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REFERENCE LIST Furthermore, to conclude, Both Wilde and Stevenson seem tobe stating that the existence of doubles was inevitable due to social pressuresand these doubles had psychological consequences that manifested in differentforms. “Each of us has heaven and hell in him” (Wilde 2010, pg150) “all humanbeings as we meet them, are commingled out of good and evil.” (Stevenson 1994,pg73). The co-existence of dark and light was natural but the temptation tooverly indulge, born out of excessive restraint, as if bingeing in secret thusit created an imbalance that had rippling effects. In Wilde’s text it’s the transition to the sheltered life signifiedby the ednic setting of Basil’s dwellings into the darker shady parts of Londonsuch as the opium dens. Wilde at the beginning uses floriography to create themise en scene which cocoons the easily tainted Dorian who needs Basil (who is arguablyhis super ego) to overt his gaze from the bad, “Just turn your head a littlemore to the right, Dorian, like a good boy” (Wilde 2010, pg20).
The direction in which he is urged to turn hishead can be read as a biblical allusion as good is aligned with the right handof God. However, Lord Henry (the id) is more influential, potentially because ofhis higher social stature (Marxism). Thus, it results in Dorians demise as hehas expeditions into seedy places “exquisite poison in the air…grey monstrousLondon…Sordid sinners” (Wilde 2010, pg48). Thesetting is anthropomorphised making it more eerie and it foregrounds the heightsof indiscretions that Dorian will reach “There were opium dens where the memoryof old sins could be destroyed by the madness of sins that were new.” (Wilde2010, pg176).
One may say that thisoutcome was inevitable as, according to Hegel’s idea of the dialectic which ispart of Marxism, conflicting forces forge new ideas or situations thus Doriansnatural innocence would have to morph into a sinful character linking back tothe previous assertion of Marx of being products of given situations (Barry2017).Another way in which doubles are portrayed is through a formof pathetic fallacy whereby the protagonists’ essence manipulates the appearanceof their surroundings. In Stevenson’s text, the way in which the scientific infiltratesthe domestic “The quiet lamplight, a good fire glowing and chattering on thehearth, the kettle singing its thin strain…never to the fire, the things laidout in the quietest room…but for the glazed presses full of chemicals” (Stevenson1994, pg56) shows the dichotomy between the natural and the synthetic.
The description gives a sense of normalcyhowever the semiotics juxtapose the deeds. The commingling of the scientific whicharguably was a method for Dr Jekyll to play God by attempting to alter humannature itself and the homey environment can be interpreted as a way of Jekyll’sseamless decent into darkness thus highlighting the binaries of good and evil.The idea of this moral antithesis is further reinforced by the natural imagery “fullof premature twilight” (Stevenson 1994, pg45).
The use of twilight issignificant as it is a time where day and night co-exist almost as if a borderbetween the two. This also highlights the close proxemics between the two andthe ease of tipping the scale onto one side. “This brief condescension to evilfinally destroyed the balance of my soul.
” (Stevenson 1994, pg82) This links tothe Marxist Perspective as well as the psycho analytical reading as we see themore docile that Dr Jekyll attempted to be to fit the societal mould to morebored he became which meant Hyde was summoned more and more till the depraved seizedcontrol. Arguably in psychoanalytical terms, Hyde is the id and Jekyll is thesuperego but by separating the two he fractures the ego and unleashes a forcelike natural disaster. “…All of a sudden he broke out in a great flameof anger…clubbing him to the earth…hailing down a storm of blows.” (Stevenson 1994, pg30).
“Yes, life had decided for him-life, and his own curiosityabout life. Eternal youth, infinite passion, pleasures subtle and secret, wildjoys and wilder sins- he was to have all these things. The portrait was to bearthe burden of his shame: that was all.” (Wilde 2010, pg102).The text follows the edifice of a classic tragedy as outlined by Aristotle andthis quote encapsulates the essence of its progression. The form of this phrasedepicts the trajectory of his dianoia and life. It announces his hamartia, asupercilious and hubris nature instigated by his fixation with indefinite youthand beauty. After the battering of his soul as part of the Faustian pact hefalls down a path of what Calvinists would describe ‘predestined damnation’ as hisexistence spirals into a state of free fall precipitated by the divine.
Similarly, the language in the phrase becomes exceedingly hyperbolic after the hiatus “life haddecided for him-life,” where he accepts the absolution from the burden ofcarrying the weight of his sins as the portrait would bear it all. This idea ofhis tragic flaw being the cause of his behaviour can be supported by the assertionsof Max Nordau’s degeneration theory which states that ego mania and mysticismwere the two predominant factors that derived the kind of degenerate behaviour exemplifiedby Dorian who lives a life of iniquity (Nordau n.d.). However, the analysing ofthe Faustian pact and it implications introduces the notion of the other which isignored by the Marxism which is one of its criticisms and where it is lackingwithin this reading as the other is, arguably, strongly present in Wilde’stext. (Barry 2017).Their actions were more so driven by the ideologies set bythose with power. We see the text reflecting a society where, as Marx said, “Menand women make their own history but not in conditions of their choosing.
” (Barry2017, page 187) Furthermore, this links with the psychoanalytical readingbecause this stance likens to Jacque Lacan’s mirror phase where definition of one’sself is formed through the reflective gaze. (Lacan et al. 2008). Arguably theprotagonists are shaped by the reflection of themselves they see when they gazeinto the societal situation. This may be why Wilde chooses to use the artisticsymbolism of the aesthetic movement to illustrate his message as he is aimingto usurp the power that political and social constructs had over onesperceptions, ideas and behaviour. The movement aimed to enjoy art and allthings beautiful as art rather than interlocking it with an undercurrent ofhidden meanings and using it to exercise political philosophy which arguablyused to control the masses. This is can be seen by the lack of control Dorianstarts to feel the more he becomes aware of the consequences of having theportrait.
(Duggan. 2018) Furthermore, as contemporary readers we begin to see arippling effect of the struggling within the upper class trickling into thelower class and instigating an inner conflict. (Barry 2017) The socialcommentary by both writers while being understood and received as a message ofthe dangers in overly restricting one’s self and denying the existence of ourinnate primal desires, would have received a ghastly critical response from theVictorian audience due to the desire to maintain the purity they thought to possess.One may say that we are more understanding due to modern findings that show thecapability of man to fall victim to their darker innate desires such as ‘StanfordPrison Experiment’ and the cruelty displayed by those with power in GuantanamoBay and Abu Ghraib. However to take this stance is to imply they did not knowbetter which is arguably false as when we look at the commentary of Ian Rankin where he enquiredabout ” Whether civilization was just a thin veneer” in relation to Stevenson’stext and John Hunter (a preceding rendition of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde from the seventeenhundreds) where John Hunter (a doctor and surgeon) was a highly venerated hostand member of society by day but procurer of “fresh cadavers” behind the veryhome in which he paraded as a honourable member of society, all in the name of science;we see the purposeful covering up of indiscretions which indicates the knowledgebetween right and wrong. (Rankin 2018) Similarly, in Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, the diminutive zoomorphicdepiction of Mr Hyde can be read as a accumulative manifestation of Dr Jekyll’s(and thus Victorian people’s) fears. The use of the traditional gothic portrayalof grotesque monsters is utilised but the level artistry and meaning is elevatedby incorporation of the psyche.
One may assert that Hyde was a projection of Victorianfears not only to be lacking in physical beauty but that their inner mostgrotesquery could be seen on the surface. “Mr Hyde was pale and dwarfish Hegave an impression of deformity without any nameable malformation he had adispleasing smile he had …. a sort of murderous mixture of timidity andboldness he spoke with a husky whispering and somewhat broken voice all thesewere points against them but not all of these together could explain thehitherto unknown disgusting, loathing and fear which Mr Utterson regarded him.” (Stevenson 1994, pg23). The “unnameable malformation” and “unkowndisgust” indicates a subconscious instinctual recognition of a presence thatthreatens the very foundation of their lives as Hyde is a representation ofcharacteristics that could usurpany noble’s esteemed stature.
Within the texts we see the physical doppelganger being themost ostentatious symbol of the double. The symbiotic duplicate is a tangible manifestationthe inner most corruption of the protagonists who are arguably social constructs.Dorian and Dr Jekyll are members of the higher part of society, those who wouldarguably be most affected by the stringent moral code as their fall from gracewould be more notable. One may then assert that the texts where aimed at thebourgeoisie as a social critique about the lack of acceptance of our innateduality which is heightened by moral monopoly. “Well as soon as you’re dry, youshall be varnished, and framed and sent home. Then you can do what you likewith yourself” (Wilde 2010, PG 29). The lexical phrasing of this quote isemblematic of the manner of life the Dorian, and Victorians in general indulgedin.
The symbolisms depict the way in which they part took in less thanhonourable activities in the privacy of confines (the frame) then glossed overby a show of refinement (varnished). This runs parallel with the context with examplesof the middle classes going into lower class areas under the cover of darknessto revel in the carnal wants at peep shows, brothels and dens even if it be forthe brief time frame of the night. The peep shows of the Victorian erademonstrate a type of unintentional representation as, once more, they were restricted in the extentto which they could attain fulfilment, being damned to be voyeurs to those who daredto transcend the boundaries set by the pretentious aristocracy. In the Fin-de-siècle of the Victorian epoch there was a strongessence of trepidation that had infiltrated and engulfed the society due to thescrutiny they perceived from the rest of the world as well as from those at thepinnacle of the hierarchal society. With the aggrandizement of the empire andtechnological progression the Victorians felt a new fear make itself known, a figurativeentity that stemmed from social anxieties. This arguably is explained by Marx’smodel of society whereby the superstructure of ideas, culture, art and religion(for the Victorians, the definition of morality, right and wrong and thestandard of good living) are determined by the economic base of materialproduction, distribution and exchange (acquisition by the empire of wealth andgoods) (Barry 2017).
This can then be interlinked with a psychoanalyticalreading as both theories contain covert and overt spheres as well as one(Marxism theory on class and mass control) having an effect on the other (the psychicof fear). Marxism states that struggles between two classes and theexploitation of one by the other leads to alienation (Barry 2017), and that wouldhave had an impact on the Victorians behaviour and psyche. This is arguablywhere the social anxieties stemmed, fear of alienation in a society where the wealthynobility sat at the pinnacle of the hierarchy ruled with a moral iron fist. Tofall from their grace was to condemn yourself to a form of living death.
Solitude, isolation, out casting. That was the Victorians biggest fear, thattheir hidden transgressions, their darker selves would have them deemedunworthy. Thus, the inception of duality and doubles within multiple facets ofthe society.