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The story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde illustrates the fact that all human beings are a mixture of good and evil in their characters. That is why the story has retained its popularity for so many years. Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) was one of the first writers to use this theme in short stories like "The Black Cat," "The Cask of Amontillado," and many others. Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864) also used this theme in stories like "Young Goodman Brown," and many others. Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) published"The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" in 1886. He was obviously influenced by both Poe and Hawthorne. In Stevenson's story the righteous, idealistic Dr. Jekyll is trying to rid himself of the dark side of his character, but he finds that Mr. Hyde, who represents all that is wicked and animalistic in himself, is an inescapable part of his character. We are all mixtures of good and evil. We all have a dark side and a light side, at least according to Stevenson, Poe, Hawthorne and others. The well-brought-up English boys who turn into savages in William Golding's "The Lord of the Flies" (1954) are another example of the same truth. Stevenson was probably half successful in getting nis message across, because some people will accept the fact that they are not as good as they would like others to think they are, while other people will not accept it. The story raises a question which each reader must ask himself or herself. Is there a Mr. Hyde in all of us?
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