-Use the theory of (Freud’s) psychoanalysis to read the literary text of ‘Strange Case of Jekyll and Hyde’ by Stevenson and think about how it relates to samples by the articles (these will be posted under additional files). -provide a clear and arguable thesis. -offer close readings of individual passages of the literary text(s) it discusses. -Use ideas, concepts, and techniques from the critical theorist(s) working in psychoanalysis. -consider evidence from the text that might contradict or undermine your thesis (that is, you should anticipate and answer objections to your interpretations. )
-include a coda or conclusion in which you explain how your reading is psychoanalytic. Don’t worry if this self-reflection seems to be merely spelling out what should be clear to the paper’s readers; there are virtues to stating the obvious. -Include a final bibliography, in MLA format, that is not annotated and lists all the sources cited or referenced in the essay. This essay should address all these criteria, but needs an organizational structure dictated by its argument, not my questions; that is you should not simply ‘answer’ each of the above bullet points and expect to have an elegant and coherent essay.
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: A Freudian Analysis Abstract Stevenson’s Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde can be subjected to Freudian psychoanalytic theory to explore the ‘thorough and primitive duality of man’ and bring out its psychological significance. The story stimulates horror or primordial fear repressed in society as well as a respectable individual’s problem of coming to terms with the Id. Stevenson wrote this ‘fine bogey tale’ based on a strange nightmare, but its classic stature owes to his wife, Fanny who helped him transform it into a philosophical probe into the dark recesses of human soul.
The bright and the dark side of the same personality – Dr. Jekyll and Edward Hyde – are the Super-ego and the Id, according to Freudian theory of the superstructure. Though the forbidden pleasures are enjoyed by the Ego, Dr. Jekyll cannot participate in it. So, he invokes the Id in him – Edward Hyde — who enjoys his suppressed instincts and aggression to the hilt. But the wanton activities of the Id are put under a scanner by Utterson, Dr. Lanyon and Enfield, the puritan conscience of civilized society – the Super-ego. The ego of Dr.
Jekyll more and more enjoys the uninhibited escapades of his Id – Hyde’s trampling of the little girl, murder of the father figure, Sir Danvers Carew, but he is embarrassed to acknowledge Hyde’s existence owing to social respectability – ‘the imperious desire to carry my held high, and wear more than commonly grave countenance before the public’. In the tug-of–war between the Id and the Super-ego, it’s the Id that gets the better of the ego – a facade that tries to grapple the conflict between the instincts and civilization, and put an end to the ‘profound duplicity of life’.
Jekyll’s conscience, the weakened Super-ego grows too ineffective to control the Id’s domination and the penchant for ‘dual life’. According to Stephen heath, male sexuality is emphasized, women marginalized and consciousness overvalued. Elaine Showalter cites many case histories of multiple personality disorder. The fate of Dr. Jekyll’s experimentation with the Id has the same result as Frankenstein’s: the creation (devil) kills his creator. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: A Freudian Analysis
Robert Louis Stevenson’s Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde can be subjected to Freudian psychoanalytic theory to explore the ‘thorough and primitive duality of man’ and bring out its psychological significance. The story stimulates the horror or primordial fear repressed in society as well as a respectable individual’s problem of coming to terms with the Id. Stevenson wrote this ‘fine bogey tale’ based on strange nightmare, but its classic stature owes to his wife, Fanny who helped him transform it into a philosophical probe into the dark recesses of human soul.
But he suffers from a Freudian slip when we find that in his nouvella women play no significant role. They are marginalized either as little girl trampled, or a maid-servant, witness to Hyde’s crime. Only the male sexuality has been emphasized. Dr. Jekyll and Edward Hyde are the projection of Stevenson’s desire for a dual life – one by the day and another by the night. According to Elaine Showalter, fin-de-siecle was the golden age of literary and sexual double life, and ‘Stevenson was the fin-de-siecle laureate of the double life. ’(p. 106) She cites many case histories of multiple personality disorder.
A French young man named Louis V. who abruptly turned violent, greedy and quarrelsome apparently without reason from a normal boy of mild temperament. But under hypnosis it was revealed that he was frightened by a viper and was finally cured. While neurotics negatively repress their instincts, according to Freud, leading to nervous illness and hysteria, perverts more energetically put their desires into practice. (p. 120) She also makes a comparative study of many commercial film versions which inducted sensual women characters to satisfy Hyde’s libido.
But in Stevenson’s story, Hyde is not guilty of sexual offences, but of cruelty, hypocrisy and ‘a certain impatient gaiety of disposition. ’ (Stevenson. 60) Hyde represents the Id and struggles for freedom from the conditioning of society and religion – an expression of Stevenson’s revolt against his own strict upbringing. He is nothing but the embodiment of Jekyll’s subconscious repressed desires – a fact revealed by his sanction of Hyde’s forgery and ruthless acts of trampling, murder and his final will.
According to Stephen Heath, male sexuality is emphasized, women marginalized and consciousness overvalued. The Id is the great unconscious consisting of the deep-seated instinctive drive, the great reservoir of libido . It serves as the hinterland of passions and instincts. It is governed by pleasure and therefore is unmoral, illogical and full of repressed desires. Dr. Jekyll as Ego or facade, shuttles between his baser parts, the Id, and his conscience, the Super Ego. And in this tussle between the good and the evil, the Id destroys the good.
As his will power grows weaker, the Ego fails to return to his good self; slipping into the evil no longer requires his volition – it’s forced act. As the Ego, Jekyll is a respectable doctor, therefore cannot fulfill his secret, repressed desires. The Ego is the part of personality which deals with the external world. Its lower portion merges into the Id. While a part of it is conscious, its other part is unconscious. From it proceed the repressions, the holding in check of the superior strength of the Id.
Just as instincts play a great role in the Id, so perception plays an important role in the case of the Ego. It is plagued by three dangers: the external world, the libido of the Id and the severity of the Super-ego. An important function of the Ego is to induce the Id to modify or renounce some of its urges. Dr. Jekyll gradually loses control over the Id and we find Hyde go berserk every time he goes out in the world. When the Ego-Id conflict is not resolved, neurosis is the result. However, without the warfare of the Ego and the Id, life would be pretty dull and monotonous.
So Jekyll invokes the Id in him – Edward Hyde who indulges in his suppressed instincts and aggression to the hilt. In the introduction to Everyman’s Library edition Nicholas Rance connects Freud to Stevenson’s book: ‘Obviously, though, if Freud’s theories were correct, the phenomenon of the “return of the repressed” existed prior to being labeled, and Freud recurrently complimented poets, novelists and philosophers whose intuitions anticipated his theories. Freud does not seem to have read Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, but doubtless would have been interested.
’(Stevenson. p. xi) The image of the door recurs, sometimes withholding the secret of Hyde; and its breaking down signifies divulging it. According to Stephen Heath, Jekyll is Je (I) kill; Hyde, the hidden beast with his ape-like tricks. Jekyll lets out the beast because, according to Freud, those who comply with the demands of civilization beyond a point and struggle to be noble-minded, fall victims to neurosis. Jekyll’s drug unleashes the ‘suppression of perverse instincts’ and destroys the Super-ego.
As neurosis is the negative of perversions, men remain sexually healthy but immoral; but women trying to be high-minded turn neurotic. The metaphors associated with Hyde are those of abnormality, criminality, disease, contagion and death. ’(Showalter. 112) To learn about Jekyll-Hyde’s secret leads to death, as it destroys Dr. Layon, for example. Often multiple personality disorder patients are sexually abused children who shut a part of themselves in the unconscious. Another Freudian truth emerges with Jekyll turning hostile to the father figures.
As the Ego surrenders more and more to Id, Hyde attacks the portraits and the library of Dr. Jekyll, his creator, seeking total independence from him. In chapter four another elderly father figure, Sir Danvers Carew, the kind M. P’s horrible murder by Hyde is described : ‘And next moment, with ape-like fury, he was trampling his victim under foot, and hailing down a storm of blows, under which the bones were audibly shattered and the body jumped upon the roadway. (Stevenson. 23) The father figure stands for the authority against which the Id revolts and tries to remove it as a hindrance.
Hysterical men are effeminate. Homosexuality represented a doubled life. Stevenson himself dreamed of a doubled life – one of the day and one of the night. Many critics have remarked on the maleness or even monasticism of the story. Jekyll protects Hyde as a minion. The drawing up of Jekyll’s will to bequeath his properties is highly significant as it shows his real intention: he apprehends that returning from the Id to the Ego is becoming increasingly difficult and soon it may be impossible which is narrated: “in case of the decease of Henry Jekyll, M. D. , D. C. L. , LL. D. , F. R. S. , & c. , all his possessions were to pass into the hands of his ‘friend and benefactor Edward Hyde’; but that in case of Dr Jekyll’s ‘disappearance or unexplained absence for any period exceeding three calendar months’. (Stevenson. 10)
The merger of identities is further suggested by Jekyll’s instruction that Hyde should step into his shoes without further delay. His willingness to remain in the form of Hyde is an affirmation of Id’s dominance over the ego and the Super-ego.
Hyde guards himself against the suspicion and inquisitiveness of Utterson who is shocked to discover that Hyde has complete access to Jekyll’s house. The Id has eclipsed the Ego. Faced with scrutiny, Hyde goes underground to escape the public eyes. Yet the Super-ego in Jekyll is not totally annihilated. As he confesses in the final chapter: ‘Many a man would have even blazoned such irregularities as I was guilty of; but from the high views that I had set before me, I regarded and hid them with an almost morbid sense of shame.
’(Stevenson. 60) The Super-ego is and outgrowth of the Ego and its modification. It is always in close touch with the Id and acts as its representative in relation to the Ego. Its main function as conscience is to instill in the Ego a sense of guilt. The mature Ego remains subject to Super-ego domination. In this story there are moments when he decides to lead a normal life of the doctor and eschews ‘the thorough and primitive duality of man. ’