The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Questions and Answers
by Robert Louis Stevenson

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde book cover
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How might The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde be frightening to a Victorian audience?

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Wallace Field eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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In addition to sending the message to readers that they really want to be bad, this short novel also conveys the idea that our darker, more sinful desires are inherently stronger than our will to be virtuous.  Dr. Jekyll tries to distill his urges to do evil, sinful things and separate that side of himself out so that it can be eradicated.  The implicit message of such an attempt is that he, a person who seems to be a good, upstanding member of proper society, is not strong enough to resist those urges without assistance.

Second, the fact that the dark identity, Mr. Hyde, actually turns out to be more powerful than the side that longs to be virtuous confirms the...

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gbeatty eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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StephanieRR | Student

To go along with the other posts, Dr. Jekyll essentially reduces the all-important, Victorian-revered soul to a science project. All he needed to do was find the proper ingredients and suddenly he had the key to controlling vice and virtue, the two qualities Victorians saw as being governed by the soul. Another element that would have clashed with a "respectable" Victorian audience was the blatant reference to Dr. Jekyll's taste for things not befitting his social status, and Hyde's complete abandon when prowling the streets. Before the book was even published, Robert Louis Stevenson was advised by his wife and others to edit the story so that it would not be so shocking to his readers, so the references to vice in the finished product the Victorians received was actually mild compared to what Stevenson initially wished to include.

lima06 | Student

many victorian men had double lives, during the day they could be a high end banker but at night many men hung around brothels smoking pot. as manyof these men read the book they would begin to feel worried "will there secret life become exposed". religion also played a large part in the book and on victorian society, many people strongly believed in god so he idea of someone meddling with god and changing his design of the human race deeply horrified the victorian reader, also in the book hyde was described to have satans signature upon his face.
ihope this helps