R L Stevenson wrote the story Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde in 1886, during the Victorian period. The story was written in the Gothic Thriller/Mystery style, and illustrates several important aspects of the Victorian period. These aspects are included in the book to add extra interest for the reader. The Victorian reader would relate to the topics raised, as they were present in their life.
The book incorporates elements of the Gothic Genre that were very popular at the time; psychological issues, showing how the mind works, the threat of drug addiction and its terrible affect on people.
In the novel, the character Dr Jekyll uses a potion to change his body form into the younger and evil alter ego of Mr Hyde. This enables Dr Jekyll to express his darkest, deepest thoughts and feelings. At first the potion seems harmless to Jekyll, as the first use of it seems to give him a great sense of freedom. But the continuous use of it starts to create an increasing addiction and breaks his mind down until Jekyll has to take the potion just to keep his sanity.
The first aspect of Victorian society the novel covers is the thirst for gothic horror. During the Victorian period, the Gothic Genre was very popular and a wide variety of books used the conventions of this genre, These include the archetypal struggle between the good and evil side of Dr Jekyll, and the violence that runs through Mr Hyde's veins whenever he is confronted by purity and goodness. This is demonstrated by the behaviour of Hyde when he is faced with the goodness of Sir Danvers Carew: " Hyde broke out of all bounds and clubbed him to the earth. And next moment, with ape-like fury, he was trampling his victim under foot and hailing down a storm of blows, under which the bones were audibly shattered and the body jumped upon the roadway".
The novel also includes elements of the Scientific Revolution, for example; the Scientist Dr Jekyll uses a potion made in his laboratory to change his appearance and mental state.