Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is a novella written by the Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson and first published in 1886. It is about a London lawyer who investigates strange occurrences between his old friend, Dr Henry Jekyll, and Dj Jekyll’s evil half Edward Hyde. The work is known for its vivid showing of a split personality. Today, the very phrase “Jekyll and Hyde” has come to signify wild behaviour.
Everybody has two sides of them, good and evil. Some people show a majority of one side. Good people may repress their evil side as an act to save face. Dr Jekyll was a kind man who you could see by his looks that he cherished a sincere and warm affection. Being a successful doctor, he had a high status, a lot of wealth and a good circle of friends. Any acts of evil performed by the doctor, would ruin his life, as, he would of lost face. Mr Hyde was a way for him to be both the good and the evil character, to commit evil acts without ruining life as Dr Jekyll.
Have you ever looked upon a face and straight away acknowledged the evil inhabited inside that person? Everything about the structure of Mr Hyde was pure evil, his face one looked on with terror and hatred. Described by Mr Enfield as having “Something wrong with his appearance; something displeasing, something downright detestable, I never saw a man I so disliked yet I scarce know why. He must be deformed somewhere…” This shows that Mr Hyde’s evil is shown in his image, like a criminal stereotype.
Dr Jekyll was a tall handsome mad who you could see he held a warm kindness about him. He is said to be, “A large well-made, smooth faced man of fifty.” From this you can straight away say how different he is from Mr Hyde, who is the complete opposite because, unlike Dr Jekyll, he was dwarfish, hunched over and hairy, his appearance showing many signs of raw animalism. Whereas Dr Jekyll, Shows all the signs off a stereotypical Doctor.
Dr Jekyll was a respected member of the community. He was a kind of abstract doctor in the way he attempted to explore new theories, yet he still had a good circle of friends and a high status. He was a kind man, held pleasant dinners at his home. His actions with science where often contradicted, but that never stopped him, he was a very determined man, didn’t give up if his first attempt was a failure. He behaved in a classy way. Mr Edward Hyde was a whole other story.
All the actions that he made were evil, every single one. Early in the book you straight away find out things about Hyde off Mr Enfield who shares the story of where Mr Hyde trampled calmly over a girls body and left her screaming on the ground. Back in them times, an act like this can cause complete chaos in their society, yet Mr Hyde performed that act with ease. The books states “It wasn’t like a man; it was like some damned juggernaut.” This shows how unstoppable Hyde was, comparing him to a large lorry, this portrays how nothing can stand in his way.
Most members of the society think highly of Dr Jekyll, with him being a doctor he is liked by a great many of people. Some of his work involving science, people look upon to be crazy, but many people respect him because even though people are like that towards him, he sticks to his own morals about life. There is not one person in this novella that I have understood to think any other way towards Mr Hyde than him being looked upon as evil. All people have mentioned about a certain deformity that they cannot place their finger upon, or that they extremely disliked Hyde from the moment they saw him, yet they scarce know why. Mr Hyde, when you think of it this way, cannot really be classed as a member of their society, as, there isn’t anybody that socialises with him at all. People rarely even see the man.
R.L Stevenson’s “Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde” has explored the issue of the duality of human nature in his novel by showing that, unlike many fiction stories; the evil side overcomes the good side. This may come as a shock as you always believe things will work out right in the end.