Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde Duality

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We hear it all the time–the mad genius, the deranged artist, the crazy inventor. These sayings are stereotypes, true, but stereotypes have to come from somewhere. In the case of linking mental illness to creativity, the stereotypes come from science. In The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the reader is introduced to the idea of a dual persona. One persona, Dr. Jekyll, is a well-to-do Englishman, while the other, Mr. Hyde, is a borderline sociopathic character who defies all societal norms on proper behavior and etiquette. Dr. Jekyll is a scientist, who divides his body into two, his proper self, and his inner mad scientist. Science is his art form, his way of creating and inventing new potions, so having a repressed self who can…show more content…
Cesare Lombrosso proved that there are several traits that are significantly more prominent in creative people, including “left handedness, celibacy, stammering, precocity, neurosis and psychosis.” These traits were found in many of the world's most successful creative genius, and can be linked to the very reason they were as creative and successful as they became. In Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, those who saw Hyde saw him as “deformed somewhere; he gives a strong feeling of deformity, although I couldn’t specify the point” (pg 53). His visual deformity can be seen as a visual representation of the social deformities that creative people often suffer, like having odd mannerisms and traits that are not always seen as normal by society's standards. By seeing Hyde’s odd behavior and his urge towards violence against innocence–an unfathomable trait for most people, excluding those with mental illness such as sociopathic traits–we are able to see Hyde not as a representation of evil, but rather a representation of a mental illness that had to be repressed due to a lack of acceptance in society, especially at the time when Jekyll and Hyde was first…show more content…
He has intense fits of anger and violence, accompanied by reclusive tendencies and the want to be hidden and unseen. To describe his fits of violence, Mr. Enfield said that Hyde “seemed to listen with an ill-contained impatience. And then all of a sudden he broke out in a great flame of anger” (pg 69). This lack of control over his rage is consistent with many different mental conditions. And though the reader is by no means in a place to diagnose and right off all of his flaws and acts of violence as mental illness, we also can’t dismiss Hyde as a purely evil man. Additionally, since it is Hyde committing the crime and not Jekyll, it leaves the reader to wonder if this is Stevenson’s way of saying that all people, or possibly just the more creative ones, have a repressed side of themselves with traits similar to that of a mental illness, even if they themselves don’t present with one. Hyde was an extreme, he was a man who “trampled calmly over the child’s body and left her screaming on the ground” (50), having no regard for human emotion. However, repressed personas are often only depicted as extremes, and it is possible to say that if we all allowed our deep, unknown inner emotions surface, we could have the potential to be just as violent and
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