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Stevenson’s “Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde” and Modern Events Essay

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Updated: Jan 26th, 2021

Stevenson’s Story and Modernity

Stevenson’s novella Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is one of the best illustrations of the so-called Victorian period. The novella touches upon the issue which was one of the most important questions at that time. The author considers the issues concerning human duality (Stevenson 1645). Stevenson suggests that people are characterized by two extremes (the rightful side and the dark side). More so, the renowned author suggests that it is impossible to get rid of the sinful alter-ego. Notably, these ideas come to the fore in contemporary society as well. People still try to understand if it is possible to tame the alter-ego. This people’s desire is revealed in contemporary culture. It is possible to encounter numerous paintings, poems, songs, and films which deal with duality.

Andrew Hadle’s ideas

For instance, the contemporary artist Andrew Hadle touches upon the issue in his painting White Columns (Handle). The artist depicts a specific column and its alter-ego. The first column is a set of alarms and three toys. This column appears as it is seen by society, i.e. in a way the objects are produced. The artist also reveals the alter-ego of the column. The alter-ego is somewhat distorted. There are no precise lines. This can articulate the following idea: the line between the good and the bad is also imperceptible. This artwork suggests that people living in society try to look better than they are in reality. The artist reveals the duality of human nature, though it is unclear whether the author is against this characteristic feature of human beings.

The ideas of Dantes

This idea is also revealed in contemporary literature. The young talented author Stephen A. Dantes dwells upon this theme in his book The Alter Ego. For example, his poem “Guilty until Proven Innocent” dwells upon the issues concerning duality (Dantes n.p.). It is not about mental illness. The author claims that often people should live in a society that is hostile to a person. It goes without saying that the person has to have two ‘faces’. One face is for society, whereas the other one is the real one. Therefore, Dantes claims that many people have to hide their alter-ego even if it is not sinful. Notably, the author does not suggest the way out. He does not claim that society should be changed. He does not say that the alter ego should be hidden. The author simply states the fact that this duality does exist.

The ideas of Clique Girlz

However, it is possible to encounter instances when authors articulate their position towards duality. Some claim that a person should listen to his/her alter ego, some think that a person should suppress it. For example, it is possible to find some exemplary works. Thus, the song “Alter Ego” by the band Clique Girlz dwells upon the issues concerning duality (dancer4life003). The girls sing that each of them has her alter-ego. The alter-ego usually acts in an impulsive and ‘naughty way’. Nonetheless, the girls still try not to listen to their alter egos, though sometimes it turns out to be impossible. This song illustrates the idea that every teenager has an alter ego. This alter-ego rebels against the conventions existing in society. Notably, the girls claim they often listen to their alter egos. They are not trying to suppress their alter egos in a way Dr. Jekyll tried to do it. Perhaps, later they will change their viewpoints and will try to stop listening to their alter egos.

The Incredible Hulk

Finally, there are plenty of works that deal with duality in cinematography. For instance, The Incredible Hulk is a film which tells the story of a scientist who tried to solve the problem of duality (Leterrier). In fact, this movie is very close to the novel by Stevenson. It is also about a scientist who tried to make human beings better. However, he failed just like his 19th-century counterpart. Nevertheless, contemporary people hope it is possible as the scientist remains alive. More so, the last scenes of the film make people understand that the scientist will solve the problem.

The ideas of contemporary people

On balance, the five works dwell upon the duality of human nature. Stevenson claims that it is impossible to get rid of the alter ego. He suggests that all attempts to suppress one’s alter ego are doomed. The contemporary people are preoccupied with the duality of human nature as well. Notably, all works mentioned in the present paper articulate a similar idea: duality is a fact. However, different people draw different conclusions. Some simply state that the duality does exist (e.g. Hadle and Dantes). Some think it is normal to let one’s alter ego free (e.g. teenagers like Clique Girlz). Finally, some people claim that it is a good idea to improve human nature, but it is essential to be very careful. Therefore, it is possible to state that contemporary people have not decided whether it is necessary to get rid of the alter ego, though the discussion of the problem is not over yet.

Works Cited

dancer4life003. “Alter Ego with Lyrics.” Video. YouTube. 2008. Web.

Dantes, Stephen. “Guilty until Proven Innocent.” stephendantes.net. poems, n.d. Web.

Hadle, Andrew. White Columns. 2011. Projects. Web.

Leterrier, Louis, dir. The Incredible Hulk. Marvel Studios, 2008. Film.

Stevenson, Robert Louis. “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.” The Norton Anthology of English Literature: The Victorian Age. Ed. Stephen Greenblatt. New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Company, 2006. 1643-1686. Print.

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IvyPanda. "Stevenson’s "Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde" and Modern Events." January 26, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/stevensons-strange-case-of-dr-jekyll-and-mr-hyde-and-modern-events/.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "Stevenson’s "Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde" and Modern Events." January 26, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/stevensons-strange-case-of-dr-jekyll-and-mr-hyde-and-modern-events/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'Stevenson’s "Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde" and Modern Events'. 26 January.

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