyde.
Enfield’s Rule, “ the more it looks like Queer Street, the less I ask,” (p1783). Search for Mr. Hyde
Utterson is disturbed by Jekyll’s will.
Dr. Lanyon tells Utterson that Jekyll went “wrong in the mind”(p1784) in his studies
Utterson is consumed with the need to put a face to this detestable Hyde and stalks the door until he meets him
Utterson, worried, then goes in search of Jekyll
The mysterious door is the door to Jekyll’s Laboratory. Dr. Jekyll was Quite at Ease
Jekyll holds a dinner party, afterwards Utterson speaks to him
Jekyll reassures Utterson that the will is not made in blackmail and asks him to promise to take care of Hyde when he is gone.
“I am painfully situated, Utterson; my position is a very strange -- very strange one.. It is one of those affairs that cannot be mended by talking,” (p1789). The Carew Murder Case
A year as gone by, Hyde is seen by a maid, Bash in a gentlemen, killing him brutally with his cane.
The gentlemen is identified by Utterson as Sir Danvers Carew
Utterson is told it was Hyde and presented with half of the broken cane used to murder Carew
The cane is the same cane Utterson gave to Jekyll years before.
Utterson shows the inspector where Hyde lives but Hyde has disappeared. Incident of the Letter
Utterson goes to see Jekyll and is taken to the Laboratory
Jekyll tells Utterson that he is done with Hyde but has a problem
“ I cannot say that I care what becomes of Hyde; I am quite done with him,. I was thinking of my own character, which this hateful business has rather exposed,” (p1793)
The problem is a letter from Hyde which Jekyll says was handed in, but when checked Poole, the butler, he says that only the post came in.
Needing counsel, Utterson talks to his friend Mr. Guest.
When Guest compares the letter from Hyde and a dinner invitation from Jekyll he finds that the handwriting is identical except for a sloped style on Hyde’s letter. Remarkable Incident of Dr. Lanyon
Hyde is no where to be seen and Jekyll is reuniting with friends
Doing charities and becoming very religious.
After one such dinner party with Utterson, Lanyon Jekyll suddenly stops speaking or seeing anyone
Concerned, Utterson sees Lanyon.
Lanyon is deathly ill with only weeks to live from a terrible shock and refuses to speak of Jekyll
Utterson sees Jekyll and he tells him that the friendship is un-mendable and that he plans on becoming an extreme recluse
“ I have brought on myself a punishment and a danger that I cannot name. If I am chief of sinners, I am chief of suffers also,”(p1796).
Lanyon dies and leaves a letter for Utterson, to only be read if Jekyll dies or disappears Incident at the Window
Enfield and Utterson are out walking again and the come upon the same door, to the laboratory
Deciding to have a peek the see Jekyll through a window
Jekyll talks to them for a bit but suddenly his face is stuck with terror and he bolts the window.
Enfield and Utterson leave shaken The Last Night
Poole come to Utterson asking for help
The whole staff is terrified that Hyde as murdered Jekyll and is staying in the Laboratory
Deciding to break down the door confront this imposter they find a man like Hyde twisted and lying on the table with a bottle of poison in his hand, dead.
After they have searched and cannot find Jekyll alive or dead anywhere, Utterson finds a letter addressed to him.
It is a new will now naming Utterson the heir and a letter explaining everything. Dr. Lanyon’s Narrative
Utterson reads Lanyon’s letter
Jekyll had asked Lanyon to get a drawer full of his potions and meet a man with it
The man turns out to be Hyde
Lanyon then decided to watch what he believes is fanciful madness, drinking a potion.
Witnesses Hyde’s transformation into Jekyll, Horrified Lanyon becomes ill Henry Jekyll’s Full Statement
as a young man, Jekyll, held high ideals while tormented by desires he knew was not acceptable to indulge in.
So he repressed these impulses to the extreme and in so doing became Split
“ It was on the moral side, and in my own person, that I learned to recognize the through and primitive duality of man; I saw that, of the two natures that contended in the field of my consciousness, even if I could rightly be said to be either, it was only because I was radically both,”(p1809).
Jekyll though Hyde was smaller because before the potion, he exercised his moral self more.
But the potions failed, instead of freeing Jekyll of his impure desires he gave a body to pure evil, Hyde. Jekyll was left with the same contending of both natures.
Soon Hyde became stronger
So strong that if Jekyll went to sleep, he’d wake as Hyde
It soon took multiple potions to contain Hyde and let out Jekyll.
Realizing that the salt for the original potion was running out and that he could not obtain the same impurity there had been in that particular salt, Jekyll took the last of the potions, to write the new will, and letter, fighting to stay Jekyll until he could no longer.
Jekyll and Hyde die The Strange Case of
Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde Born to a prominent Presbyterian family in Edinburg, Scotland
Plagued by illness throughout his life
moved frequently seeking climates more conducive to his health
travels inspired many of his stories and the characters in them
he was most prolific during his bouts of illness Brief Summary Family and Early Life his father was a lighthouse engineer
supported his writing as a hobby
later insisted he get a degree in law
Alison Cunningham was his nurse
devout Calvinist
strongly influenced Stephenson's early religious life attended the University of Edinburg for engineering before committing to a writing career
agreed to pursue law as a way to please his parents and ensure some stability
though he qualified for the Scottish Bar, he never practiced law Schooling Fanny Vandergrift Osbourne
(1840 – 1914) previously married with three children
married Stephenson in 1880 from 1880 – 1887 Stephenson suffered considerably ill health, but produced his two most famous works, Treasure Island and Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
in 1888 he began his travels around the Pacific islands
in 1890 he settled in the Samoan islands where he spent the rest of his life
became involved in local politics and was highly revered by the Samoan people Later Years history themes summary biography critics The Duality of Human Nature
by Robert Louis Stevenson
1886 "I was in no sense a hypocrite; I was no more myself when I laid aside restraint and plunged into shame, than when I laboured, in the eye of day, at the furtherance of knowledge or the relief of sorrow and suffering."..."Man is not truly one, but truly two"
- Henry Jekyll, in his letter to Utterson (p. 1809) a modern example of the story's widespread influence and appeal "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Mouse" (Tom & Jerry) Some of Stevenson's other famous works The Importance of Appearances and Reputation EXAMPLE #1 - Mr. Utterson and Mr. Enfield's avoidance of gossip (p. 1783)
Everson: "I make it a rule of mine: the more it looks like Queer Street, the less I ask."
Utterson: "The fact is, if I do not ask you the name of the other party, it is because I know it already. You see, Richard, your tale has gone home. If you have been inexact on any point, you had better correct it." "I would think you might have warned me," returned the other with a touch of sullenness...Here is another lesson to say nothing...I am ashamed of my long tongue. Let us make a bargain never to refer to this again."
When Utterson suspects Jekyll is being blackmailed, he refrains from mentioning it to Enfield, but goes directly to Jekyll himself (p. 1788) EXAMPLE #2 - After Carew is murdered by Hyde, Utterson doesn't mention to the police Jekyll's relationship to Hyde (p. 1790-1792)

Jekyll explains that he did this even before Hyde was created:
"Hence it came about that I concealed my pleasures...I stood already committed to a profound duplicity of life" (p. 1809)

A critique of religion?

"Many men would have blazoned such irregularities as I was guilty of, but from the high goals that I had set before me, I regarded and hid them with an almost morbid sense of shame. It was thus rather the exacting nature of my aspirations... that made me what I was and, with even a deeper trench than in the majority of men...severed in me...good and evil..." (p. 1809) EXAMPLE #3 - Jekyll goes to great lengths to keep his creation, Hyde, concealed from his friends and servants Who is Edward Hyde, and what is the author trying to communicate by him? The Severity of Evil Hyde is indescribable by observers (Enfield, p. 1783)

Jekyll "cannot" mention all the evil Hyde committed

Horribly violent acts against the innocent

Strips people of self-control

Leads to death (Lanyon, Carew, Jekyll) (Stevenson was raised Christian and became agnostic) The Pseudo-Science of Physiognomy the belief that criminals can be identified by physical appearance
a common view during the 1800's
some might not have seen Hyde's appearance as merely symbolic ? A character created by Stevenson to make the statement that we are all instinctual animals at our core?
(But do animals delight in doing evil?) To criticize the hypocricy of London society? To remark on the nature of man? To criticize religion? "If you give evil an inch, it will take a mile" Queen Victoria ruled England most of the 19th century.
Technology was evolving at a quick speed.
Toward the end of the 19th century, people began to question the progress in technology and started to believe that the world was changing for the worst.

People's reputation was a big thing in determining who they were. If someone did a bad thing, they were easily shunned and were not a part of the group anymore.
This is a key factor in the story. Mr. Utterson is the only man that continues to associate himself with people that society does not accept. Many different workers, including dockworkers and gas workers go on strike.
Acts were passed to give more men the right to vote.
Gas fueled electricity became a common thing, even to the poorest people. (leading to... Lack of Communication) The Female Lack of female presence in the story (only 4 women or girls briefly included)

None of the prominent male characters (Utterson, Enfield, Lanyon, & Jekyll) described to have relationships with women; assumably bachelors

None of Jekyll's temptation and Hyde's pleasures are described as sexual relationships with women (Was Stevenson trying to avoid condemnation from the Victorian society in which he was writing?) (Modern critics raise the question of homosexuality.) Female character: weak, passive

EXAMPLE 1: Girl trampled by Hyde
EXAMPLE 2: Maid who wittnessed Carew's murder
EXAMPLE 3: Hyde's housekeeper
EXAMPLE 4: Servant-girl at Jekyll's house The Rational v. the Irrational Utterson - logical, dependable, honorable
...contrasted with...
Jekyll's supernatural transformation into Hyde

Magnifies the horrifying and shocking effect of the novel's conclusion because "the irrational" is viewed through the eyes of a very rational person

It was too much to bear for the reasonable mind of Lanyon.

Challenge of still making the story convincing
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