The theme of animality holds religious undertones. Religious hypocrisy
stems from the Christian Evangelicalism branch, which taught that sin was
natural occurring, exemplified through Adam and Eve sinning in the Garden of
Eden. The desire for sin is presented as uncontrollable like the animality that
is breaking ‘out of all bounds'(21). Stevenson employs Miltonic imagery such as
‘pall…dark'(22) to foreshadow death. Hyde is created to rid Jekyll of his ‘extraneous
evil'(58) as he describes his animalistic side as ‘the doom and burden of
life'(59). By referring to Hyde as a ‘juggernaut'(3), the destructive
perspective of Jekyll is exposed. Anti-Christian lexis desecrates the Lord’s
name ‘for God’s sake'(44) emphasising the failing religion symptomatic of the
time. Hyde is the purely satanic version of Jekyll who writes ‘blasphemies'(73)
on religious texts in ‘Satan’s signature'(14). The parallel between Hyde and
Satan highlights the extremity of the savage personality. Hyde is depicted
‘like Satan'(4) as he ‘calmly'(3) tramples the young girl suggesting the ease
that animalistic heights of violence are reached.

 

A supernatural paradox is drawn between Hyde and Mary Shelley’s
‘Frankenstein’. The duality of Stevenson’s protagonist offers an
alternative to the manifested beast, as Hyde is born from repression. ‘The
brute that slept within'(72)- Hyde and the metaphor ‘let it sleep'(18) suggests
that something is about to be awoken in a man who ‘is not truly one but
two'(58) signifying the animal expression. Further references are conveyed as
Jekyll states that Hyde is ‘more than a father’s interest, a son’s
indifference'(66) therefore suggesting that Hyde’s proximity is like a son,
similar to the father-son relationship with Dr Frankenstein. Shelley’s gothic
monster of the imagination is compared to the ‘devil'(1) of Hyde displaying
man’s mental inhibitions. Stevenson adapted Frankenstein into a creation of
science that inhabits the oppressive aspects of humanity. The fear is haunting
because the elements of animality are presented as lingering within everyone
thus intensifying the horror. The idea that the monster evolved from the beast
within, portrays a more tangible animal. “Jekyll grew pale to the lips… a
blackness about his eyes”(18), the evil emphasises that the transformation is
consuming as the psychological infection causes him to appear ‘ghost’-like(15).

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The setting heightens animalistic terror. The sinister lighting typical
of the gothic genre creates mystery with the ominous ambience harnessed by the
‘first fog of the season'(22). Pathetic fallacy exaggerates the animalistic
environment. The wind is presented as ‘continually charging embattled
vapours'(22), whilst the fog like ‘a great chocolate pall lowered over
heaven'(22). Natural imagery depicts suffocation, which is symbolic for the
repression of animal desires. Fog connotes the idea of secrecy and distortion
therefore suggesting that the industrial London setting is reflective of the animalistic
contamination within Jekyll. The contrasting cityscapes propose a duality to
London between modernity and poverty. ‘Looks like a Queer Street'(6) echoes the
Cleveland Street scandal with the discovery of homosexual behaviours that were
engaged by the upper class, which were seen as highly animalistic and
unnatural. The ‘fogged city moon'(11) holds parallels to Frankenstein. Lunar
accentuates a link to lunacy, and the full moon ideology holds supernatural
connotations where the monster within Jekyll is released by the moon.
Furthermore, the spotlight from the ‘pale moon'(37) illuminates the truth that
will be exposed in the city of a ‘nightmare'(22). The locked door is a metaphor
for Victorian desires as it represents the secrecy within. With ‘neither bell
nor knocker'(2), the door depicts hidden identities and the difficulty to
expose the contained animality of human nature. By breaking down the door in
the peripeteia, it symbolically shatters the wall blocking the truth of
humanity. Symbolism of Jekyll’s locked door connotes notions of a barrier from
the truth of ‘man’s dual nature'(57), when Utterson and Poole destroy the door,
they catch a glimpse into their darker nature. Jekyll’s house has two sides,
each microcosmically representing the personalities of Jekyll and Hyde. The
front has a ‘great air of wealth and comfort'(14) significant of Jekyll’s
appearance, in juxtaposition, the clandestine back door is ‘blistered and
distained'(2) conveying contamination and disease on the physical appearance
like Hyde’s effect on Jekyll:- “he broke out in a great flame of anger”(21). The
two sides that form the same property foreshadow the single identity. The
chimney was ‘generally smoky'(6) supporting the clouded vision from truth as a
distortion symbol. The setting of the room is claustrophobic and prison-like
suggesting the caging of an animal – ‘three dusty windows barred’ and ‘the
floor was strewn with crates and littered with straw'(25) emphasises an
animal habitat suggesting the process of transformation into Hyde is
encompassing.

 

Duality is a salient motif poignantly harnessed by the symbols
throughout to heighten animality. Dual identity is developed to criticise
society in a moral examination. Jekyll, the respectable persona, suppresses
immoral desires that are rejected by the harsh societal regulations. The ‘stick
with which the deed had been done’ was in half, after Sir Danvers was ‘clubbed
to the earth’ and ‘trampled under the foot… under which the bones were audibly
shattered'(21). The irony of the broken stick emphasises the theme of duality
in the animalistic plot. The split accentuates that the animal will break the
order and overcome the moral figure in the culminating fight between good and
evil. The cane weakening to the point of snapping suggests that the positive
side of Jekyll is also weakening, hence his need for the cane as support in the
struggle against his internal contamination that is disabling him. By the cane
snapping during Hyde’s savage attack, Stevenson presents that Jekyll no longer
has support or control over the inevitable transformation into Hyde. Jekyll
expresses that he saw “the two natures that contended in the field of
consciousness… I could rightly be said to be either… because I was radically
both”(58), thus admitting that Jekyll has acknowledged the merging of his
personalities. Jekyll becomes more erratic with plot development because he is
failing to conceal Hyde through his ‘transcendental'(55) experiments. The
depiction of duality consequently fuels the animality to inspire pathos for
Jekyll’s fictitious reputation as he feels a ‘morbid sense of shame’ for his
‘profound duplicity of life'(57).

 

Freudian psychoanalysis interprets the personalities exemplified by
Jekyll and Hyde. “Structural theory into the id, ego and superego”1 is reflected by Hyde who
epitomises the outcome of suppressing desires in the mind. Hyde also mirrors
‘The Uncanny’ in Freudian analysis which “represents the aspects of humanity
that we deny… to preserve self-image”2, as the theory suggests
that an overwhelming id imbalance in adult life causes a “return to the
primitive state”7. Through the psychoanalytic lens, the id that
represents true desires, the ‘ordinary secret sinner'(69) is epitomised by
remorseless Hyde and his overwhelming urges to achieve pleasure. Alternatively,
Jekyll signifies the superego, the part of the mind that obeys imposed societal
expectations and adheres to rules. Stevenson depicts the urge to act upon the repressed
desires and the unseemly aspects of man by exaggerating the consciences and
personalities of man. Stevenson manipulates the ‘double dealer'(57) protagonist
of Jekyll with his counterpart Hyde to highlight the existence of the
personality drives within. Hyde characterises revolutionary behaviours of the
Victorian era and acts controversially to uncover real upper class, animal desires
through hypocritical exposure.

Animality is the pivotal motif and critical
undertone to the other themes. Duality and parallels to Shelley and Darwin
emphasise the animalistic behaviours and attitudes. The allegorical morality tale is
explicit in questioning societal order through animal references. Stevenson
poignantly addresses the repressed human desires and animalistic pollution of
“Jekyll’s potential for profound wickedness, released in the shape of Hyde”3.

1 Shubh M, Singh / Subho Chakrabarti, ‘A study in dualism: The strange
case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’, Indian
Journal of Psychiatry, Vol. 50, No. 33, (2008)
Accessed 10/01/2018 pp. 221-223

2 Jen Boyle, ‘Freud’s Uncanny
Theory’, Freud’s Uncanny Double: A
Theoretical Study of Portrayal of Doubles in Film (1/7) (2016)
Accessed 10/01/2018

3 Jen Boyle, ‘Freud’s Uncanny Theory’, Freud’s Uncanny Double: A Theoretical Study of Portrayal of Doubles in
Film (1/7) (2016)
Accessed 10/01/2018