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How is Gothic Literature related to The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde?

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pratikc29 | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 2, 2010 at 1:54 AM via web

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How is Gothic Literature related to The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde?

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Michelle Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted February 2, 2010 at 2:06 AM (Answer #1)

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Gothic Literature and the gothic movement is a part of the Romantic Movement which focuses on the deeper aspects of the human psyche, and deals with the inevitability of fate, among other things.

The main characteristics of gothic literature include:

 The intervention of the supernatural (The transformation of Jekyll and Hyde)

 The impending tragic ending of the main character

 Nostalgia, sadness, and agony

 The melancholy of times gone by

 The breaking-apart of all that once was beautiful (disintregration of beauty, in this case, of sanity)

 darkness, dampness, cold atmosphere, wet, and uncomfortable settings

 the lack of men's control of himself

 The abandon of God and the imploration of mercy

 The curiosity for human nature and the human form

 The dissapearance of hope.

In Jekyll and Hyde you basically see all the characteristics listed above.

Other gothic literature much similar to Jekyll and Hyde include: "The Picture of Dorian Gray" (Oscar Wilde), "The Fall of the House of Usher" (Poe), Frankenstein (Mary Shelly), Dracula (Bram Stoker), Metamorphosis (Kafka), "The Raven" (Poe) and more.

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mrs-campbell | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted February 2, 2010 at 2:07 AM (Answer #2)

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Gothic writing tends to be very dark, focus on the evil side of human nature, have supernatural and unexplained elements to it, and have a lot of suspense and mystery.  All of these can be seen in the book The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.  This book is very dark--meaning, it focuses on scary, mysterious, depressing things.  Murders occur, brutalities are committed, there is a shadowing workshop, a mystery that is unsolved.  It is very dark.  This novel focuses a lot on the dark side of human nature, meaning, what we as humans are capable of if we let go of our inhibitions and moral codes of restraint.  Mr. Hyde himself is the embodied representation of Dr. Jekyll's darker side of human nature.  Mr.  Hyde does all of those evil, mean, cruel, inappropriate and socially forbidden things that Dr. Jekyll cannot do.  Mr. Hyde still IS Dr. Jekyll, which means that in all of us, there is an untamed beast waiting to be released.  That is a major theme of the novel.

The book is also framed from the viewpoint of a curious bystander, a detective of sorts, who, piece by piece, puts the puzzle together.  It is a mystery, filled with suspense and unexplained occurrences, and Gothic literature often has those traits.  In Gothic writing there are ghosts, phantoms, beasts, vampires, werewolves, curses, and other evil elements; in this book, the evil deeds of Mr. Hyde, and Mr. Hyde himself embody that trait.

I hope that those thoughts helped; good luck!

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mkcapen1 | Middle School Teacher | Valedictorian

Posted February 2, 2010 at 2:19 AM (Answer #3)

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In the book Dr. Jekyll and Mr.Hyde the author uses elements that are used in Gothic literature.  The doctor is the moody hero.  In his case he has two sides to his personality.  Once he drinks the potion he engages in actions that he would not normally engage in.  His character becomes sinister.  However, the reader is still able to sympathise with the doctor.

The fog and darkness surrounding the city is an embellishment of the Gothic genre.  The streets are enveloped by the fog, thereby, creating an uncanny erie effect.  Shadows lurk.

The story creates an image of horror and dread.  The doctor can not contain his murderous impulses.  The repressed feelings of man's animal nature emerge in the person of Mr. Hyde.

The setting is classic Gothic, dark and dismal.

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