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Good Vs. Evil In Treasure Island And Dr. Jekyll And Mr Hyde Essay, Research Paper
Throughout many works of literature, a prominent theme has been Good vs. Evil . Many authors base the plot of their novels around good guys fighting the villain .Robert Louis Stevenson contrasts good and evil through many of the characters thathe creates.
In the story The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde , Stevensoncontrasts the characters of Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde to further the theme Good vs. Evil . This theme is common to many of Stevenson s other works. In TreasureIsland, Stevenson uses the character Long John Silver to bring out this identicalidea. Long John Silver in many ways can be viewed the classic villain. But, whilereading this novel, one must be aware of the many other facets of Silver spersonality that bring out his good nature. In Treasure Island and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde , Robert Louis Stevenson incorporates the theme Good vs. Evil in both of these stories through the split personalities of both Long John Silver, and Dr. Jekyll.
Robert Louis Stevenson s theme of Good vs. Evil is prominent in the novel Treasure Island. This story begins by introducing the protagonist of the novel Jim Hawkins. Jim works at an inn, which his mother owns. An old buccaneer is staying there by the name of Billy Bones who possesses a mysterious sea chest, which
many people seem to want. While he was staying at the inn, many people attempted to steal the chest from the buccaneer. Billy Bones is a very heavy drinker, which may have been the cause of his death while staying at the inn. After the death, Jim s curiosity for the old chest overwhelms him. Jim opens up the chest and finds to his pleasure an old treasure map. Jim immediately brings the map to
Dr. Livesey, a friend of Jim s family. Dr. Livesey and Jim decide to gather up a crew and sail to Treasure Island aboard the Hispanola to find the buried treasure. While looking for a cook, Dr. Livesey comes across a man by the name of Long John Silver. Because of Silver s vast knowledge of the sea and his great cooking, he is named the head chef of the ship. Silver has other plans in mind though. As
soon as he boards the ship, Jim sees him as a nice, intelligent man. This all quickly changes as he overhears Silver talking about heading a mutiny against the captain and the other crew members and taking the treasure for himself. As soon as they get to Treasure Island, Jim and his comrades escape from the wrath of Silver and hide out in a bunker in the forest. Silver soon realizes this and declares war on Jim and his men. While exploring the forest, Jim comes across a man by the name of Ben Gunn. Ben is the only inhabitant of Treasure Island, and was marooned there three long years earlier. Ben decides to stay hidden in the woods while Jim goes back to the bunker. While at the bunker, Jim and his men are repeatedly attacked by Silver. The next day, Jim boards the Hispanola and beaches it miles down shore
so no one can find it but him. Silver is greatly angered by this and captures Jim along with his men. They happily trade Silver the treasure map for their freedom, but when Silver goes to look for the treasure, he finds that someone has taken it. What Silver did not know was that earlier in the day, Ben Gunn had discovered the
treasure and had hidden it in his cave. Jim and his men now have the treasure, and all of Silver s men leave after they get in a fight. Jim and his men take Silver aboard to reach civilization and to have him imprisoned. But when they reach shore, Silver grabs two handfuls of treasure and fleas, never to be seen again.
From the beginning of the novel, the reader gets an evil connotation from Silver s character. Although Jim likes Silver, the reader knows that Silver is the one legged man that the buccaneer previously had warned Jim about. By the old buccaneer asking Jim to keep an eye out for Long John Silver, the reader is aware of the importance of Silver without ever being introduced to his character. look out for the seafaring man with one leg (Treasure p5). This is the first sign of Silver s evil. The old buccaneer, who seems very brave otherwise, is deeply petrified by even the thought of Silver. When Jim finally meets Silver, he does not know that he was the man that the buccaneer was warning him of, and is in awe of
his Silver s abundant knowledge of the sea. When they finally aboard the ship, Jim learns that Silver is also an amazing cook. What Jim doesn t know is that Silver has been devising a plan to head a mutiny against the rest of the ship. This is only the beginning of the many horrible things that Silver does to ultimately possess the
By the time they reach the island, Silver has already shown his true colors by killing one of his own men who disobeyed him. Soon afterwards he strikes again. all of a sudden, a cry like the sound of anger and then one horrid, long drawn scream (Treasure p76). Here, Silver kills another one of his own men in the forest.
Silver s distorted ethics are displayed here once more. He puts money as a top priority for himself, way above the value of any one human life. This shows his extreme greed, and the lack of remorse for any of his fellow shipmates.
While examining the character of Long John Silver one must see his good side also. He is capable of being generous, kind and reasonable, as is demonstrated throughout the novel (Kiely p1). Before Silver even first boards the Hispanola, he immediately begins to help with the many tasks of the voyage. Well, sir, I thought I had only found a cook, but it was a crew I had discovered
(Treasure p59). Here, the Squire declares his gratitude for Silver for helping him find an entire crew. The Squire does not know much about the sea, and Silver took it upon himself to lend his vast knowledge to him.
Silver soon applies this knowledge in the education of Jim. On our little walks along the quays, he made himself the most interesting companion, telling me of the different ships that we passed by (Treasure p71). Here, Jim shows his gratitude for Silver teaching him the many facets of the sea. Silver sees himself in
young Hawkins, and feels obligated to teach him what he knows (McLynn p43).
Silver teaches Jim in great detail many things about sailing ships and the sea so
that Jim could put it to further use. Silver soon feels very attached to Jim. As for Long John, there is no doubt that he regarded Jim Hawkins with paternal
affection (Kielsy p1). This is evident throughout the novel, until eventually he even saves Jim s life when one of the shipmates attempts to kill him.
By Silver saving Jim, it created a war between both sides of Silver, both the good and the evil. It also taught the other sailors not to cross Silver, or death is sure to come. Throughout the novel, Silver s two sides were in constant disagreement
about what decisions to make. While it is evident through Silver s actions that the evil side came through many times, it is clear that his good side truly came through by the way he treats young Jim Hawkins.
Stevenson s theme of Good vs. Evil is not unique to Treasure Island. This theme emerges as the central idea of the plot in The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde . Before one can understand the Evil of Mr. Hyde, the story of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde must be explained. At the beginning of the
novel, Mr. Utterson, a lawyer, and Mr. Enfield, his friend, are taking their customary Sunday morning walk, in London, when they pass a gloomy, empty house in a narrow street. Mr. Enfield tells his friend that one morning he had witnessed a horrible accident at the doorway of the old building. An ugly looking man, who was short and slightly deformed, had collided with a little girl. He was seen deliberately trampling over her body. Enfield and other bystanders forced the man, who said his name was Hyde, to pay damages to the child s family. Hyde entered the house with a key and came back with a check. The check, to Mr. Enfield s surprise, was a genuine.
The main conflict is that both Mr. Utterson and Mr. Enfield do not understand where Mr. Hyde gets the key. Utterson knows a little about Hyde and his strange connection to Dr. Jekyll, a respectable doctor. After returning to his house, Utterson reads over Dr. Jekyll s will. The will states that all of Dr. Jekyll s possessions were to be passed on to Mr. Hyde. It also contains a clause that explains that in case of
Henry Jekyll s disappearance, for any period exceeding three calendar months, Mr. Hyde should receive all of his possessions. Utterson decides to make some investigations. He first calls Dr. Jekyll s lifelong friend, Dr. Lanyon. It appears to Utterson that their friendship has been severely strained. Dr. Lanyon says that Jekyll
is no longer the man he had once been. He then finds Mr. Hyde standing in front of the deserted house. He looks at Utterson angrily but before he disappeared into the house he gives him Jekyll s address.
About one year later, Sir Danvers Carew, a client of Utterson s, is found murdered. The maid of Carew recognizes the man as Hyde, since, he had once visited Sir Danver Carew. Utterson brings the police to Mr. Hyde s home where they find that Hyde has disappeared. Dr. Jekyll shows Utterson and the police a letter signed by Hyde, in which he wrote that he was going away forever. Hyde leaves half of a cane which Carew was beaten with at the scene of the crime. The
other half was found at Hyde s home. A handwriting expert told Utterson that Hyde s letter was identical to that of Jekyll s.
The climax occurs when Enfield and Utterson are walking passed the deserted house once again. They suddenly realize that this is an additional wing to Dr. Jekyll s home, used as a laboratory. This explains why Hyde had a key. This had been the main conflict in the beginning of the story. They begin to realize that Hyde
is possibly the evil side of Jekyll. They also see Dr. Jekyll in the window of the building as they look up. Dr. Jekyll sees them both and quickly shuts the shades.
The end of the story comes when Jekyll s butler, Poole, calls on Utterson one night. He is upset because his master, Jekyll, has locked himself up in the laboratory for a week. He will only write mysterious notes asking the butler to go throughout London looking for certain drugs. Utterson and Poole think that Jekyll has been murdered and that the killer is still in the room with him. With this in mind, they break down the door to find Hyde dead on the floor with a bottle of poison. There is a note beside him which tells Utterson to open Lanyon s letter which Utterson had received a while back. This letter solves the whole mystery. Utterson
soon realizes that Hyde is indeed the evil side of Jekyll. After Jekyll had been taking the drug for a while, Hyde had been becoming the stronger side of him. In spite of his efforts, Jekyll was not successful in banishing Hyde. Eventually, he was not able
to get the drugs to transform back into his good side. He felt there was nothing else to do but to kill himself.
In this story, the villain and the good guy are essentially the same person. Although Dr. Jekyll is good at heart, his other form, Mr. Hide, is the epitome of evil. Hyde first reveals himself as an evil man at the beginning of the novel when he knocks over a young girl and severely tramples her. After he tramples her, he does
not even stop to help the injured girl lying face down in the road. I thought it was madness says Enfield (Jekyll p9). Enfield and the other witnesses are shocked by the lack of remorse that Mr. Hyde feels for this act of brutality. Hyde continuously commits horrible acts to everyone that he encounters until he eventually murders Sir
Danvers Carew. This crime is a perfect example of Hyde s inability to smother his need to sin. Hyde immediately thinks of saving his own life after the murder, and flees from the public s eye. Here, Hyde clearly portrays himself as an evil character, having no remorse for the numerous sins that he commits.
Although Jekyll is the same physical person as Hyde, mentally they are worlds apart. Jekyll would never hurt a soul and is a very intelligent and kind man. Knowing Jekyll s personality one must wonder why he consistently changed himself into Hyde. Jekyll s abundant knowledge of chemical compounds fueled his curiosity
to explore the unknown until he could no longer withstand it. Even before he had ever changed himself into Hyde, he knew that the elixir he constructed was potent enough to do unimaginable things to him. I hesitated long before I put this theory to the test of practice but the temptation of discovery so singular and profound at last
overcame the suggestions of alarm with a strong glow of courage, I drank off the potion (Jekyll p50). Because Jekyll can not recall any actions that he commits while in the form of Mr. Hyde, he does not know the severity of his crimes until he learns of the murder of Sir Danvers Carew. When Jekyll learns of this, he is completely
devastated. This is where Good vs. Evil emerges as the central theme of the story. Jekyll, by this time, is perpetually trying to fight off unwanted transformations into Hyde. These unwanted transformations occur more frequent until Jekyll is one
with Hyde, not able to return to his natural state. After attempting numerous times to reverse the transformation, Jekyll sees no possible way to return. Here, then I bring the life of the unhappy Henry Jekyll to an end (Jekyll p62).
Henry Jelkyll s character is one full of uncanny genius, stubborn curiosity, and towards the end of the story unfortunately, despair. Hyde s character is the complete opposite, one of malignancy and immorality. Jekyll s genuine righteousness is exemplified by his own struggle with Mr. Hyde and eventually with
his self-destruction. He realizes that Hyde will not cease his continuous onslaught of crimes, and pays the ultimate price for the well being of his friends and community.
While one may say that suicide is an act of selfishness, Jekyll s suicide must be looked upon as an honorable discharge from his life of woe.
These two stories discuss the continuous battle between right and wrong which we encounter every day. Whether at work, school, or on a ship hunting for treasure, the choice between right and wrong will be made. Stevenson composed both of these pieces with that very idea in mind. The split personalities of Jekyll and Silver are fictional, but they represent the many daily temptations which all of us must resist every day of our lives.
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