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Makayla L. Solada

Mr. Samuel Bundy

Honors English 12

25 January 2017

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Every human being has two sides of themselves, good and evil; searching for these two

sides can be lethal and regretful. In the novel The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Dr.

Jekyll is introduced as a handsome, well-known, wealthy doctor. He is represented as the good

side of our conscience. Conversely, Mr. Hyde, a gruesome, caitiff man is brought up in the novel

as evil. In the novel the reader finds out that these polar opposites are one being and feed off of

each other. He represented the characters to appear and act this way due to his bohemian

lifestyle, the Victorian morality, his favorite authors, and Sigmund Freuds different concepts.

Stevenson flouted convention, rejecting the hypocrisies of Calvinist Scotland, preferring a

bohemian lifestyle in France where he met his future wife, Fanny Osbourne, an American

divorcee, ten year his senior (Biography).

Sigmund Freud believed there were two drives in the human brain, the eros and the

thanatos. The eros is known as the living instinct and deals with survival including thirst, hunger,

pain, and the reproduction process for the human species.

Eros and Thanatos interact and one can turn into the other, such a flipping of

love and hate, crying and laughter. Eating preserves life but destroys that

which is eaten. Perhaps repetition is due to drives that are only partially

satisfied. It is important in early activities such as suckling and crying for

attention. Perhaps also it is an attempt to completely fulfil all needs. Or maybe


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when an action fails to fully satisfy, the resulting frustration and indignity

increases tension to the point where we seek the nearest potential gratification,

which is to attempt the act again. Freud's drives are often misunderstood. Eros

is seen as simple sexuality and hence as morally perverse, casting the human

as base and primitive. The death drive is also unacceptable as it opposes the

idea of the sanctity of life and can be seen as excusing or even encouraging

suicide. (Life and Death Drives)


Behaviors caused from eros are love, compassion, and kindness. The second drive is

named thanatos; this drive is nicknamed the death instinct strictly because this drive is devoted to

death and can make your behavior self-destructing. If Stevenson premeditated to make both

characters (good and evil) die within the novel, this quote from Freud could have persuaded his

decision.

Your thanatos drive gives off the curiosity to know what it is like to die but the power of

eros overcomes thanatos. Stevenson used both drives from the brain to create the strong

personalities in The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Dr. Jekyll is represented as the eros

drive because he is the light out of the two characters. Dr. Jekyll expresses acts of kindness

unlike Mr. Hyde. For example, Henry Jekyll is a doctor and doctors commit to assisting others

when they need it the most. Whether it is dehydration, starvation, mental issues, etc. Dr. Jekylls

job is to keep people and society intact just like eros. Stevenson created the life of the evil Mr.

Hyde with the help from thanatos. Mr. Hyde attempted to belittle Dr. Jekyll; Mr. Hyde desired to

divest oneself of Dr. Jekyll so he did become an entire evil human being.

Freuds concept of the id, ego, and superego can tie the way Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde act

towards one another. The id part of your human psyche is made up of the personality you're born

with. The id is the impulsive (and unconscious) part of our psyche which responds directly and
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immediately to the instincts (McLeod). Your ego has a whatever betters me, Im going to do it

mindset; how the people in your society interact with one another can also affect your ego. The

superego is typically demonstrated as the devil and angel on each side of your shoulders. They

demonstrate the superego like this because the superego is the moral and ethical side of us.

The superego consists of two systems: The conscience and the ideal self. The

conscience can punish the ego through causing feelings of guilt. For example, if

the ego gives in to the id's demands, the superego may make the person feel bad

through guilt. The ideal self (or ego-ideal) is an imaginary picture of how you

ought to be, and represents career aspirations, how to treat other people, and how

to behave as a member of society. Behavior which falls short of the ideal self may

be punished by the superego through guilt. The super-ego can also reward us

through the ideal self when we behave properly by making us feel proud.

(McLeod)

The egos job is to meet the needs of the id but also compromise with the superego part of

your psyche. The id, ego, and superego tie into the influence of the creation of Dr. Jekyll and

Edward Hyde because Mr. Hyde acts as the id. Edward has shown determination throughout the

novel by trying to overcome Dr. Jekylls good spirit. Each day Mr. Hyde becomes stronger and

stronger, resulting in the death of Dr. Jekyll and himself. After the novel reveals Dr. Jekyll has

died we see it is not Dr. Jekylls body lying on the floor, it is Mr. Hydes body. This scene exists

because Edward Hyde has finally accomplished what he has wanted to do; he murdered Dr.

Jekyll and has become entirely evil. Towards the beginning of the novel Dr. Jekyll had no idea

how vastly Mr. Hydes strength was building and how manipulative Mr. Hydes character was.
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Dr. Jekyll has underestimated his true powers from the beginning of his experimenting and that is

where the mistakes starting occurring.

The old gentleman took a step back, with the air of one very much surprised and a

trifle hurt; and at that Mr. Hyde broke out all bounds, and clubbed him to the earth.

And the next moment, with ape-like fury, he was trampling his victim under foot,

and hailing down a storm of blows under which the bones were audibly shattered

and the body jumped onto the roadway. (Stevenson 25)

Another major influence of the creation of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was a dream

that Stevenson had. In this dream he pictured two individual personalities morphing together and

becoming one being by compromising their beliefs. When Stevenson addressed this dream to his

wife she encouraged him to make the idea into something more horrifying and unrealistic. Thus,

he came up with the plot of The strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

Growing up, Stevenson spent a great deal of time with his nanny named Allison

Cunningham. Ms. Cunningham introduced Stevenson into the supernatural and opened his mind

up to new topics to research and discover. She told him many ghost stories and supernatural

tales which seem to resonate throughout Stevenson's later fiction (Barrett). Stevenson, like

many other authors, got his influences from his background and childhood memories. Growing

up in the Victorian Age, Stevenson quickly grew distressed of always following the perfectly laid

out rules and allocations, that he decided to go against his father's demands and drop out of law

school to become a writer. Due to this mile stone Stevenson could have created Dr. Jekyll as the

man his father wanted him to be and Mr. Hyde as the man he was inside. Dr. Jekyll was an

accomplished, intelligent, and factual man. He had all the characteristics his father would have
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wanted him to have. Alternatively, Edward Hyde was an unaccomplished, uneducated loner who

wanted to break out of his shell and express to the world that he was evil.

Stevenson was a devoted reader; He often would finish reading a novel and write his

opinions and ideas on the novel. As his reading skills progressed, he began writing his own ideas

down from his favorite authors and eventually thought of his own ideas to write his first novel,

Treasure Island.

As a young man he read Charles Dickens and William Makepeace Thackeray, as well as

the romantic works of Sir Walter Scott and the thrilling horror stories of Edgar Allen Poe and

Nathaniel Hawthorne. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was influenced by these (Stevenson XV)

Robert Louis Stevenson had several influences as to why he represented the two main

characters in his book, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. His childhood nanny,

famous childhood authors, Victorian Era, and Freuds psychoanalytic views all had their part of

chiming in to the creation of the personalities of these characters. Stevensons past thoughts and

memories allowed him to create a popular novel that has become a worldwide must read novel.

Works Cited

Barrett, Charlotte. Robert Louis Stevenson. Great Writers Inspire. Creative Commons, n.d.,

www.writersinspire.org. Accessed 4 Feb. 2017.

Biography. Two Writing Scotland. BBC, n.d., www.bbc.co.uk. Accessed 2 Feb. 2017.
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Life and Death Drives. Life and Death Drives. Changing Works 2017.

www.changingminds.org. Accessed 5 Feb. 2017.

McLeod, Saul. Id, Ego and Superego. Simply Psychology. Creative Commons, n.d.,

www.simplypsychology.org/psyche.html. Accessed 4 Feb. 2017.

Stevenson, Robert. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Pocket Books. 2005.