Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Interiors, Thoroughfares, and Menace: The Significance of Setting in Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde 10th Grade
Stevenson makes effective use of setting in the novel, not only to establish mood but also to develop the novel’s characters and thematic concerns through the use of symbolism. The novel is set in London, and Stevenson creates a menacing impression of this urban setting by portraying the cityscape as labyrinthine and shrouded in fog. This pervasive fog, which goes so far as to penetrate Jekyll’s cabinet room, serves to symbolise the insidiousness of the wickedness that ultimately overwhelms him, as well as representing the perplexity in which Utterson and the reader find themselves as they try to discover his secret. Many of the novel’s scenes take place at night, which develops the motifs of darkness and concealment, and Stevenson makes use of pathetic fallacy to create a gloomy and mysterious mood. He also employs a number of traditional gothic tropes, such as the full moon that appears on the night of Sir Danvers Carew’s murder or the wild wind that blows on the night that Utterson and Poole break down the door of Jekyll’s cabinet room. The distinction between day and night in the novel serves to develop Stevenson’s concern with duplicity and hypocrisy, as a contrast is drawn between the respectable daytime pursuits of...
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