Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

re-read Srevenson's descriptions of the city at night. Describe the preveailing atmosphere?

is it that it makes it like sad... btw i have to write like 5 lines on this but i need help :)

Asked by
Last updated by jill d #170087
Answers 1
Add Yours

Most of the novel's action takes place in the city of London, sometime during the late 1800s. London is depicted as a dark and mysterious place, and many of the scenes take place at night on shadowy streets in the Soho section of London or in the daytime in heavy fog.

"Throughout the novel, Stevenson goes out of his way to establish a link between the urban landscape of Victorian London and the dark events surrounding Hyde. He achieves his desired effect through the use of nightmarish imagery, in which dark streets twist and coil, or lie draped in fog, forming a sinister landscape befitting the crimes that take place there. Chilling visions of the city appear in Utterson’s nightmares as well, and the text notes that

He would be aware of the great field of lamps of a nocturnal city. . . . The figure [of Hyde] . . . haunted the lawyer all night; and if at any time he dozed over, it was but to see it glide more stealthily through sleeping houses, or move the more swiftly . . . through wider labyrinths of lamp-lighted city, and at every street corner crush a child and leave her screaming.

In such images, Stevenson paints Hyde as an urban creature, utterly at home in the darkness of London—where countless crimes take place, the novel suggests, without anyone knowing." (1)

The City of London

"The novel begins on a London street that proves to act as central to much of the novel's action. The descriptions of the city vary, from idyllic and majestic to dangerous, mysterious and dark. In Victorian London, the modern city began to powerfully establish itself. In his afterword to the novel, Dan Chaon notes that Stevenson relied on the modern city in order to provide a realistic location in which Hyde could live. Chaon explains, "[Hyde] needs the anonymity of the masses, ad he needs the newly gaslit streets, the flickering nighttime landscape of pubs and brothels and beggards, the urban underworld that would later transform into the world of film noir." Thus, the growing and developing city of London gave Hyde a cloak in which to hide his despicable behavior, and gave him precious anonymous freedom. In this world, Hyde was able to walk through society unnoticed and disregarded by the many strangers who roamed the streets. Without this opportunity for absolute anonymity, Jekyll would never have been able to carry out his experiment. Thus, the bustling, growing and many layered city of London supported Jekyll's work and gave him the freedom to pursue his dual lives." (2)


(1)http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/jekyll/themes.html (2) http://www.gradesaver.com/dr-jekyll-and-mr-hyde/study-guide/major-themes/