Duality of Human Nature during the Fin de Siecle.

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The Victorian period can be marked as an era of historical, economic and social change. Due to industrialization, colonisation and urbanization, society changed, and there was the feeling of a loss of identity. New scientific and psychological theories led to an increasing interest in the human mind among Victorians. Ideas about the human mind advanced, and they became a more prominent topic in society. The prominence of the supernatural and psychology in Victorian culture is crucial for the development of the literary Gothic genre, which flourished during the period. Two important Gothic authors of the late nineteenth century, who were concerned with the anxieties of Victorian society, are Robert Louis Stevenson and Oscar Wilde. An element which features heavily in Gothic literature at the end of the nineteenth century is the element of duality within human nature and is often represented by the creating of a doubl! e. This thesis aims to examine the representation of the Gothic element of duality in two late- Victorian Gothic novels - The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson and Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray - and find out what it was that made the human psyche, and especially the duality of mankind, such an increasingly popular literary element during the fin de siècle. Henry Jekyll and Dorian Gray both suppress part of their inner nature to keep up their respectable public reputation, thus creating a feeling of duality within their own minds. This dual feeling can only be solved by separating the two identities and giving a double the freedom to express their concealed desires.
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