The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde reflects the concepts of the dual nature of human beings. Stevenson uses different literary devices in the description of Jekyll’s laboratory to attract the readers to understand the viewpoints of split personality in people. This essay intends to analyze the literary devices used by Stevenson in the description of Dr. Jekyl’s laboratory in The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, to reflect upon the complex attitudes, dilemmas, and corruption caused by the dual nature of human personality.
Stevenson uses the setting of Jekyll’s laboratory symbolically by including various literary devices in the literary excerpt. The literary devices used in this text are symbolism, foreshadowing, circumstantial, imagery, allusion, and metaphorical. Symbolism is the main literary device that is consistently used throughout the text to reflect upon the corruption and dilemma caused by split personality. The foreshadowing technique is used to set the mind of readers to think about the upcoming events by giving vivid details of the laboratory. Circumstantial details of Dr. Jekyl’s laboratory, theatre, and room are provided to give an elaborated picture of the setting to the reader. The reader can imagine all the minute and circumstantial details of the setting by reading such alluding description. Stevenson uses imagination to describe Dr. Jekyl’s laboratory in a horrific and dusky manner. The cold and deadly sick Dr.Jekyl is shown with imagery and circumstantial detail to reflect allusion for the reader that something bad is coming up. Dark and vivid imagery is used in describing the theatre area. These lines “now lying gaunt and silent” and “dim falling of light” (Stevenson) reflect the metaphorical expressions used to describe the theatre area as a symbolic representation of Dr. Jekyll’s personality. The allusion is used to make the readers ready for something dark coming up. In this case, it was the cold corpse of Dr. Jekyl.
In a nutshell, Stevenson uses intense and gloomy elaborating details to get the readers to a suspenseful journey of Dr.Jekyl’s split personality.
Stevenson, Robert Louis. Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and Other Tales. OUP Oxford, 2006.