Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.doc - garciak

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
By Robert Louis Stevenson
Character List
Mr. Gabriel John Utterson:
Mr. Utterson is the main character in the novel. Utterson is a lawyer who takes it upon himself
to solve the strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Though there is something “lovable” about
Utterson, he is exceedingly dull and unimaginative in the course of the novel, not wanting to
believe that Jekyll and Hyde could be related to anything supernatural. It is only at the end,
when Utterson learns the truth behind the two men. Utterson is a dynamic character. Towards
the end, he seems to become more willing to believe that something other than outer appearances
and status can affect the person. Even someone upstanding like Dr. Henry Jekyll could have an
evil and dangerous side.
Mr. Richard Enfield:
Mr. Enfield is Utterson’s friend. Though the two rarely speak when around each other and are
both seen as dull and boring, they take weekly Sunday walks. Enfield is a static character. He
remains dull throughout the novel.
Dr. Hastie Lanyon:
Dr. Lanyon was once one of Jekyll’s colleagues and closest friends. Yet, the two had a falling
out as Jekyll was more interested in mysticism and the supernatural and Lanyon wanted to have
no part in Jekyll’s “unscientific balderdash.” Dr. Lanyon serves as a foil of Dr. Jekyll. He is a
dynamic character, because at the end of the novel, he sees that there truly is a supernatural
world. This, however, eventually leads to his downfall.
Dr. Henry Jekyll:
Dr. Jekyll is the protagonist of the novel. He is seen in society as a good and charitable man.
Yet, he knows he has a dark side and, instead of letting it be a burden on himself, he brings it out
through his counterpart; Edward Hyde. Jekyll is a dynamic character as he becomes more
desperate to rid himself of Hyde as the novel goes on. His fight against Hyde lasts until the end
of the novel.
Mr. Edward Hyde:
Mr. Hyde is the antagonist of the novel. The people know him as an extremely evil and
deformed man (although no one is capable of pointing out exactly what is wrong with him).
Hyde is Jekyll’s evil counterpart – the person that Jekyll wants committing all of his evil deeds
so that he can sleep easier. Hyde is a static character. He stays the same evil person. If
anything, he gets worse toward the end.
Mr. Poole:
Mr. Poole is Dr. Jekyll’s butler. He is very loyal to the doctor and worries over him as the
doctor’s behavior gets more and more strange. This lasts until the end when he enlists Utterson’s
help. Poole is a static character. He does not change much, other than his increased worry over
Symbols and Motifs
Dr. Jekyll’s house and Laboratory:
It is fairly obvious that Dr. Jekyll symbolizes good while Mr. Hyde symbolizes evil. Dr. Jekyll’s
house is big, grand, and beautiful. It represents the goodness in him and also his status. On the
other hand, it shows that although the house is beautiful, inside lies the evil that Jekyll is trying
to hide. The laboratory is on the opposite side of the house. From the outside, it is ugly and
decrepit. It is where Jekyll performs his experiments and turns himself from the goodhearted
Henry Jekyll to the heartless Edward Hyde. It represents evil.
Silence is a large part of the book. Many of the characters do not like to discuss anything. They
are against gossip and sharing secrets with one another. For instance, Dr. Jekyll does not like to
talk about Mr. Hyde, Mr. Utterson does not like to ask too many questions, and Mr. Enfield does
not want to name Hyde after he saw an incident happen. This is a representation of how
reputation was so important in that era. No one wanted a bad name, so they did not say enough
that could make people see them differently.
Robert Louis Stevenson is descriptive of every character and on significant places in the novel.
Most notable in the novel is the description (or lack thereof) of Mr. Edward Hyde. Those who
have seen Hyde have trouble describing him because he simply radiates dislike. They claim that
there is something deformed about him, but cannot pinpoint the place. This symbolizes the
period of time in which Stevenson lived – which, everything, for the most part, was judged by
appearances. Mr. Utterson also symbolizes this idea that outward appearances are the sole
important judgment on a person. For instance, Utterson does not believe that there could
possibly be anything wrong with Dr. Jekyll because of Jekyll’s high status.
Universal Meaning
Robert Louis Stevenson created several universal meanings throughout this novel. Yet, one of
the most over powering of them all is: “No matter what the appearance, evil lies within
everything.” Stevenson demonstrates this meaning by creating a significant feeling of evil
darkness and goodness. Through the use of his main characters, Mr. Utterson, Dr. Lanyon, Dr.
Jekyll, and Mr. Hyde, Stevenson shows the stark contrast between the characters that somehow
fits them all together to prove his universal meaning. There is goodness and kindness in all of
the characters, yet Stevenson shows that each of the characters, no matter their status, can cast a
negative light.
Writing Prompt Selection
1983. From a novel or play of literary merit, select an important character who is a villain.
Then, in a well-organized essay, analyze the nature of the character’s villainy and how it
enhances meaning in the work. Do not merely summarize the plot.
Possible Thesis: Through the infamous villain Mr. Edward Hyde, Robert Louis Stevenson
demonstrates that evil lies within everyone, even the good at heart.
Passage and Analysis
It seems she was romantically given, for she sat down upon her box, which stood immediately
under the window, and fell into a dream of musing. Never (she used to say, with streaming tears,
when she narrated that experience), never had she felt more at peace with all men or thought
more kindly of the world. And as she so sat she became aware of an aged beautiful gentleman
with white hair, drawing near along the lane; and advancing to meet him, another and very small
gentleman, to whom at first she paid less attention. When they had come within speech (which
was just under the maid's eyes) the older man bowed and accosted the other with a very pretty
manner of politeness. It did not seem as if the subject of his address were of great importance;
indeed, from his pointing, it some times appeared as if he were only inquiring his way; but the
moon shone on his face as he spoke, and the girl was pleased to watch it, it seemed to breathe
such an innocent and old-world kindness of disposition, yet with something high too, as of a
well-founded self-content. Presently her eye wandered to the other, and she was surprised to
recognise in him a certain Mr. Hyde, who had once visited her master and for whom she had
conceived a dislike. He had in his hand a heavy cane, with which he was trifling; but he
answered never a word, and seemed to listen with an ill-contained impatience. And then all of a
sudden he broke out in a great flame of anger, stamping with his foot, brandishing the cane, and
carrying on (as the maid described it) like a madman. The old gentleman took a step back, with
the air of one very much surprised and a trifle hurt; and at that Mr. 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. At the horror of these sights and sounds, the
maid fainted.
Romantically, dream, peace, kindly, beautiful gentleman, innocent, kindness, self-content
 Stevenson uses this first set of words to give off a sense of peace and calm. The
beginning of the passage gives off an innocent feeling.
Dislike, heavy, ill-contained impatience, flame of anger, madman, clubbed, ape-like fury, storm,
shattered, horror
 This second string of words clearly indicates a sense of evil that Stevenson creates
throughout the novel. It shows that though something can seemingly be good, out of
nowhere, evil can come.
Beautiful gentleman, stamping his foot, clubbed, trampling his victim, bones audibly shattered
 Stevenson uses the most imagery towards the end of this passage as Mr. Hyde tramples
the old man. The reader can see the poor man being trampled to death and can hear his
bones being shattered. This gives the reader a sense of exactly how evil Mr. Hyde is.
Manner of politeness, only inquiring the way, he had in his hand a cane, surprised and a trifle
 The fact that the man was polite, that it was obvious he was only asking for directions,
and that he was hurt by Hyde’s reaction shows that the man was clearly doing no harm.
Therefore, the reader must wonder why Mr. Hyde reacted the way he did. The passage
also noted that it was odd that Mr. Hyde should carry a cane, which seemed like a trifle
detail to begin with, until he started beating the old man with it.
The language used is almost dream-like, especially at the beginning of the passage. With words
such as “innocent” and “self-content,” it is almost as if the man, though old, is childlike a kindly.
However, the dream quickly turns nightmarish as Hyde enters the scene. The language thereafter
is ugly and a sharper tone is given.
Stevenson uses several parenthetical statements throughout this passage. This is to remind the
reader that it is the maid telling the story. Mr. Utterson heard the story, but he did not see it
happen. Therefore, the parenthetical statements are used to show that this is the maid’s point of
view and it could possibly be a bit biased. Stevenson uses longer sentences, which kind of takes
away from the horror of the situation because they are so drawn out. Shorter, choppier sentences
would have given the reader more of a sense of unease. The long sentences are steady and
Mr. Utterson the lawyer was a man of a rugged countenance that was never lighted by a smile;
cold, scanty and embarrassed in discourse; backward in sentiment; lean, long, dusty, dreary and
yet somehow lovable. At friendly meetings, and when the wine was to his taste, something
eminently human beaconed from his eye; something indeed which never found its way into his
talk, but which spoke not only in these silent symbols of the after-dinner face, but more often and
loudly in the acts of his life. He was austere with himself; drank gin when he was alone, to
mortify a taste for vintages; and though he enjoyed the theater, had not crossed the doors of one
or twenty years. But he had an approved tolerance for others; sometimes wondering, almost with
envy, at the high pressure of spirits involved in their misdeeds; and in any extremity inclined to
help rather than to reprove. “I incline to Cain’s heresy,” he used to say quaintly: “I let my
brother go to the devil in his own way.” In this character, it was frequently his fortune to the last
reputable acquaintance and the last good influence in the lives of downgoing men. And to such
as these, so long as they came about his chambers, he never marked a shade of change in his
This first paragraph introduces Mr. Utterson, the main character of the novel. He is described as
“lean, long, dusty, dreary, and yet somehow” – as though if added as an afterthought – “lovable.”
This is important to the rest of the novel because to truly understand all of the symbolism behind
the novel, the reader must understand Mr. Utterson. He is incredibly important as he is the
person striving to solve the case. So, it is important to know that Mr. Utterson, although dull, he
is also quite human and good at heart. It says that he “had an approved tolerance for others;
sometimes wondering, almost with envy, at the high pressure of spirits involved in their
misdeeds; and in any extremity inclined to help rather than reprove.” That is, Utterson is a loyal
man and does not simply disown a friend because of their misdeeds. He’d rather help. This sets
up the plot for the rest of the story, when Mr. Utterson is inclined to help solve the strange case
of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
“He is not easy to describe. There is something wrong with his appearance; something
displeasing, something down-right detestable. I never saw a man I so disliked, and yet I scarce
know why. He must be deformed somewhere; he gives a strong feeling of deformity, although I
couldn’t specify the point.” (7)
“I believe you fully; I would trust you before any man alive, ay, before myself, if I could make
the choice; but indeed it isn’t what you fancy; it is not as bad as that; and just to put your good
heart at rest, I will tell you one thing: the moment I chose, I can be rid of Mr. Hyde.” (18)
“Utterson, I swear to God,” cried the doctor, “I swear to God I will never set eyes on him again.
I bind my honour to you that I am done with him in this world. It is all at an end. And indeed he
does not want my help; you do not know him as I do; he is safe, he is quite safe; mark my words,
he will never more be heard of.” (26)
“I saw what I saw, I heard what I heard, and my soul sickened at it; and yet now when that sight
has faded from my eyes, I ask myself if I believe it, and I cannot answer. My life is shaken to its
roots; sleep has left me the deadliest terror sits by me at all hours of the day and night and I feel
that my days are numbered, and that I must die; am duet I shall die incredulous.” (59)
“It was on the moral side, and in my own person, that I learned to recognize the thorough and
primitive duality of man; I saw that, of consciousness, even if I could rightly be said to be either,
it was only because I was radically both; and from an early date, even before the course of my
scientific discoveries had begun to suggest the most naked possibility of such a miracle, I had
learned to dwell with pleasure, as a beloved daydream, on the thought of the separation between
these elements.” (61)