Psychoanalytical Concepts in Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
Psychoanalytical Concepts in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Robert Louis Stevenson’s novella “The strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” perfectly mirrors the doubling within a personality and also shows us the viciousness within every person. In this context I want to prove throughout this essay, that Freud’s psychoanalytical concepts can be applied onto the main character of the story. Furthermore I want to draw a conclusion, what this means in general to mankind. As the ongoing story reveals Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde are not only closely related to each other, they even share the same human body.
Dr. Jekyll a doctor with clear intellect, of great guise, widely valued and law-abiding and on the other side an ugly person, with great fear and without containment, dwarf like appearance, and “being inherently malign and villainous”(qtd. in Stevenson 91). This shows the model of the human psyche that Freud once discovered. The “super ego, which contains the social and cultural norms” and the id “which harbours the drives. ” (qtd. in EAL 137).
The former can be primarily seen in Dr. Jekyll, who is a cultivated, in the society integrated person and the latter in Mr. Hyde, who is driven by wishes hidden in the depth of his personality The rational part of Dr. Jekyll, the ego tries to mediate between those two. Hence he always tries to conceal his evil character of society by running to his laboratory and taking his medicine. His state of being torn between the lines becomes clearer through the words: “that in the agonized womb of consciousness these polar twins should be continuously struggling” (qtd. in Stevenson 83). Dr. Jekyll invented the drug primarily as he was of the strong opinion “that man is not truly one, but truly two” (qtd. Stevenson 82).
For his scientific and personal purposes, he wanted to separate those two personalities that each of them develops his own way. His intention grew from the conflict every man has to fight, namely between individual needs and social norms-the fight of the id and the super ego. This drug is an interference into the human psyche and makes him aware of his evil thoughts, his subconciousness and seems to unleash all “bonds of obligation”(qtd. in Stevenson 86). He seems to feel pleasure about his new careless identity. Repressed feelings were unleashed and personified, what brings along a feeling of freedom for him.
Psychologically this phenomenon is called the return of the repressed. Desires that are hidden under the surface of a person come up to the surface. This can be seen in the scene of the window, where Dr. Jekyll more and more disappears, because he is missing his medicine and Mr. Hyde gets control. The temptation to be careless and follow ones drives excites the doctor so much that he is building a new parallel life. It not only plays a role within the mind of a person, as in real life, it even appears after a metamorphosis in a completely new character-Mr. Edward Hyde.
The uncanny, which lies in every person’s subconsciousness, is sth. hat is familiar and secret and at the same time uncanny (qtd. in EAL p. 139). Hence he also feels great anger after the transformation, as if he becomes aware of his hidden and anxious feelings in his mind. But as things get out of his control the super-ego seizes his conscious and tries to mediate between the id and the super ego by taking medicine. But after a while the temptation to satisfy his drives and the metamorphosis appears incidentally. In the end Mr. Hyde commits suicide not able to control his drives as the only possible solution to the problem, because he is not able to take over the control by his ego-Dr. Jekyll.
In real life everyone seems to have a bad sight of his personality that is hidden in the depth of everyone. But people, deep-rooted in society are highly controlled by the norms of society. But this story shows, if feelings are repressed they might arouse in a person’s mind in such a terrible way one day that dreadful events might follow as often seen on the news. There are people who are able to repress their drives for their whole life, but some of them are not. These are potential candidates to commit crimes.