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By Colby Bond

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

In the novel entitled The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson, a variety of thematic ideas and concepts are conveyed through the character of Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde. Dr. Jekyll, an accomplished and genuine doctor, struggles to fight with the "devil" inside of him and brings up the theme of duality in human nature. The concept of duality in human nature is something that can be represented in a simple manner by thinking of someone who has an angel on one shoulder and a devil on their other shoulder and they are arguing about what the person should be doing. Duality is just this; the struggle between good and evil that exists in human nature. If you dive more in depth to how this theme is represented in the novel, you see that Dr. Jekyll is a good, genuine, and successful man. On the other hand, Mr. Hyde is a stark contrast to this personality through the enjoyment of committing crimes and being deliberately against any sort of moral code. As the novel progresses, Dr. Jekyll decides that he wants to purify this devil personality that exists inside of him, so he creates a potion to do so. Unfortunately, this potion instead allows Mr. Hyde to gain more power in his body until eventually Dr. Jekyll is no more and the terrible personality is the only one that exists. Through this rough occurrence in the novel, the blatant nature of duality in human nature is shown with how much Dr. Jekyll struggled to control the good and evil that existed in him, and thus was eventually destroyed by it.

Meaningful Quotations for The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

  • "And next moment, with ape-like fury, he was trampling his victim under foot and hailing down a storm of blows, under which the bones were audibly shattered and the body jumped upon the roadway. At the horror of these sights and sounds, the maid fainted."
In this quotation, Stevenson displays the blatant conflict between good and evil, but more importantly just how evil Mr. Hyde is. The act that Mr. Hyde commits in this passage is so terrible that it makes the maid faint, and illustrates how the maid loses faith in how people are good because of just how terrible Mr. Hyde is.

  • "Both sides of me were in dead earnest; I was no more myself when I laid aside restraint and plunged in shame, than when I laboured, in the eye of day, at the futherance of knowledge or the relief of sorrow and suffering."
This quotation clearly shows the theme of duality in human nature. Dr. Jekyll blatantly states that there are two sides to him: good and evil, and they are of equal magnitude at this point.

  • "The next day, came the news that the murder had been overlooked, that the guilt of Hyde was patent to the world, and that the victim was a man high in public estimation. It was not only a crime, it had been a tragic folly. I think I was glad to know it; I think I was glad to have my better impulses thus buttressed and guarded by the terrors of the scaffold. Jekyll was now my city of refuge; let but Hyde peep out an instant, and the hands of all men would be raised to take and slay him."
This quotation shows how the split personalities have become increasingly intertwined and thus more complicated. The duality is displayed through how Jekyll's good is being overtaken by Hyde's evil.

  • "I resolved in my future conduct to redeem the past; and I can say with honesty that my resolve was fruitful of some good. You know yourself how earnestly, in the last months of the last year, I laboured to relieve suffering; you know that much was done for others, and that the days passed quietly, almost happily for myself."
This quotation displays how Dr. Jekyll does not condone the evil actions of Mr. Hyde, and he wants to prove that it is not him being evil. This once again restates the duality of human nature displayed through the main character.

The Flea

In John Donne's poem entitled "The Flea", the author uses metaphysical ideas in order to display the thematic idea of love (sex). He makes an extremely "out there" comparison of fleas intermingling and sharing their fluids to display to a woman that she should have sex with him. He essentially states that a flea bit both of them and has their blood inside of it, so their fluids are together. Because their fluids are together already, they might as well just have sex. Quite the logical idea, right? At the end of the poem, the woman wants to kill the flea but Donne states that killing the flea would be similar to killing him, herself, and the flea because their blood is in it and it represents their relationship. However, the woman doesn't have any of this and kills it anyway. As a whole, this displays the idea in the poem of the comparison between the flea and their relationship, sex, and the fact that she refuses to do so.

Meaningful Quotations for "The Flea"

  • "It sucked me first, and now sucks thee,

    And in this flea our two bloods mingled be;"

The quotation above shows where Donne initially brings up the main idea of the poem: that because the flea has obtained both of their blood and they are together, they should be together and have sex.

  • "This flea is you and I, and this
Our marriage bed, and marriage temple is;"
This quotation displays how the author describes their relationship, using the flea as a metaphor to a marriage bed and temple. The message is conveyed how the author feels about the woman and his relationship, and clearly shows that he believes they are together through this flea.

  • "Cruel and sudden, hast thou since
Purpled thy nail, in blood of innocence?"

This quotation is from when the woman kills the flea, and the author states that the flea was innocent and was holding the blood of himself, herself, and itself, and that she has just killed three and not just one. Through the idea that she has killed three, the author moves forward into the closing idea.

  • "Just so much honor, when thou yield’st to me,
Will waste, as this flea’s death took life from thee."

This is Donne's closing statement, and is essentially showing him trying to guilt the woman into sex at this point. He states that the dishonor she would gain from "yielding" to him (having sex with him), would be no worse than the dishonor she just experienced from killing the flea which has his blood, her blood, and it's own blood.

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Setting Yourself Apart

In both works of literature, the concept of setting yourself apart exists in various ways. In The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Dr. Jekyll sets himself apart as being an extreme concept of the idea of duality in human nature, as he is both very good yet also very bad with Mr. Hyde inside of him. In the poem "The Flea", Donne sets himself apart by approaching his relationship with the woman in a very bizarre way; using a flea as a metaphor in order to try to have sex with her. As a whole, both works' main characters set themselves apart in their own respective ways.