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The essay sets out to explore in relation to the scientific advances of the moral boundaries crossed by Dr. Jekyll with his experiments. In addition, a comparison of this theme with Mary Shelley’s will be established. Moreover, a representation of the double personality of Jekyll and Hyde in relation to the Victorian values of morality and respectability is done.

To start, the novel blurs morality in the sense that it attempts to differ from the original human nature. In this sense, the novel talks of duality of the human personality. It depicts a human being as having two different personalities of good and evil. This means that human beings assume the duality nature; hence, they embody both good and evil characteristics. In that connection, the behavior of a given society is guided by norms and values that contradict this human nature. As a result, the author brings out a human being that can be separated from good and evil, hence, assuming the pure morality status. The inner desires that constitute the vice are separated from each person leading to life guided by the existing social codes. Dr. Jekyll exhibits the long repressed emotion that equates love to hate and is overwhelmed by impulse. As such, Jekyll does not accept any direct responsibility, which contradicts the real nature of a male human being. In normal society, a man is expected to take up the responsibilities that are masculine by nature and liable to the consequences thereafter. Traditionally, men were looked at as the heads of the household, and their association depicts some sought of masculinity compared with their female counterparts performing supportive and family chores in the household.

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The second experiment, which clearly points the scientific moral boundaries that Jekyll crosses while performing his experiment, is when he has decided to experiment on a physically healthy and mentally sound human being. The reason behind this cross as a moral boundary is that Jekyll did not, at any point, bothered on the dangers he could masquerade for others and himself. In a society, that is morally upright, the self and others should be considered in any undertaking. It amounts to immorality when an individual becomes less caring in a societal setting. In the same case, the use of the life human being to carry out an experiment at is considered morally wrong in society. This is because human beings are valued more than any other living beings. In that connection, human being should be accorded with the respect they deserve. Morality and respectability are two virtues that define a society in relation to behavior.

Moreover, Jekyll practices the unrespectable acts in isolation. This means that he does acts, which go against the morals of any society. As a result, the acts are performed in secret with less involvement of members of society, relatives, or friends. The disrespectful acts are done by Jekyll as Edward Hyde, and at the same time, Jekyll appears as a respectable and reputable doctor. The acts lead to Edward Hyde being despised by members of society. His appearance was at all times compared with Satan; this relates his acts to that of evil. Eventually, he is rejected by the members of society and disguised. In practice, society disguises individuals who have acted on contrary to the existing norms and values that define what is wrong and right in society. When individuals are pure evil, they become the outcasts in society, and as such they are very isolated from any activity or event that is carried out by society.

Comparison with Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

The two novels deal with scientific experiments that go against the laws of nature. They are dealing with the supernatural things that are unknown, hence, trying to play God. Dr. Jekyll wants to understand the dual personality of a human being as both evil and good. As such, he tries to separate good from evil because he thinks that if a man gets rid of the evil life this excludes all the unbearable. In this sense, Jekyll is trying to separate the intellectual from moral. On the other hand, Dr. Frankenstein in his experiments tries to create a balance between his social and intellectual interactions. His creations reflect his dark side that is the embodiment of his evil self. Both of them are science gone amok. They both refuse to take the responsibility for their experiments. This results in outcomes that are being disastrous, hence, hurting innocent. In addition, both scientists are overambitious. This is evident by the ability of their experiments controlling them as well as the deviation and lack of focus on the goal and eventually allowing their evil twin side to triumph.

Moreover, the two scientists isolate themselves from their close friends and relatives. This is evident when Dr. Jekyll throws away those people who are dear to him. In the case of Dr. Frankenstein, Victor pushes away his family. This indicates the extent to which both novels cross the moral boundaries. Nonetheless, the aspirations of both scientists are social, moral, as well as scientific. Dr. Jekyll tries to connect the two in a more precise manner with the relation between dual personalities, which Stevenson describes as a relation between the opposites.

The experiments conducted by two scientists go against societal ethics. Hence, Henry Jekyll and Victor Frankenstein conduct these experiments in secret without involving their close friends or relatives. Dr. Jekyll creates a side that gives him the opportunity to disguise himself (as Edward Hyde) from society. This ensured that he does all the evil acts while at the same time maintaining his reputation as a respectable doctor. On the other hand, Frankenstein attempts to play God. This is achieved by taking life as the dead flesh. After he has succeeded in doing so he keeps it as a secret; but the secret eats him, especially when his family is killed by the creature. As such, both scientists are lonely and isolated men.

From the two novels, neither Monster nor Hyde assumes the complete nature of human beings. Both exhibit something that makes the society members fear and reject them. The physical appearance of the monster is ugly, while Hyde attaches himself more to his soul as compared with his body. Hyde’s character is wicked, hideous, and, thus, it represents evil. Concerning Dr. Frankenstein, it is known for everyone of the ugly appearance of the monster. This appearance shocked a lot of people in the society to even shocking the monster when he has a glance of his appearance through the pool water reflection. The ugliness depicted by both Mr. Hyde and the creature represents the embodied evil personalities (Schoch 72).

Victorian Values of Morality and Respectability

The representation of the Victorian values of morality and respectability in the double personality of Jekyll and Hyde is evident throughout the novel. When Dr. Jekyll transforms himself into its shadow side, he experiences some sought of freedom, as Schoch (68) says, “I felt younger, lighter, and happier in the body; within I was conscious of a heady recklessness, a current of disordered sensual images running like a millrace in my fancy an unknown but not an innocent freedom of soul.” The freedom that he experiences is a make-public of his embodied desires and passions that have to be suppressed, even though he had been a respectable Victorian gentleman.

The attempt by Henry Jekyll to divide his personality into two halves was to disconnect the spheres of moral and immoral, or of evil and good. Jekyll notes that, “Hence it came about that I concealed my pleasures; and that when I reached years of reflection, and began to look around me and take stock of my progress and position in the world, I stood already committed to a profound duplicity of life” (58). This makes the idea of dual personality as the central part of the storyline, hence, representing the split between what Victorians outwardly saw and what they try to ignore and smother.

The twin part of Jekyll, that is, Mr. Hyde, represents the unrepressed desires of homosexuality. His deformed body depicts the homosexual nature of men, and this nature is branded by qualities that are immoral. The description of Mr. Hyde was difficult because there was something wrong concerning his appearance, ideally and as Enfield puts, “He is not easy to describe. There is something wrong with his appearance; something displeasing, something downright detestable. I never saw a man I so disliked, and yet I scarce knew why. He must be deformed somewhere; he gives a strong feeling of deformity, although I couldn’t specify the point” (Stevenson 12). As a result, the inability of the Victorians to discuss issues touching on homosexual represents their attempt to hide such issues beneath the surface of their societal morality.

Moreover, the nighttime routine of Mr. Hyde suggests the immoral side of his sexual life, as well as violent and horrific acts such as killing Sir Danvers Carew. This represents Hyde as a man who was seeking for bodily pleasures, since he was alone in the street at night. Nonetheless, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde are bachelors and their social interactions are purely connected with unmarried men. Utterson asks and questions people concerning the whereabouts of Hyde, and yet Victorians maintain that such behavior does not characterize a real man. A real man should be a courageous and respectable member of society.


Scientific advances are considered as the latest improvement developments in modern society. However, such developments should be morally in line with the ethics of society. As Victorians put it, morality and respectability are the central aspects of society’s ethics. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in the novel attempt to dispute on the law of nature, and, as a result, this leads to a disastrous impact on innocent members of society. The separation of evil and good as well as supernaturalism are both fictions. This is because they deal with unknown and are superficial by nature. As such, the inner passions and desires of individuals contradict with the physical appearance of persons. Therefore, people should be in the position to distinguish vice from virtue. The separation will make people’s lives bearable and worth living. The unjust will continue with their unspeakable acts, whereas the just will secure for freedom from the disrespectful acts.  

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