How is Gothic Literature related to The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde?
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....
(The entire section contains 2 answers and 427 words.)
check Approved by eNotes Editorial
Robert Louis Stevenson's novella The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a prime example of Victorian Gothic literature written during Queen Victoria’s reign in England (1837-1901). This time period was characterized by rapid advancements in science, technology, and industrialism as well as strict codes of social and moral conduct. The Gothic genre began in 1765 and invokes themes of gloom, horror, and mystery. Supernatural elements are often present in Gothic works and the stories originally took place in threatening, medieval settings such as a cursed castle. Moving into the Victorian Era, Gothic literature molded itself to fit modern settings and anxieties. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde takes place in the dark, lonely streets of urban London and its horror stems from questions surrounding human nature and science. Relying on themes of transgression, Victorian Gothic breaks down or blurs conventional social and moral boundaries. The respectable Dr. Jekyll lives a life of control and virtue, but also harbors the indulgently violent alter-ego of Mr. Hyde. The horror of this story comes from the idea that evil is intrinsic to mankind—even someone who appears to be a perfect Victorian gentleman may actually hold evil desires. This anxiety was especially acute during the murders of Jack the Ripper in 1888. Many believed the killer to be of upper-class status. For Stevenson, following the artificial social codes of Victorian England only conceals and represses intrinsic evil, but does nothing to fight it. In fact, social codes may actually isolate and strengthen undignified desires. A Gothic theme of the novella is things that appear good may actually have an evil side. This is seen most clearly in the duality of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde but is also present in descriptions of the London smog introduced in chapter four. Polluting smog was a byproduct of the rapid industrial growth occurring in England during the Victorian Era. Stevenson devotes almost a full page of the relatively short novella to describing how industrial pollution covers London in a nebulous darkness. During the Victorian Era, industrialism was championed as a force of good moving human society forward. However, the chocking smog that permeates the novella turns day into night and displays the dark side of industrial advancement. The Gothic horror of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is built on revealing the ugly side of what appears good.