2019 Student Research Conference:
32nd Annual Student Research Conference

Addiction, Criminality, and Masculinity within the Gothic Tradition in Robert Louis Stevenson's The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde


Dalaney D. Plott
Dr. Hena Ahmad, Faculty Mentor

This essay will examine Stevenson’s use of Gothic literary techniques to critique Victorian concepts of, addiction, criminality and masculinity. Stevenson follows the gothic tradition through his use of darkness and symbolic imagery. Dr. Jekyll is addicted to the evil lifestyle of Mr. Hyde. Mr. Hyde works outside the social classes as neither an affluent gentleman nor a member of the working class. Dr. Jekyll refuses to take responsibility for his actions while Mr. Hyde, including the murder of Sir Carew.  Dr. Jekyll's insistence of insanity during the murder explores the Victorian development of the insanity plea. The lack of female characters and the male bachelor characters creates an overwhelmingly masculine novella and contributes to confusion between the public and private spheres. The evil-doings of Mr. Hyde are never explicitly stated but implicit hyper-heterosexuality and silent homosexuality are present, allowing Dr. Jekyll sexual freedom by acting outside the gentleman class expectations.

Keywords: English, Gothic, Victorian, Masculinity, Human Behavior

Topic(s):English

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 105-4
Location: BH 241
Time: 9:15

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