The Psychological Drama of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Examines the life of Robert Louis Stevenson and his work, “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”.

This paper briefly examines the life of Robert Louis Stevenson, the author of “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” and how his life and times affected how he recast the ancient struggle between good and evil that thrives in the heart of every man. The paper focuses on this story’s issue of the duality of man and the theme of conscious/unconscious duality. The paper discusses how Stevenson would be shocked that his Jekyll and Hyde story has become a legitimate legal defense for murder; the accused is often said to be victimized by his past or the chemicals he uses or that occur naturally imbalanced in his brain and therefore he is not responsible for his actions. The paper argues that science’s standards and theories are too ambiguous.
“Robert Louis Stevenson was born in 1850. He was the son of a famous lighthouse engineer, who thought that his son would follow in his footsteps and study engineering also. The younger Stevenson was enrolled but soon told his father he did not want to study engineering,– he wanted to be a writer. So his father put him in Law School–gain with no success. It was just as well that Stevenson’s father ended up supporting him as a writer, because his son was sick all the time anyway. He had a bronchial condition like tuberculosis which made him choke and hemorrhage and turned ordinary colds and exhaustion into life-threatening illnesses (Keen).
Because of his precarious health, he traveled abroad a great deal in search of the best climate to live in. Back in the 19th century travel between the continents meant long sea travel hence his sea adventure stories, Treasure Island and Kidnapped. These stories were remarkably part-real- life adventures, in spite being boy and later a man who could barely breath when exerting himself, and who looked as though, he could do little more than stare out the porthole and day dream.