Robert Louis Stevenson's dramatic fable of good and evil, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is set in Victorian London with its protagonist Dr. Henry Jekyll seeming to embody the conflicting drives of that burgeoning society.
The swift economic growth of the early stages of the industrial revolution in England produced vast disparities in wealth and social class. Standards of behavior for both the upper classes and those striving to enter them had become increasingly exacting. Religion, morality, the work ethic, and sexual restraint were dominant forces in both private and public life.
The public manifestations of Victorianism, which sought to end inhumane practices and physical cruelty, such as the abolition of the slave trade, the end of child labor, the reform of the treatment of prisoners, and the elimination of sadistic sports such as cock-fighting and bull-baiting were undoubtedly positive achievements. However, the sexual repression and newly restrictive codes of behavior that...
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