The Duality of Man

The Duality of Man

A Story by Rawhide

One of the most pervasive and scarriest genres of horror deals with the duality of man.


The Duality of Man

An essay by Robert L Davis


The duality of man is a pervasive and horrifying topic. Man is the combination of good and evil; heaven and hell. This theme is by no ways limited to the horror genre, but in horror, the theme has taken on a life of its own. My question is why does it exist. My question is why is it so frightening.


The most enduring tales of horror center around the duality of man. Werewolves, vampires, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and the Phantom of the Opera are a few classic examples of stories about the duality of man persevering through time and changing tastes. This theme has given birth to the subgenre of slasher horror.


This duality of the horror icons mentioned above is plain to see. Dracula is part normal man, part soulless killer. Werewolves are part innocent humans, part uncontrollable killer. Dr. Jekyll is a mild-mannered man whereas Mr. Hyde is the manifestation of the malice that lurks in his heart.  The phantom is a man full of loneliness and need with a beautiful soul looking for love. At the same time, he is a disfigured, resentful murderer.


The phantom of the opera and Dracula are perhaps the most direct interpretations of this theme. Often, we see the character as being to different beings trapped in one body and only one of them is moving about in the story at any given time. Dracula and the phantom; on the other hand, are both good and evil at the same time. They are both capable of great acts love and great acts of horror at any given time. They are two faces in one at the same time.


This is a direct correlation to the real duality of man. We have love and hate, good and evil in ourselves at all times. This direct correlation is what makes these stories so compelling, so frightening. We see in these characters the horror that we know lurks beneath the surface in every one of us. It is this truth that frightens us. It is the fact that we are watching a mirror image of our own soul, of the soul of the person sitting behind us in the theater that we are seeing on the screen or reading in a book. We are Dracula. We are Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. We are Hannibal Lecter.



© 2010 Rawhide

Author's Note

This isn't a story. It's just a rambling of thoughts on the horror genre. I had been thinking about this for awhile and decided to write it down after reading Lisa Lane's blog post On Men and Monsters at

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Good attempt. But it needed to be more elaborative.

Posted 4 Years Ago

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2 Reviews
Added on January 26, 2010
Last Updated on January 26, 2010



McCleary, WA

He puts his quill to parchment to preserve his story. Eons from now, no one will be able to fathom the depths of the suffering he felt nor the expanse of the suffering he caused. He will be villified,.. more..