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Nature versus the supernatural

Closely linked to the Victorians' increasing sense of the conflict between science and religion was the idea that humans have a dual nature. On the one hand, they saw the calm, rational, everyday normality of family life and employment; on the other, fantasies, nightmares, anger and violence. It was the explainable versus the inexplicable; the natural versus the supernatural [supernatural: Something that cannot be explained by the laws of nature; for example, gods and ghosts.; good versus evil. This is the duality the novel explores. (For more on this, see the notes on Themes.)

The notorious Jack the Ripper [Jack the Ripper: The alias of an unidentified serial killer, who murdered a number of prostitutes in London in the 19th century. murders occurred in London in 1888. In the minds of the Victorians, they underlined the Jekyll and Hyde duality of human nature, especially as there was discussion about the murderer being highly educated, or even of royal birth.

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