Duality of soul is one of the themes highlighted in Robert Louis Stevenson’s Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. This book tries to find out the strange nature of two individuals that is between Mr. Edward Hyde and his old pal Dr. Jekyll. This work is such that it brings out the split personality of a given person.
Robert Louis brings out two different personalities in Henry Jekyll with purely contradicting morality levels. The theme thus becomes what is now called Jekyll and Hyde which means an individual is extremely different when it comes to morality changing from one moral status to the other.
Just as Jekyll and Hyde brings the theme of dualism, the universe in which we dwell admits the fact that there exist two components. The two components are the component of good as well that component of evil. In spite of the two components being in opposition, they do coexist.
Dualism of the soul is what differentiates some religions especially those that believe in the existence of evil. For example during the creation of the earth, the two forces were in existence where evil was purported result from powerful forces who were bad or good depending on what brought good tidings to the community or vice versa.
The force of bad and good are always in conflict and the force of good finally overpowers that of evil. For instance Christianity a religion in which Stevenson’s belong, does not support the fact that people should have dual personalities. Never the less, the dual existence of the soul of human beings together with the body is clearly stipulated and outlined by the body.
In his novel Stevenson, brings out Dr. Henry Jekyll as a hero who understands his evil nature. Dr. Jekyll who is fed up with his dual nature of life those he posses finally succeeds in performing some experiments to himself in overcoming the complete part of evil in him that is the Mr. Hyde in order to have each of the personalities involving in a lifestyle that is independent of one another.
Henry Jekyll admits that on daily basis his intellectual as well as moral being is in agreement that a human being can not exists in one personality. Therefore, good does not need a justification from evil for its manifestation. Each of these entities exists on its own. Dr. Jekyll however notes that enjoyment of life results from the two existing solely, however towards the end, this is what his death and ruin.
This is as a result of Dr. Henry Jekyll’s knowledge of the danger posed by Mr. Hyde to the community and this leads him to bring ruin to himself. At this point it is quite clear that Robert Stevenson decides to abandon Christianity and embarks on dualism personality. The author does not only tend to consider the dualism in individuals but also societal dualism where the nobility that was distinguished and discreet had evil secretes hidden behind their mansions walls.
Much of these evil is conducted at night in London’s most poor districts which are considered a home for people who are evil. It is important noting Mr. Hide, good, who finds his way into Dr. Jekyll’s house and takes off via the hind door. This seems quite confusing for Mr. Hyde who is in charge of refinement and civilization.
Furthermore, dualism philosophy implies that the world consists of two distinct beings. For instance the old Greek differentiated the body and soul as dictum.
The body is perceived as the old Greek as the grave. Therefore evil was perceived as that soul which is in infinite state being trapped in a finite grave. For example, Plato is quite dualistic in expressing his sentiments on the fact that the soul and the body are independent.
Robert Stevenson develops a hero by use of fabrication which in his literature is compared with liquor intercedes in his mental faculties to comes up with Mr. Hyde. This person introduced by the author apart from being evil, but him also has countenance which indicates characteristics of Satanism and a troglodytic body.
In this case the psychological process is shown as that process which can be arbitrated by outward methods and this also means that any change in the mental process of an individual is correlated to variations in the body. The author tends to eschew the original dualism of the mind and the body to a non dual way of looking at the same thing.
The main issues outlined in this theme by Stevenson are in agreement with the concepts of death, life and instincts as indicated by Sigmund Freud as well as the structural model of the psyche.
Sigmund defined instincts as a concept based on the frontier amid Somatic and Psyche. It is the mental representation of the stimuli that connects the mind. The characters in Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde posses the characteristics outlined in structural theory of the psyche.
For instance Hyde can easily be seen as id looking for gratification her as Jekyll is the ego. Hyde is out for gratification where as Jekyll is rational and conscious full of social principles. He battles with id’s demands which emanates from Hyde and superego which are implicated by the Victorian community morals which prides itself in being refined and good. Mr. Hyde in this case lacks morals which require abiding in.
Dr. Henry Jekyll is overcome by his impulses which lead him to commit suicide only after a short time. For instance, instead of Jekyll letting go off Mr. Hyde having realized that the two must co-exist he decides to terminate his life. By baptizing Edward Hyde as troglodyte, the author looks at evolution theories by looking at Hyde as uncivilized, savage that is poorly evolved.
In providing Dr. Jekyll’s background in the novel it is important to understand that the author shows Jekyll’s respectful character as well as honored conduct that is exemplary to the world when it is contrasted with some irregularities hidden under shame.
Jekyll understand his dual personality and this is what leads him into being a primitive being. This is how Jekyll realized that he is not one but two people living in one body. Dr. Jekyll understood the need of hiding the shameful personality in him as well as the need to separate the two personalities.
According to duality of personalities in this novel, it is clear that man constitutes only of a small part of evil and a large portion is covered by good. Dr. Jekyll connotes this when he states that an individual will be remembered by a mere polity of independent denizens.
Both good and bad including most various qualities constitute a whole man. In his experiment Henry Jekyll manages to disconnect the two entities. After discovering the method of separation and taking it in he is transformed in to a much younger person despite of him understanding that he was much wicked than he thought.
Following his transformation, Jekyll realized the loss in stature. He had configured to the evil part of his nature that is the smallest part of a person as he put it.
He was not as developed as the good side of a person. This does not concur with most of the people who purport that the proportion of the evil and good in a given individual is one to one. The Mr. Hyde, which is the smallest part of man, is important as it makes a human being to be whole in soul, body and spirit.
This is seen clearly brought out when evil observes himself in the mirror and observes himself as an original human being. This is because Jekyll looks at Hyde as part and parcel of himself. Never the less, each person coming across Hyde is terrorized by his evil nature. Jekyll on the other hand finds Hyde to be an errant character who deserves punishment.
In the psyche of Victorians, Sex and evil were the same. Any one involving himself in any illicit sex was considered as evil. Since Hyde as an individual was only convicted with the murder of Danvers. No any other evil was ever associated with him hence; most of the vulgar things which he got invoked into were attributed to sexuality.
These are things which could not be associated with respectable scientists yet these were the activities which Dr. Jekyll was heavily involved in during his early years in life and which he could silently enjoy whilst the dignified Jekyll safe and hidden.
Even following Danvers murder, Jekyll takes a vow to forgo liberty as well as comparative youth and many other youthful things he enjoyed (Halt 6). Never the less, the pleasure he enjoyed in the form of Hyde is what makes him irresistible in putting aside this part of him. This makes him to gain pleasure in the activities he performs with his dual personality.
Hyde grows in stature as a result of Jekyll’s pleasure in the form of Hyde leading to his increase in ascendancy as opposed to Jekyll. The fact that Henry Jekyll did not fail to commit the dwelling based in Soho to Hyde nor did he destroy the clothes belonging to Hyde is a clear indication that the vow he had made was hypocritical.
Despite the fact that Henry Jekyll never tried to lead a life of severity, the good part in him was in constant war in need of freedom. When Jekyll is peacefully relaxing (Stevenson 45), he realizes Hyde’s symptoms emerging within him without the concoction. The appearance of Hyde is as a result of Jekyll’s denial and suppression and thus subconscious desires him.
This is corresponds with Jekyll’s desire of Hyde thus he is obliged by his feelings not to deny Hyde of anything he wants. The fact that Jekyll is such a respectable man in the society he tries to hide Hyde his feelings to himself and finds a way of overcoming his dualism.
In conclusion, Dualism of personalities is what makes Jekyll hate himself and tries as hard as possible to overcome this nature. So to speak, his possessing the attributes of both good and bad makes it difficult for him to just have one component of character. The nature of human beings is such that mankind exists in dualism and that is why most of the authors confirm that both good and evil co-exist.
Elwin, Leon. The Strange Case of Robert Louis Stevenson. London: Macdonald, 1950.
Halt, Robinson. “Dualism.” Warfield, Stitch. The Black guide to Philosophy of Mind. Oxford: Blackwell, 2003. 85-101.
Rieber, Watson. “The duality of the brain and the multiplicity of Minds: Can you have both ways ?” Hist Psychiatry (2002): 3-17.
Stevenson, Robert. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. New York: Bantam Books, 1981.