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Representation of evil in Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and William Goldings Lord of the Flies Essay

William Golding’s novel “Lord of the flies” and Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel “Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde” both include representations of evil, although they are presented in different forms. The evil in “Dr Jekyll and My Hyde” is the result of a drug that brings out the evil side of Hyde, where as the evil in “Lord of the Flies” is a gradual development due to power struggle and lack of leadership.

“Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde” was set in London when Queen Victoria was upon the throne. At this time London was a dark and gloomy city. Law and order was at an all time low, crime and murder were a regular occurrence. Due to these circumstances detective stories became very popular. Stevenson understood how horribly ugly London was at this time and felt that a place such as this would be the perfect scenario for a horror story. The actual storyline of “Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde” originated in a dream Stevenson once had.

“Lord of the flies” also reflects it’s 1950’s setting. Golding’s writing was influenced by adventure stories such as Treasure Island, which, coincidently, was written by Robert Louis Stevenson. Golding creates a specific image of the boys, from how they behave to the language used, like popular slang at the time. “Sucks to you.” He also addresses the atom bomb and outlines a clear allegory of Nazi Germany though the boys savage behaviour, loss of order and distinguishing them selves with face paint “He made one cheek and one eye socket white, the rubbed red over the other side of his face”. His experiences in World War 2 are shown in his novel, “maybe there is another war”, obviously having an affected on his writing. Golding, having been a teacher, had a good understanding of how a young boys mind operated. He used his teaching experience to invent believable characters and situations, such as groups formulating, chid-like mannerisms and bullying.

Both authors diligently establish the settings of each scenario. In Lord of the flies the tranquillity of the island soon disappears when the boys lose order and lack respect towards each other and nature. “the blue white scar jagged above them and the sulphurous explosion beat down”. The weather changes from a great heat to a rainy storm. Nighttime on the island creates fear among the group and the darkness on the island brings frequent references to the beast. “talk of a thing, a dark thing, a beast”.

The weather is also used to reflect how the group feels, for example when there is tension between Jack and Ralph Golding highlights the mood through stormy weather, showing nature in sympathy with the boys moods and feelings.” a brassy glare had taken the place of the clear sky”. The islands division between Jack and Ralph creates an atmosphere over conflict. As this fight of power develops so does the evil inside. Golding makes use of darkness again to create a greater sense of the evil stirring between Jack and Ralph.

The setting the night Sir Danvers Carew was murdered is carefully constructed by the author. The maid describes the atmosphere as peaceful, “never had she felt more at peace with all men or thought more kindly of the world.” Similar to “Lord of the flies” Stevenson creates a tranquil atmosphere. Carew is depicted as “an aged and beautiful gentlemen with white hair”, and is also described as having “a very pretty manner of politeness”. The description of the night and of Carew’s appearance and manner projects an image of innocents. Stevenson does this so the murder has a greater more horrific affect.

In Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Mr Hyde is the character that portrays the evil in the book, described as a monster. Ruthless, spontaneous and disregards civil law. The author describes Hyde’s appearance as having some type of abnormality and the Characters that have witnessed Hyde all agree on the unsettling disfigurement. However each have trouble explaining his facial appearance. This creates a mystery about Hyde’s character.

Hyde’s appearance is a reflection of his evil, the Carew murder is a good example of his evil characteristics, “Hyde broke out of all bounds and clubbed him to the earth”. This is not an ordinary murder. Stevenson makes it clear to the reader how inhuman Hyde is.

Jack is one of the characters in Lord of the flies that represents evil. His appearance is a gradual development throughout the story, as his hunting becomes more obsessive, his appearance and attitude begins to descend to a primitive level of savagery. “Stark naked save for paint and a belt, was Jack.”

When Piggy is murdered and the conch destroyed Jack without hesitance claims he is officially chief, disregarding Piggy’s atrocious murder. This disturbing reaction breaks the boundary of Jack’s humanity, contributing to the sense of evil.

Jack quickly adapts to his surroundings but is also influenced by them and soon prefers this new environment new island life, realising he has the ability to dictate. “Who will join my tribe and have fun”. He has a strong desire to lead and asserts himself through his powers as a hunter which changes to a lust for killing. Jack abuses his power and freedom from restraints, which is the result of unleashing the evil within him.

Roger represents the insensible type of savage killer whose sadistic tendencies are let loose on society (Ralph’s group). His appearance isn’t a major factor within the novel, his actions however reflect the developing evil within. Piggy’s death is a good example of this.

“Roger, with a sense of delirious abandonment, leaned all his weight on the lever.”

Golding is showing how the evil has clouded Roger’s mind and made him “delirious”, unable to control his actions.

Both authors have created characters that disregard society and civilisation. Like Hyde, Jack and Roger do not consider their behaviour and actions wrong. This creates an evil about each novel.

Incidents of evil occurring in “Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde” include trampling over a small child and the murder of sir Danvers Carew, which involved being beaten to death by a wooden cain. Both murders were witnessed by members of the public who were clearly disturbed by Hyde’s atrocious crimes. Stevenson creates a fearful atmosphere in order to portray the effect of Hyde’s savage like actions.

Simon and Piggy’s death are the main representations of evil behaviour in “Lord of the flies”. The death of Simon is the result of the boys descending into a primitive level of savagery, chanting and dancing around the fire. “kill the beast! Cut it’s throat!”. The group believed Simon was the beast and in a savage manner attacked and murder him. Stevenson’s description of Simon’s life on the island and death is also an allegory to the life and crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Quote.

Stevenson goes into depth showing Simons murder in a savage manner through stormy weather and cries of pain. His death however is portrayed in an angelic form where it begins to rain and the atmosphere is peaceful. Like Christ Simon was sacrificed for trying to help them understand the truth. The death of piggy involved Roger being in an unstable mind and dropping a boulder on him. Piggy is helpless and continually mocked so at this point sympathy is felt towards him, so his death seems more tragic. Theses events evolved from the developing evil festering in the boys. Stevenson seem to build up the deaths through dramatic weather change and making the reader feel sympathy towards characters like Simon and Piggy so that there deaths seem even more evil.

In “Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde” the symbols of evil are Mr Hyde and his use of medicine. Dr Jekyll through experimentation managed to concoct a drug that created a pure evil individual, the evil side of Jekyll.

The door in which Hyde has been seen leaving and entering also symbolises evil. When n describing the door Stevenson describes the surrounding and the atmosphere as dark weather, foggy and mystery “a black winter morning”. The door also represents mystery as we do not know the contents of the building. “showed no window, nothing but a door” Hyde also holds an element of mystery as nobody seems to know him, he has an indescribable appearance, and his acts of crime are have never been seen before.

In “Lord of the flies” the beast symbolises evil because the combination of the boys fearful mind and darkness of island makes them beleave they are not alone and that something is hunting them. The belief of the beast scares the group and makes them act irrational. Simon realises the truth about the beast. On the island he becomes visionary and bereaves that the sacrificed rotting sow’s head, named “Lord of the flies” as it attracts flies. In the description of the sow head and Simons first encounter

Golding gives an indication of Satan. “inescapable recognition”. Although he has never seen the sow head before it seems to him that it’s unmistakably distinctive, I think the name Lord of the flies is like Beelzebub, another name for the devil. As Simon is compared with Christ, the sow’s head could be a reference to the devil. Something pure evil.

In “Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde” Mr Utterson tells the narrative, The story is told how he experienced it and how he went about solving the case. As he was obviously effected by this unusual investigation, as well as being long time friends with Henry Jekyll. The story is told very personally through his eyes and feelings. The effect of this on the reader is that if Utterson was particularly scared or confused in the story he explains what he was feeling in depth so the reader understands the fear and torment he experienced.

“Lord of the flies” is written in the present, not after the event has happened, talking you through the story. The audience is brought into the story, feeling as if they are actually there. The effect of this on the reader is that they experience the story as it is developing so if something confusing happens they share the same confusion as the characters in the story. This is the same when characters are scared, the reader sharing their fear.

In conclusion I feel both authors successfully portrayed evil in each novel through characters, scenery, setting, language, time and through different events. Creating an evil side that if made subject to would alter normal civilised behaviour and conduct horrific violence unheard in the time both books were published. The use of evil in “Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde” does contrast that of “Lord of the flies”. Stevenson believed that everyone had an evil side but most chose to hide it. Golding believed evil was in every person as well, but that it could emerge with out the aid of a drug. If put it the right scenario everyone has the ability to become evil, even innocent children.

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