- Slides: 20
Jekyll and Hyde: To what extent is Hyde a frightening outsider?
The Frightening Outsider If we are to understand the concept of the frightening outsider, we need to consider: - The origins of the concept of outsider - A Victorian definition through: Religion Masculinity Mental health - To what extent others within the novel ae outsiders - How this translates to the text
The origin of the outsider If we look back to the Medieval era, there has always been a community of disabled people within British society; at that stage, disabled people lived within the community, but were viewed as though either their disability was a result of sin, or that they were living n some sort of purgatory and would possibly get to Heaven sooner than everyone else. Those with both physical and mental ailments would often make pilgrimages to seek a cure for their conditions; several journeyed on foot to religious grounds for help and guidance from God.
Outsider: a Victorian definition of outsider In Martha Stoddard Holmes' Fictions of Affliction, Mr. Hyde is listed as having "unspecified disabilities" (Holmes 199). While there are several references to Mr. Hyde as being "deformed somewhere" or of giving "an impression of deformity, " nothing specific about this deformity is ever stated. The lack of detail not only makes him more frightening and in keeping with a Gothic genre, but would also be sufficient for the Victorian reader to reach conclusions about the fact that Hyde is disabled. Victorians did not distinguish between mental and physical disability; the two were equally connected as well as equally healthy or ill. If you were physically impaired, you were also mentally impaired. His physical abnormalities explain his mental imbalance to the reader without explicitly stating as such.
Outsider: a Victorian definition of outsider Hyde is frightening, because he is unexplainable. Often Hyde is referred to as the “creature” or the “thing” – all this shows that “[Hyde] seems hardly human, ” and is a darker being. Stevenson plays on the natural human fear of the unknown, and the mystery and suspense created by Hyde throughout the novella also instils a sense of fear. In keeping with gothic literature, the reader’s fear is rooted from a lack of knowledge.
Outsider: Victorian masculinity In Victorian England, and still somewhat today as well, the male body is, as James Adams explains it, a "central locus of masculine authority, “ which means that the more masculine a man was physically- rugged jaw, well-built, etc. - the more capable he was of being a success. Mr. Utterson declares that Mr. Hyde "seems hardly human!" Dr. Lanyon calls him "a disgustful curiosity“; this unmanliness, but also being unhuman means that it is impossible for the Victorian audience to recognize Hyde as a man of any status. It also means that presenting as a disabled person makes him evil by default, as his body alone is something to fear.
Outsider: Victorian masculinity Later on whilst describing his clothes, Dr Lanyon comments “they would have made an ordinary person laughable” and yet not so Hyde – implying Hyde to be different from an “ordinary person. ” Hyde is described as being an atypical Victorian gentleman, being “ a little man” and “pale and dwarfish. ” His “irregular habits” such as “seeking to shake. ”
Jekyll and Hyde: to a Victorian audience, why would Hyde exist as a frightening outsider?
Outsider: the Victorian criminal Written only two years before the infamous Jack the Ripper case, Jekyll and Hyde explored the sensationalist tone of crime in the 1800 s. In the earlier part of this century, crime was seen to be connected to the lower classes, with commentators such as Edwin Chadwick seen to believe that criminals were more likely to be working class. However, the term ‘criminal classes’ was more in use as the century progressed, the idea that criminals had a class of their own, and by the end of the century, the opinion moved towards in keeping with Social Darwinism, that criminals were suffering from a behavioural abnormality.
Outsider: the Victorian criminal Hyde is also shown to be frightening by his complete lack of mercy, remorse, or feeling. The adverb “calmly’ highlights showing his lack of remorse and compassion. By the brutal murder of Danvers Carew, he “startles London by a crime of singular ferocity. ” London had never seen anything of the like before. Hyde has some truly frightening qualities for a criminal: his “insensate cruelty” and his lack of any morality. His lust for violence is conveyed by “the transport of glee” with which he kills Carew, showing his malicious nature.
Outsider: sin and segregation The appearance of ugliness was also connected to that of evil, or sin. As an opposing image of the innocent cherubs that fill religious art and scripture, the abhorrence of disabled figures were rejected by society. However, there is an argument that perhaps the outsider was not entirely feared, as they were controlled through social restriction, and segregation as a way of ensuring that they were kept as ‘other. ’
Outsider: sin and segregation Utterson thinks that his repulsiveness is caused by “perhaps the radiance of a foul soul … that transfigures its clay continent. ” As the human form was believed to have been created by God, this idea implies that Hyde is going against divine conventions by interfering with God’s work. This idea is mentioned again with the description “really damnable”, implying that Hyde’s soul is beyond saving. Utterson believes to have witnessed “Satan’s signature upon [his ] face, ” suggesting that the devil had marked out Hyde for his own. However later, Henry Jekyll refers to Hyde as the “spirit of hell” itself.
Outsider: Hyde as morally insane Hyde exists as an outsider because not only can he not be viewed as fully masculine, and unable to fulfil his traditional role, he behaves in a way that discards all Victorian tradition and etiquette. James Pritchard, writing the Different Forms of Insanity defined it as a psychiatric condition in which wealthy and responsible adult males were seen as abandoning how they should behave according to their class. However, we must consider that Jekyll is viewed with concern by his peers as well- he isolates himself, begins to act with paranoia and suspicion, and his action as perceived as not as they should be for his profession or class. The more unexplained someone’s behaviour, the more likely it would be justified with insanity.
Outsider: Hyde as morally insane Whilst conversing with Mr Utterson he experiences a “flush of anger” and implies Hyde to be a “liar. ” Mr Utterson comments that this is not “fitting language, ” showing Hyde’s disregard for the rules, and his unwillingness to conform with society’s expectations. Later in the novella, Hyde is described as having “ a contempt for danger [and] a solution to the bonds of obligation. ”
Outsider: an advantage? Her new book, Karen Bourrier states, “In the Victorian novel, a person with a disability often has all of these powers of observation, as a privileged spectator who can’t participate in other arenas of life. ’ Does this suggest: That Jekyll/Hyde have an insight into society as a result of feeling like a spectator? That Hyde is strong mentally, as opposed to physically?
Is Hyde the outsider? Dr Lanyon is swayed by temptation that leads to his downfall, Enfield’s business and moral character are implied to be dubious and ambiguous, and even Utterson himself is seen as being “envious” of his criminal clients and is “humbled to the dust by the many ill things he had done. ” Stevenson uses Jekyll to describe humans as being “commingled out of good and evil” it could be argued that Hyde exists in all of humanity, therefore bringing him closer than expected.
Outsider: a closer analysis (Chapter two) ‘We have common friends, ’ said Mr Utterson. ‘Common friends!’ echoed Mr Hyde, a little hoarsely. ‘Who are they? ’ ‘Jekyll, for instance, ’ said the lawyer. ‘He never told you, ’ cried Mr Hyde, with a flush of anger. ‘I did not think you would have lied. ’ ‘Come, ’ said Mr 5 Utterson, ‘that is not fitting language. ’ The other snarled aloud into a savage laugh; and the next moment, with extraordinary quickness, he had unlocked the door and disappeared into the house. • Unable to behave as society would expect • Animalistic qualities that reflect an ‘unhuman’ quality to Hyde, implying he is both less human than others, but incapable of human qualities
Outsider: a closer analysis ‘There is something more, if I could find a name for it. God bless me, the man seems hardly human! Something troglodytic, shall we say? Or can it be the old story of Dr Fell? Or is it the mere radiance of a foul soul that thus transpires through, and transfigures, its clay continent? The last, I think; for, O 25 my poor old Harry Jekyll, if ever I read Satan’s signature upon a face, it is on that of your new friend!’ • Unable to behave as society would expect • Animalistic qualities that reflect an ‘unhuman’ quality to Hyde, implying he is both less human than others, but incapable of human qualities
Why provide this narrative for the role of outsider? ‘There is something more, if I could find a name for it. God bless me, the man seems hardly human! Something troglodytic, shall we say? Or can it be the old story of Dr Fell? Or is it the mere radiance of a foul soul that thus transpires through, and transfigures, its clay continent? The last, I think; for, O 25 my poor old Harry Jekyll, if ever I read Satan’s signature upon a face, it is on that of your new friend!’ • Unable to behave as society would expect • Animalistic qualities that reflect an ‘unhuman’ quality to Hyde, implying he is both less human than others, but incapable of human qualities
Jekyll and Hyde: to what extent is Hyde a frightening outsider?