Robert Louis Stevenson began to publish in 1881. It was in 1886 when
he published his first really popular book: "Dr.
Jekyll and Mr. Hyde".
In Austria Sigmund Freud was dictating the basic points regarding the treatment of hysteria through psycoanalysis. That was in 1880.
Perhaps they didn´t know each other but they reacty in a similar way against society and religion or what at that time this implied.
Calvinism marked Stevenson´s personality and imagination unequivocally. The calvinist imprint stayed with him all his life and as he grew older experience seemed to confirm at least one aspect of Calvinisim teaching: it was impossible to deny that there was evil deep-rooted in the world.
Stevenson expressed his preocupations and fears in an imaginative way in the story of "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde". He succeeded in showing us the duality of man: G O O D and E V I L . He would have wished that they could lay in separate identities. Nevertheless he didn’t manage to reconcile both concepts to that of F R E E D O M.
He only found one artificial solution to combine the three elements: D R U G S. He was unable to find the way to freedom. This freedom implies to break the rules imposed by a society which equated “obeying” with “being good”. He said : “ The temptation is to do what is forbidden, because it is forbbiden is the strongest temptation of all. ”
In Jekyll and Hyde, Stevenson shows us that the man who sets himself above moral restriction becomes evil, sub-human. But freedom itself is irresistibly tempting. So Stevenson settles the equality: FREEDOM = EVIL. Philosophers throughout history have shown us a much deeper and wider concept of freedom. Sartre said : “ it is not a question of dealing with freedom in mankind because man is only thus while he is free”.
Stevenson had experienced directly the iron grip of Calvinism and of bourgeois morality on human behavour, and he had recognized that it could be destructive . Psycologically he was quite right.
On the other hand Freud as a doctor, psychiatrist gave us a scientific explanation for these problems talking about the consience and the subconscience. How we send to our unconcious mind all that for us is unpleasent, humiliating or unmoral, and so cannot emerge in our concious mind.
Freud dug into our psyche and endeavored investigating those psychological processes which are not manifested in our conscience but which have a strong influence in our behavour.
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