The Representation Of Mental Disorders In Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde

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The representation of mental disorders has been misunderstood for centuries, from the late Victorian era to even present life today. Despite society’s advancements in awareness regarding mental disorders and health, those who suffer from mental disorders are still often seen as violent and dangerous. The novella, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, published in 1886 by Robert Louis Stevenson, only further reinforces this stigmatism. The portrayal of mental disorders in The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde spreads the misconception that people with mental disorders are inherently dangerous and violent, ignoring the underlying societal factors that contribute to their state of mind. By following the story of a well-known and …show more content…

Hyde, readers are able to see how Stvenson perpetuates misleading and harmful stereotypes. During the Victorian era, mental disorders were often misunderstood with a stigma surrounding them. Those who suffered from mental illness were in many cases ostracized from society, as they were seen as harmful and hostile. According to Victorian Medicine and Popular Culture, drug use and addiction were regarded as a nuisance to society and it was said that those who suffered from addiction simply lacked the social responsibility to resist drug use. Drug addiction was seen as the evil of modernity and something people engaged in to cope with their demanding lifestyles, emotions, and rapidly evolving culture. Before the realization that mental disorders were a serious issue that needed treatment, those suffering from them were only seen as annoyances to society who were weak. People of …show more content…

Patients at the time were not recognized as people needing medical attention. We can see this through the quote from Dr. Jekyll, "For two months, however, I was true to my determination; for two months, I led a life of such severity as I had never before attained to, and enjoyed the compensations of an approving conscience. But time began to last to obliterate the freshness of my alarm; the praises of conscience began to grow into a thing of course; I began to be tortured with throes and longings, as of Hyde struggling after freedom; and at last, in an hour of moral weakness, I once again compounded and swallowed the transforming draught." (Stevenson 49). Here Dr. Jekyll describes how he initially sought to ensure that he wouldn't transform into Mr. Hyde but soon began to feel as though Mr. Hyde was struggling to be set free. The internal struggle within his conscience soon drives him mad as he succumbs to the madness, transforming into Mr. Hyde. While Stevenson does a great job of capturing the individual psychology of Dr. Jekyll, this narrow perspective causes misinterpretation and makes it seem as though mental disorders are the aftermath of individuals or moral weakness, not taking societal factors into account or acknowledging that their “weakness” could be a more serious medical condition seeking

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