In this essay I will be writing about how Robert Louis Stevenson presents his attitude to human nature in chapter 4 of “The curious case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde”
In the novel RL Stevenson shows how there are two sides to humanity the good side and the evil side which coexist within a single individual and the extent to which they balance each other. He uses the two characters of Jekyll and Hyde to show the extremes of human nature, he demonstrates the savagery of humans in Hyde and the generosity in Jekyll. A central theme of the novel is the whole gothic genre of the book. RL Stevenson really sets the gothic scene with his in depth descriptions of the foggy nights and dark back alleys of Victorian London where there were lamps “which had never been extinguished”.
The places in the novel are also significant, Hyde’s house for example is in the poor side of London but once you step inside, it is well furnished with expensive items almost like Dr Jekyll’s house. The juxtaposition of these two elements emphasises the concept of good and evil within the story.
Chapter four is significant in the novel because it is the point where Jekyll loses control of Hyde despite telling his friend Dr Lanyon “that he can be rid of Hyde whenever he wants” this shows that Hyde is getting more powerful and can no longer be controlled. It is in this chapter that the readers have their negative impressions of Hyde fully reinforced despite not being totally aware of his appearance “only on one point were they agreed; and that was the haunting sense of unexpressed deformity with which the fugitive impressed his beholders”. Chapter four is also important because it is when Dr Jekyll changes into Mr Hyde and he is so powerful that he doesn’t transform back into Dr Jekyll, This leads to the horrific murder of Sir Danvers Carew.