Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a literary classic set in Victorian England. Robert Louis Stevenson uses this time period to explore duality and how people must face their evil counterparts.
Stevenson illustrates his belief that it is impossible to truly be good with Doctor Jekyll. He even comments “[M]an is not truly one, but truly two” (Stevenson 125). Jekyll has conformed to society his entire life, trying to be a perfect person. He has never had the opportunity to express his other half. Jekyll creates Hyde so he can be free of societal constraints and do things that a reputable man cannot. Jekyll releases Hyde who ultimately consumes him because he has never learned how to moderate his evil impulses.
Stevenson's views on human nature are similar to that of The Bible, which consistently cites the life-long struggle Christians face between the flesh “evil” and the spirit “good”. Man can never be good because they are tainted by sin. Even Jesus says that only God is good in Mark 10:18 which reads, “‘Why do you call me good?' Jesus answered. 'No one is good--except God alone.' Jekyll is the archetypal example of this. Jekyll knows what his desires are but once he falls from grace by creating Hyde he is forced to grapple with his evil side until it kill him. Doctor Jekyll knew his inevitable demise was rapidly approaching because he pleads with Utterson asking him to “help [Hyde] for my sake, when I am no longer here” (39). Jekyll's actions were evil when he created his potion and drank from it. The potion relates back to the Bible in a way because it symbolizes the apple on the Tree of Knowledge. When Jekyll drank the potion he lost his innocence in the same way that Adam and Eve lost their innocence when they ate from the tree of life.
Stevenson commentates man must find a balance between his two natures by showing what occurs when one is under-exercised or over-exercised. Jekyll's evil alter ego, Hyde was never exercised. This was symbolized by Hyde's 'Particularly small and particularly wicked-looking [stature]' (45). Jekyll could not control Hyde once he was released because he enjoyed being wicked too much and had never learned how to moderate his two sides. Jekyll even admits in his final statement this fall from grace seemed natural and confesses it destroyed the...