Many paths to enlightenment talk about integrating the two opposites within. From yogic texts, through alchemy and into Jungian Psychology and one of my interests the grail mythology. It is the aim for all those who wish to attain the enlightened state to integrate the opposites male/female, negative/positive. It is the yin/yang symbology, the hermaphrodite, the anima/animus.
Jekyll and Hyde always had this aspect at the heart of its story. Written at a time when the metaphysical and romantic poets had been challenging the Cartesian worldview of the enlightenment, where Gothic fiction had taken up this baton and continued to question the logical and the rational. It is a man divided, disparate, lacking this enlightened integration. The result: Death for both characters.
For further discussion on this aspect please see link to grailquesting
Steven Moffat’s Jekyll has taken the original story and introduce so many layers.
Last night’s episode five was one of the most tightly written and inspired pieces of drama I have witnessed in a long time. Something Jekyll said last night could be appropriated to sum up a lot of programming on TV these days. Speaking to the character Claire he said something along the lines of most things in this world bore me. I would say that was pretty true of the world of TV at times, with the unreal or stagnatingly depressing soaps, mindless quiz games, unfunny sit-coms, viewer votes programmes (won’t go into that too much…), etc.
This is writing of the highest quality though. Not only because it is well written but because it engages the viewers’ mind and it contains archetypal truths concerning the human condition. It is mythology in the true meaning of the word. The view of the Hyde aspect has always been, solely, as evil, no redeeming qualities at all. Bad and must be destroyed. Steven Moffat has brought more texture to this idea. There is no fixed line in the sand. To survive the two sides of the personality must be resolved, not buried, ignored or exiled to the deepest recesses of our unconscious, but seen, recognised and integrated into the personality.
Okay, I am reading a lot of crazy mumbojumbo into a piece of entertainment. How many hours of it do we watch, what do children grow up on? A lot of TV is about dysfunction, adults screaming at each other, arguing, distress, violence….dis-integration. (see myself climbing up on my soapbox about soaps here). A lot of TV seems to me to send out a negative message about what it is to be what we are, the human condition. The really good writers, and I would include Steven Moffat among them along with people like Dennis Potter and a few others, they create work that can change our view, make us think, become aware; entertain and educate, as the now much maligned and ignored Reithian ideal once championed.