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How Does Stevenson Explore the Theme of Appearance Versus Reality in Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde?

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Robert Louis Stevenson explores the theme of appearance versus reality in Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde in many ways, this includes the language and structure Stevenson uses The most obvious example of this is Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. The novel written by Stevenson in 1886 was hugely influenced by the religious raising of Stevenson in Edinburgh, the social division present at the time also had an influence on Stevenson.

Firstly, Stevenson explores the theme of appearance versus reality in the novel Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde through the lawyer, Mr Utterson. As an audience we see Utterson as the ‘perfect’ Victorian. In comparison to his society, they see his good appearance being a ‘loveable’ man who is ‘eminently human’. From this language and imagery we can clearly see that Utterson is portrayed as a respectable lawyer in the Victorian society. Stevenson describes Utterson’s real self subtly by describing his repression ‘ He was austere with himself; drank gin when he was alone’. From this we gather that Utterson’s reality is perhaps an alcoholic or a person who likes to drink showing his real self.

To add to this point the setting of the novel allows Stevenson to explore the duality of Victorian London representing the two sides. Our first introduction of the setting occurs in the first chapter ‘the story of the door’. Stevenson portrays the street to be a ‘quiet’ street which ‘shone out in contrast to its dingy neighbourhood’ with ‘smiling saleswomen’, here we get the feeling the street is very much a happy and a safe place. Later in contrast Stevenson goes on to describe round the corner a ‘certain sinister block o building’ that ‘showed no window, nothing but a door’. The door is a conventional gothic theme used by Stevenson, the appearance of the door is in contrast as to what is behind the door and the fear of the un-known, the reality. The streets appearance is...

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