Wednesday, June 5, 2019
An Exploration Of Victorian Society English Literature Essay
An Exploration Of Victorian Society English Litearned contribute averageture EssayFrom start to finish The nameless Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson portrays harsh contrasts entire and detestation, rich and poor, morality and immorality, love and repulsion and the focal ratio and patheticer classes. However it is only when Christian ethics (previously forgetful challenged by other religions or learning), the Victorian obsession with respectability, the class establishment and other stereotypical Victorian military postures argon explored with these contrasts that it is made clear how duplicitous the era was. The novella acts as an engaging geographic expedition into other Victorian attitudes, interests, timiditys and obsessions. These include fear of social unrest, disability discrimination, sexism, a desire for resolved endings in literature, a need for biblical references, and clashes between science and religion.The obsession with wearing an air of respectability (as Jekyll is said to hold) is one of the greater reasons why Jekyll finds joy in saltation between his two personalities. It is likely that he would indulge in passions his peers would not have approved of a mixture of heavy drinking and sex. He overly went to prostitutes, a life he found hard to reconcile with his imperious desire to carry his head high. This is undoubtedly alike the reason why really few members of the frown classes hold important roles in the story. In fact the only lower class character to properly romp in the novella is the head-servant, Poole. Much closer to his master (he is referred to as Dear Poole on one occasion), he has authority over the other servants and certainly is not the lowest of the low this is probably the main reason why Stevenson considered Poole fit for such a role as he plays. The way in which the characters dress themselves, furnish their homes and sing of one another is also evidence of this obsession. Jekyll s home wore a great air of wealth and comfort to such an extent as that Utterson was wont to come up to of it as the pleasantest room in London.The novella reveals a lot about the class system, the cause of m some(prenominal) social problems, and its iron-grip on every Victorian citizen. The top(prenominal) classes in the book are portrayed as being upright and respectable, living in grand abodes, the spoils of well-paid professions Jekyll is a doctor and Utterson a respected lawyer. We are also told that Jekyll was born to a large fortune, endowed besides with excellent parts and fond of the respect of the wise and good among his fellowmen. When young he had seemed headed for an worthy and distinguished future. The lower classes could not be portrayed more(prenominal) dissimilarly. Other than servants, the novella indicates they would be unemployed, criminals or prostitutes working in Sohos sex district. They either kick the bucket in small quarters in their masters houses or amongst slatternly passageways in the dismal quarter of Soho. In the Victorian era people grew up knowing which class they belonged to and, as this was usually defined by birth it provided great benefits for the rich (who stayed rich) but ca apply the poor to either lose faith in social mobility, or else, to revolt.The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde did not just illustrate the class systems divisions but can serve to strengthen it. It portrays Sir Danvers immediately before his remnant as an old but beautiful gentleman with white hair. This could merely be an attempt by Stevenson to heighten the murders tension but I feel this sign of goodness and purity through the character commanding the highest social position is an attempt to highlight the insolubility and inferiority of the lower classes to those above them.The lower classes feature little in the story, only ever appearing as vehicles through which Stevenson could move the plot forward, or working under the instruc tion of their employers. This means the pep pill classes were expected to return the decisions whilst the lower classes ran errands in ineffectual lives. In the book this is demonstrated by the strict rule for addressing members of another class. Addressing an employer Mr or Sir is expected. Upon the rarity that an employer should gentle their servant with a name it would be their surname as the Christian name was considered too familiar and affectionate. Being seen as such could be electronegative to reputations so a more usual form of address would be Hold your tongueA hierarchical construction manifested from fear of scandal is also evidenced. Were scandals to be directed at upper class personage they could mean a decimated reputation. Yet through a circle of mutual fear the upper classes were able to indulge in whatever secret pleasures they wished, such as those that Jekyll confesses to and Hyde commits. The fear of scandal is most strong on page 37, w here(predicate) Utte rson is worried the good name of another would be sucked down in the eddy of a scandal. On page 38 Uttersons butler discovers information labelling Jekyll as a murderer. Utterson urges Jekyll to make a clean breast of this in confidence and when the butlers master asks him to keep the matter quiet he calmly says I understand. Therefore the mutual fear and loyalty in this scandalous system is even stronger than moral duty. Once Jekyll perfects his potion he must work alone to protect his standing, he sets up a room with the most studious care in a separate house in Soho for Hyde to reside in and found a silent and unprincipled woman to keep house there. He even goes to the aloofness of familiarizing all his servants with Hyde and writing a will leaving everything to Hyde in the event of his expiry or disappearance. It is implicit that the lengths Jekyll takes would mirror other respected characters.The novella portrays a society divided into two it is not only Jekyll that is commi tted to a difficult duplicity of life all the rich and powerful live in ignorant luxury, ignoring the suffering lower classes. Stephensons work also shines light on the system that kept the upper classes illegitimate indulgences hidden.Fear of revolutionist ideology was strong amongst members of the upper class. To find evidence of such in this story, one must shoot into the ways in which the poor are neglected, for example in voting, health, rights and legal representation and how these factors could lead to a massive uprising (such as was seen in France). Members of lower classes are left almost unrepresented in our story, the many servants, that would have moved quietly within the house, are rarely observed, when they are they are whimpering quietly. The root word of them whimpering shows them as inferior and over-emotional. If not for the more gradual changes in opinion over the class systems role from this under-representation to a world where all classes show some breaker point of solubility within society Britain may have seen a revolution on the very scale many Victorians had feared.The Victorians had strong expectations of the content and plots of their eras literature. Stephenson abstains from direct descriptions of immorality, alternatively only alluding to the novels graphic scenes. They also expected resolved endings the righteous prevailing, the evil punished.Many of Hydes crimes are only vaguely alluded to, particularly sexual ones. Others, such as Sir Danvers murder, are described briefly and in pellucidly, only that Hyde was hailing down a storm of blows. To heighten the shock factor of each crime Stevenson instead describes at length the earlier tranquillity and through later mentioning that a purse and gold watch were found upon the victim, illustrating that this attacks motive was purely sadistic. This idea of sadism, an utter, deeply entrenched evil is important to the novellas message and Jekylls hypothesis that evil is not only wh en brought about by necessity such as a beggared boy turning to take pocketing but is more deep-rooted and harks back to the idea of original sin and that man is no different to any other beast. Jekyll, reflecting on mankind, All kind-hearted being are commingled out of good and evil.Perhaps the abstinence from graphic description is due to the fact that Stevensons wife destroyed the first draft for its explicit descriptions of sex, violence and references to homosexuality. Suggestions that Jekyll/Hyde were homosexual are so watered down that many disregard them Hyde always enters by the rear door. This dilution typifies the desire for morality and the disgust at graphically intense descriptions a point which, if further extrapolated, reveals the desire of the upper classes (at whom the novel was targeted) to ignore or hide the huge social problems of their nation.Victorian novels preponderantly are resolved. I personally find archetypal works in which those that exhibit qualitie s like perseverance, god-centeredness, humility, generosity and dignity always win out in the end and where virtue is rewarded whilst wrongdoers are punished disappointing because they are too idealized. This concept is clearer in many earlier novels where even the toils of the poor are rewarded. adept vivid example of this is Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte in which Jane falls desperately in love with and (by the books completion) marries Mr Rochester despite his blindness and frailty. At first the tale of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde seems to have strayed from this structure because Dr Jekyll does not manage to separate himself from the evil side of his nature. However the closure of the novel is more complex. Upon re-examination of the concluding chapters it seems to be the case that Jekyll destroyed Hyde along with himself the intend that is closing in on both of us has already crushed himVictorian literature is usually rife with examples of biblical references, the most prominent her e being I incline to Cains heresy. This refers to Genesis 49 which describes Cain murdering his brother Abel. God is said to have asked him where Abel was to which Cain said Am I my brothers keeper? Utterson simply re-phrases this to I let my brother go to the devil in his own way. The phrase has become synonymous with peoples unwillingness to accept responsibility for the welfare of their fellows and is used by Stephenson to advance the plot and broaden Uttersons character.The need for biblical allusion in literature is one component in the mechanism by which Stevenson sheds light on the struggle between science and religion. On one hand, we see religion reflected in words throughout the novel Poole uses the phrase I give you my volume word to demonstrate his solemnity to his observation of Jekyll and Hyde but this contrasts with the emerging science. It is worth remembering that many Victorians saw science as an atheistic concept, Lanyon calls Jekylls works scientific heresies in an almost oxymoronic juxtaposition (in an atheistic world there would be no God for science to yield heresies about).The era brought many improvements in science up to now some seemed to threaten the literal meaning of the Bible. Most simply found ways to re-interpret the Bible in the light of such discoveries with little slander to their faith. However people especially struggled with ideas set out in The Origin of Species because they seemed too direct an attack on religion. It said that all life evolved from more primitive forms. Darwins theory is referenced many times such as when Hyde is said to possess ape-like fury, he is also described as troglodytic and degenerate perchance concurrent with a hypothesis of reverse evolution into a more primitive form. People now felt they had to choose between the dangerous novel scientific theories and the more venerable option of religion. From the viewpoint of any man choosing the latter, Jekylls experiments would be considered meddl ing in Gods affairs and something only God should have encounter over.The structure of parts of the book, also, reflects a more scientific approach to situations which would before have been tackled with superstition and the words of the bible. On pages 41 and 63, this is demonstrated by sections of textual matter that take each event methodically, as if they were notes from an experiment. Hydes transformations are also listed like scientific observations.Chemistry is also in evidence, as an emerging science, not yet tested. To exploit the curiosity of his audience to the complex moral implications of modern science Stephenson chose Jekyll as the novellas protagonist and uses many words connected to Jekylls profession to add learning and mystery to the plot the glazed presses full of chemicals, a graduated glass and a red tincture and powders. Jekyll uses chemistry to transform into Hyde, and part of the reason Stevenson approximation this more feasible was that nobody had yet fully explored chemistrys possibilities. Perhaps, if he were to write Jekyll and Hyde, today, the means of transformation might be genetic engineering/quantum physics.Drug and alcoholic drink abuse are witnessed at horrendous levels. Utterson describes a gin palace a woman passing out for her morning glass indicates the low set of gin and how this ravaged many lives. Drugs are only hinted at although the convulsive action of Hydes jaws and gagging described by Lanyon is now recognized as a indication of cocaine abuse.For me the most powerful symbol of sciences advancements is in Jekylls transformations which symbolise both progress and devolution making them a cause of fear. It is worth remembering Pooles precipitant return to the comfortable reassurance of religion, with the words God grant there be nothing wrong.In his novella, Stevenson repeatedly tells of some unnameable deformity that makes Uttersons blood run cold. Words like dwarfish all tell a similarly negative story of Hydes countenance. Enfield describing Hyde to Utterson said simply There is something wrong with his appearance something displeasing, something honorable detestable. The present day sees disability viewed less critically than the era that saw the publication of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. It could be argued that Hyde is scary purely because of his tendency towards evil, but is this true? In my opinion Yes would be too shallow an answer. Stevenson plainly states such in the text evil had left on that body an imprint of deformity. Like so many fictional villains impairment and deformity contribute even to modern-day fearfulness of Hyde. Prejudice to the disabled/deformed is resultantly one heinous Victorian attitude that lingers still.Such prejudicial views were not just limited to the disabled women were also considered less valuable, sexism engrained in society. On page 55 Hyde is described as dolourous like a woman this succinctly illustrates how women were considered too frail. It was believed they lacked the cranial capacity in emotionally disturbing events. In The Last Night the cook was instantaneous out, Bless God Its Mr Utterson, the housemaid broke into hysterical whimpering, and then proceeded weeping loudly. Such instances were considered to demonstrate how women were unable to cope with complex or emotional situations. With such weak foundations in place, women were thought unsuitable for important jobs like government posts having said such, the head of the monarchy was a woman. However this did not result in any relaxation of the feminine ideal indeed only upper class women were not restricted to housework, and raising as many children as possible. This stereotypical idea of faintheartedness as opposed to intelligent thinking and decisions is also exemplified on page 30, after Sir Danvers murder at the horror of these sights and sounds, the maidservant fainted.Man is not truly one, but truly two. These words the conclusion to Jekylls life and research capture the essence of the entire novella and the stereotypical Victorian attitudes reflected in it most notably hypocrisy, from the division of the class system, other discriminatory bandings including sex and disability, and the division of faith between science and religion. So great were the contrasts in the novella that name evolved from Dr Jekyll Mr Hyde have become part of modern life. The phrase is used by newspapers to describe disturbing murderers with personalities not dissimilar to the characters or character, depending on how you look at it that are central to our story. As with the infamous Jack the Ripper (another affluent murderer) the stereotypically dark or primitive society that is too oft reflected by Victorian horror stories fails to fully explore the core the Jekyll in this instance a core of civility, respectability and prosperity. In this way the novella acts as an engaging, yet inaccurate exploration that only reinforces old stereotypes about Victorian society.