Each individual has a little evilness deep down inside of them, whether one would like to admit it or not. One critic states that, “Mr. Stevenson’s idea, his secret (but a very open secret) is that of the double personality in every man” (Lang). Dr. Jekyll finds out that a man can be one person, but have two totally different identities. One could say that Mr. Hyde would be like Dr. Jekyll’s shadow (Stevenson). There is a problem with having two different identities, people would go practically insane and lose their mind.
A cause of insanity would be from the right side of the brain to overthrow the duties of the left side of the brain (Stiles). Another critic said that, “there is a split in man’s psyche between ego and instinct, between civilization and nature, and the spilt can never be healed” (Oates). This book was set during the Victorian time period (Perkins). In The Strange Case of Dr.
Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Robert Stevenson uses the dual brain theory to reflect the utilitarianism and evangelicalism with parts of Victorian Science.
In The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Dr. Jekyll drinks a potion that turns him into Mr. Hyde, his alter ego. When he takes the potion he gets a sense of freedom that he has not had before. Dr. Jekyll gives the reader some good insight into his darker side of nature. During the Victorian time period, nineteenth century, there were two main ideologies utilitarianism and evangelicalism. Jeremy Bentham, created his own philosophy about utilitarianism, which was the one that the Victorian people used during this time period. The people who believed in utilitarianism are mostly concerned about their happiness and they try to avoid anything to cause pain to themselves.
Evangelicalism is slightly different, they mostly focus on their lives and helping their followers become saved. The evangelicalism people had a very strict policy of how to be able to get forgiveness from their sins. A critic mentions, “Hyde clearly reflects the utilitarian devotion to hedonism and its lack of allowance for compassion, mercy, and love” (Perkins). In The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Stevenson shows the impact utilitarian and evangelical can have on the common people. Stevenson uses the negative side of utilitarian and evangelical through the character Dr. Jekyll as the protagonist, and Mr. Hyde as antagonist (Perkins).
There so are many versions of the double brain theory, the most recent one would be that the right and left hemispheres of the brain can function by themselves. Everyone has two completely formed brains, if one side shuts down due to brain injury, the other hemisphere can take the other ones place. As Elaine Showalter talks briefly about how Harrington feels about The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, she states that depending on the gender proves what hemisphere is more dominant.
A famous critic said, “ The left brain was associated with masculinity, whiteness, and civilization, while the right brain was the supposedly inferior or feminine seat of emotions, instincts, and the unconscious” (Stiles). One would say that Dr. Jekyll had the characteristics of a left brain, while his alter ego had all of the right brain characteristics. So many of the double brain theories came from the Victorian more common race or gender. Many Victorian scientists believe that the soul would have to be double, and the brain will be acting in place of the soul.
In The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Stevenson, along with the Victorian scientist, looks deep into the study of humans being double by birth even if they are incredibly healthy (Stiles). Dr. Jekyll is his right handed and his alter ego is left handed just like their hemispheres. With each of them writing with different hands, this shows to the readers how the two hemispheres work together and also have different personalities. Hemisphere imbalance is said to have symptoms such as left-handedness, this was diagnosed by physicians. Many Victorian scientists have debated on whether or not hemisphere balance could be cured.
Many biological determinists, including Henry Maudsley, said that there was not a cure for hemisphere imbalance. Some biological determinists declared that one way to straighten out their hemisphere imbalance would be to be mentally ill. Dr. Jekyll relies so much on the left hemisphere, and he quickly shifts to the right hemisphere creating the brain symmetry to got off guard and this leads him into a mental illness or to commit crimes. There is also many exercises to make one or both sides of the brain stronger. In 1874, a physiologist suggested that school children should try to advance hemispheric balance by taking ambidextrous training.
By strengthening either side of the brain hemispheres, there is a much larger blood flow to the more dominant side of the brain (Stiles). One critic states that, “Stevenson’s protagonist evidently lacks both the early training and the self-regulatory ability necessary to balance his hemispheres” (Stiles). The protagonist in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde does not have self managing and childhood learning to be able to try to balance out the two hemispheres (Stiles). In conclusion, the different perspectives Stevenson uses, brings out the double brain theory through utilitarianism and evangelicalism with Victorian science.
The two major theories, utilitarianism and evangelicalism help show the difference between Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The double brain theory shows that humans are all different in many ways, whether the brain is more dominate on the right or left side. Many scientist thought that the double brain theory could be cured, and it turns out that they were completely wrong. Also, Dr. Jekyll shows that not everyone is content with their lives and wants to be something different than they are. This book goes to show that people can seem like a trustworthy person, but all in all can turn out to be evil or not who one thinks they really are.