Comparative Essay on the Beginnings of The Picture of Dorian Gray and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

Essay by giaxyHigh School, 11th grade November 2008

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The two books I have chosen for my open study are: The Picture of Dorian Gray and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The first one, written in 1890 by Oscar Wilde, is the story of a young, aristocratic dandy who, influenced by a friend, becomes a hedonistic, selfish man who ends in tragedy. The second, written in 1886 by Robert Louis Stevenson, is the story of a scientist, Dr. Jekyll, who, under the effect of a potion, mutates into a terrifying monster every night, killing whoever doesn't please him.

Choosing the books was not a difficult task for me: 'The Picture of Dorian Gray' is a book I read last year, and took great pleasure in reading, but I felt as if I didn't get some of the messages and ideas of the novel. This is why I thought that choosing it for my essay could help me understand it better.

I then thought of choosing the second book based on the features of the first: I wanted a book written in the same style, of the same genre, in the same period of time and with a similar plot. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde fitted perfectly.

These two books link and differ in various ways. As I have said, they are particularly similar in style of writing and period setting, as they were both written and are set towards the end of the 19th century, but then differ a great deal in social aspect and characters. Dorian Gray is an aristocratic young gentleman, with love and friends whilst Henry Jekyll is a reserved, middle-class scientist. The genres can be considered similar and different at the same time. The two books are actually both of the horror and mystery genre but the story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is...