Danielle DuBoisHonors Brit LitMr. Beno8 December 2017Research Paper – Final Copy The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson Although Jekyll struggles to stay good, he chooses to embrace his evil side, and succumbs to the debauchery that is addiction by taking his self-prescribed poison. INTRO NEEDS WORK In the novel, Dr. Jekyll has a great tendency to repress his innermost thoughts and feelings, which, in turn, leads to this idea of a double self. Repression is the rejection or removal of deplorable thoughts and feelings from the conscious mind. Often, these redundant notions are then depressed into the unconscious mind. Because Dr. Jekyll subdues many of his urges, he is dominated by his forbidden vices. The drives and impulses Dr. Jekyll is feeling deepens his desire to live the life of Mr. Hyde. Dr. Jekyll finds himself to be more enticed to his malicious visage after his eight week lull from Mr. Hyde. It becomes obvious that the drive to convert to Hyde enhances when he is forced to repress his feelings.During the late Victorian period, many ideas were frowned upon, which likely led to the repression of thoughts and feelings within many others during this time as well. Dr. Jekyll’s struggle in battling with his inner desires reflects the frustrations within society during that time.There is a considerable conflict between a person’s appetite to pursue their inclinations and Victorian society’s strict demands of communal respectability. “Dr. Jekyll confesses that he possessed a ‘gaiety of disposition’ that could not be reconciled with his desire ‘to carry my head high, and wear a more than commonly grave countenance before the public.’ (Layson, Law). Jekyll feels as though he has to put on a sort of “mask” in order to be fully accepted by the rest of society. He did not want for himself, what the majority expected him to be. The Victorian people adhered to a rigid set of moral standards and values. “Victorian morality can be described as a set of values that supported sexual repression, low tolerance of crime, and a strong social ethic.” (Cenicola, Aumann). Victorian society was instructed to stay true to these moral codes, leading Dr. Jekyll, and many others, to muffle their inner feelings, in turn leading to the idea of a hidden self. “Even before he learned to transform himself into Mr. Hyde, he ‘stood already committed to a profound duplicity of life.’ The identity of Mr. Hyde takes this duplicity to its logical extreme. Mr. Hyde allows Jekyll to shed all restraint and ‘spring headlong into the sea of liberty.'” (Layson, Law). Jekyll craves for the ability to live his life the way he wishes to, and not feel restrained by the rules and regulations of his time period. There are multiple examples throughout the novel that showcase the characters’ adherence to their society’s moral code. “He was austere with himself; drank gin when he was alone, to mortify a taste for vintages; and though he enjoyed the theater, had not crossed the doors of one for twenty years. But he had an approved tolerance for others; sometimes wondering, almost with envy, at the high pressure of spirits involved in their misdeeds; and in any extremity inclined to help rather than to reprove.” (Stevenson). Dr. Jekyll is not the only character within the novel who attempts to subdue his innermost desires. Mr. Utterson is jealous of others’ infringements that run against the moral code. He lives a simple, but stringent, life and does not participate in any activities deemed immoral, though deep down it appears that he wishes to. Repressive coping style is a coping style that is often associated with avoiding and rejecting strong emotions. Individuals that exert this less positive method of coping are more apt to encounter negative emotional symptoms, often similar to people suffering from anxiety disorder. These individuals are less sensitive to pain, but more likely to acquire psychological distress. Most importantly, this coping mechanism is closely linked and has its relations to substance abuse.
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