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Tricks For Academic Writing

Writing A Winning Compare And Contrast Essay On Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde

Robert Louis Stevenson’s story is a perennial classic of English literature. Examining the conflict present between good and evil within the individual, it’s commonly addressed in English Literature classes ranging from middle school to college. At some point in your education, you may be instructed to write a compare and contrast essay about Dr. Jeykll and Mr. Hyde. Such an essay would draw comparisons between the two main characters, as well as highlighting the difference between them. The goal is to underscore the thematic importance of the similarities and differences, which ties into a greater exploration of the nature of human morality.

In the story, Dr. Jekyll feels that he is fighting a battle with himself: a battle between good and evil. He often feels the need to repress what he considers to be bad or evil urges within himself. In a final, desperate attempt to forever destroy the evil that he feels lurking within him, he creates a serum. The serum changes him into someone else entirely: Mr. Hyde. Mr. Hyde has a personality distinct from Jekyll’s. Instead of being amiable and polite, Hyde is a cruel and violent figure. The more often Jekyll takes the potion, the more dominant Hyde becomes, until finally, Hyde takes over completely.

The tension between these two personalities is the key theme of Stevenson’s novel. One is a kind man, aspiring toward virtue, who has urges and desires he constantly pushes back. The other is a fiend, a slave to those very desires that the other man had tried so hard to destroy. When you compare and contrast these two personalities, you’re considering that they’re contained within the same person. Within everyone lies an intrinsic duality. There is both evil and good. We are motivated toward both types of actions. We desire to do good things, both due to societal pressures, and out of a genuine individual drive toward virtuousness. However, we also sometimes wish to do things that we know are wrong. Naturally, we press those urges back. But, if we try to hard to destroy them, they can bit back and end up taking us over completely. There was a famous psychologist, Carl Jung, who called this element “the Shadow.” The Shadow is contained within every person, within everyone’s personality. Its presence needs to be accepted, not repressed. But when acknowledged instead of vilified, we can still make individual choices to do what is right, despite what we want to do.

These are all thematic elements of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde that you can consider when you write a compare and contrast essay about the novel’s characters for your English class. This is only a brief discussion of the nuances of character in the novel, but it outlines the basic elements that underscore the duality of Dr. Jekyll.

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