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Howw Ishyde Presented as a Fearful Outsider?

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Jekyll And Hyde:

In Jekyll and Hyde, Hyde is presented to be a frightening to a reader of the Victorian era. In this era, gothic tropes were prominent in many novels to portray a darker side of the possibilities of what can happen if science went too far. Stevenson presents Hyde to be a monster as a cause of a the unknown due to science, which makes the archetypal audience see Hyde as an outsider as he doesn’t conform to the Victorian gentleman that men were supposed to be both physically and psychologically.  

The first mention of Hyde is told by Mr Enfield to Mr Utterson. Hyde is described as “Some damned Juggernaut”, showing the Victorian audience that Hyde is somewhat of a monster. The noun “Juggernaut” shows Hyde to be somewhat overwhelming in his strength and sight. The adjective “Damned” gives connotations of hell which could imply that Hyde is like the devil incarnate. In the Victorian era a great divide occurred between science and religion which started in 1859 when Darwin published the ‘Theory of Evolution’ stating that Humans were derived from Apes. This brought out a spark about the validity of religion. This subsequently caused many people to question whether it was right to follow the teaching of God.  

Hyde is also described by Mr Enfield as “so ugly that it brought out the sweat on me like running.” We as the reader don’t get much information form Enfield about Hyde. Stevenson could’ve done this to suggest that Hyde is beyond comprehensibility; however, it could also imply that Hyde isn’t revealing which suggests that there could be some kind of secrete.  

Further into the play, we see Stevenson presents Mr Hyde as frightening character through the use of animalistic imagery. He ‘snarls’ when Utterson refers to their mutual friends, and he has a ‘hissing intake’ of breath. These animalist imagers all allude to danger and ‘hissing’ suggests serpent-like behaviour which is a biblical allusion to the original sin theory and a reminder of how Satan in the shape of the serpent misled man and led to man’s fall. The fact that the description also states that he has ‘Satan’s signature upon his face’ emphasises how he is presented to the reader as a scary and frightening character. Victorian readers, familiar with biblical images will recognise that the reference to Satan is the most intimidating and evil image possible and also signifies how horrible Hyde can be.

Hyde seems to struggle to control his emotions as Utterson observes a ‘flash of anger’ when her talks to him. He is accusative and lacks diplomacy when he bluntly implies that Utterson is lying. He comes across as abrupt and intimidating. He utters a ‘savage laugh’ and the use of ‘savage’ suggests that he is uncivilized and won’t think twice before he acts. There is a sense of underlying danger and tension. He is not as articulate as Utterson and is quite curt in the comments he makes. Hyde’s movements are described and he walks away from Utterson ‘pausing’ regularly suggesting that he is confused, perhaps also suspicious and is described to have an expression of’ mental perplexity’ and his actions are described as ‘troglodytic’ and intimidating. These gothic references to deformity and madness all contribute to the frightening presentation of Hyde.



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