Guess Who? Jekyll and hyde edition

"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I- I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference." -- Robert Frost


This strange case takes place during Victorian London around the year of 1886. New affluent buildings have been under construction to bring a noticeable change in the scenery. This time period is seeing new inventions start to unravel such as railways, the newly encompassed Big Ben clock tower, and more shipyards than anywhere else in the world. The first three quarters of this century saw light through candles, but in 1879 the invention of the light bulb came into place, allowing people to see at night. By the time Jekyll and Hyde takes place electricity would have been invented, but most of Jekyll’s life has been lived by candlewick, along with his alchemy. London’s new exhibition of the World Fair led it to become a culturally sound place to visit. Still, there was poor sanitation which transmitted disease and led to sickness in and out of cities. Joseph Bazalgette tried to redirect the sewage system out of the city to help combat this. England was emerging into a new society as many people were coming in from all over the world. In Jekyll and Hyde London takes more of an older volume. The book mostly occurs at night where little of the city is to be seen. There is a park, roads, cabs, and small homes of Lanyon and Utterson, but Jekyll’s is magnificent. His abode is sumptuous, containing many rooms, a courtyard, and an adjacent laboratory. This dark London forebodes an ill-eerie feeling cascading over the duration of the book.


Mr. Utterson is a well known lawyer in London. He works with people on their wills. He was a man of “a rugged countenance, that was never lighted by a smile; cold scanty and embroidery, and yet somehow lovable” (Stevenson 9). However, Utterson takes his work seriously and does it to his fullest extent to respect the wishes of his clients. Utterson was a man who kept to himself, his own business, and kept his nose out of the blue. In chapter eight, Utterson and Enfield ran away from Jekyll’s abode terrified, but they didn’t speak anymore of the subject due to his nature. Utterson is an honest man who looks out for his friends. When thought Hyde murdered or was meddling in Jekyll’s life, to an extent to where he wanted to help Henry and intervene. He went to his friend’s dinner parties and was enjoyable sociable. Gabriel was a man who enjoyed long walks at night, was sociable, and had some money, and was honest, who wouldn’t want to be with this man?

“A great curiosity came on the trustee, to disregard the prohibitions dive at once to the bottom of the mysteries; but professional honor and faith to his dead friend were stringent obligations; and the packet slept in the inmost corner of his private safe” (Stevenson 37).
Scales of the Law and Justice System

Dr. Henry Jekyll was an older, brilliant chemist. He is always full of life and inquisitive about life around him. He was honorable and distinguished to all around London. He had a considerably good life, “ I was born… to a large fortune, endowed besides with excellent parts, inclined by nature to industry, fond of the respect of the wise and good among (my) fellow men…” (59). He was intelligent, always gleaming for new solutions. He work with the “mystic and transcendental” scientific studies. He represents intelligence and curiosity, but is always light hearted with others. He like everyone one else had his demons with his angels, but he wanted to split this. He became the “better half” that everyone wishes was always out. He is a man of virtue, but in the end would choose friends and families over mischief and malevolence. He is the benevolent scientist who may have been a bit mad.

“ I was born… to a large fortune, endowed besides with excellent parts, inclined by nature to industry, fond of the respect of the wise and good among (my) fellow men…” (Stevenson 59).
The "mystical and transcendental" experiments.

Mr. Lanyon is an easy-going gentleman. He is cheerful and always happy. He trusts in his friends and is exuberant when they are together. He is logical, not open to crazy ideas such as Jekyll’s. He can be a bit naive; he cut ties with Jekyll after speaking with him about his “mystical” experiments. He is a distinguished doctor who is smart, but can not see the world beyond a rational standpoint.

Mr. Hyde, the outcome of an experiment, is not your typical Joe. “It sounds nothing to hear, but hellish to see. It wasn’t like a man, it was like some damned Juggernaut” (11). Hyde isn’t the most handsome guy in London. Being the worse, evil half of Jekyll, he inherited the rough physical qualities as well. He was deformed, ugly, “Satan-like”. No one really knows Hyde, but no one wants to either. Hyde is a malevolent figure, short in stature, but big in evil. He is pure negativity, killing men, trampling girls, but it isn’t his fault. Jekyll create Hyde, but eventually he can’t control him. Hyde is the poster child of never giving up. He is conceived by Jekyll, but only came out when jekyll wanted to play. Hyde show his patience and committed himself to becoming stronger. Despite all the afflictions, at the end Hyde was stronger than Jekyll. Hyde is pure evil, he goes against everything Jekyll stands for, but he is still the evil of Jekyll. He is smart and thinks things true. He doesn’t have a conscience and doesn’t care what he does if it brings him pleasure, “... tasting delight from every blow...” (67).

"... there was man in the middle, with a kind of black, sneering coolness... really like Satan." (Stevenson 4)

Mr. Poole is Jekyll’s butler. He is a loyal friend of Jekyll and cares about his well being. He is also the head of the rest of the servants. They all look up to him and follow him especially during the past few nights when everyone was in terror of Hyde. He is devoted to his work and to Jekyll, so when Hyde came into play he was puzzled and winced.

“Sir, if that was my master, why had he a mask upon his face? If it was my master, why did he cry out like a rat, and run from me? I have served him long enough… The man paused and passed his hand over his face." (Stevenson 46).

Although minor, Mr. Guest played an important role in figuring out the signatures of Hyde and Jekyll. Guest is a friend of Utterson. When asked he came over to help. He determined the signatures were the same except the writing had a backwards slant. He is an intelligent man who does well with his work.

Enfield is Utterson’s decent cousin. Only mentioned in two chapters, Enfield portrays many similarities to Utterson. He walks with Utterson at night mostly silent to clear his mind. He minds his own business and doesn’t get involve with any affairs other than his own. He is often uncomfortable with tougher subjects and situations such as Mr. Hyde in chapter one and again when Jekyll transforms into Hyde at the window.

Point of View

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is told in a 3rd person limited point of view. No one actually knows who the speaker is, but they seem to follow Utterson closely with almost every move. Some argue that it is first person with Utterson, Lanyon, or Jekyll/Hyde, but none of the previously mentioned actually told the story. Lanyon and Jekyll had their letters read which leads to some confusion of their point of view, but most of the story is closely associated with Utterson. This is the limited portion of the view. We go into Utterson’s thoughts and feelings, but never anybody else. Utterson’s journey tells us his motives and how he feels. “‘Henry Jekyll forge for a murderer!’ And his blood ran cold in his veins.” (34). His point of view is supported by Lanyon, Jekyll, through their letters, and Enfield’s story at the opening. This changes the point of view into more of a third person omniscient point of view. This point of view is what gives the book it's suspense. It punctuates and draws out the reader behind what is really happening.


"Catch the mist, catch the myth Catch the mystery, catch the drift" -- Rush

The “Strange Case” presents itself as nothing short of strange, odd, and mysterious. Stevenson gives a foreboding sense of mystery. The tying of secrets between the best of friends, the running away from windows in terror, and a whole house of servants huddle together, presents the dark overtones presented in this book. The gloom and mystery lying behind Jekyll’s experiments and cabinet keep us asking What? Who? Where? And why? The mystery and deceit is what we strive for. Why does Hyde only go through the laboratory? Stevenson wants us to question ourselves in introspection to try and understand the underlying tones.


The mood is suspense. Anytime and everywhere we look or read we find suspense. This started the first chapter with the mysterious door that we only see Hyde enter and exit through. Then we keep asking where is Hyde while Jekyll is around and vice versa. Why did Lanyon become sick and what did he die of? These questions kept us the readers guessing and wanting to know more. As the cliche goes, we were on the edge of our seats at all points in time. This suspense kept building and building. We kept doubting ourselves at every turn; where did Hyde go after the Carew murder? Would he return? Is Jekyll free? At every turn we would be asking another question. Alas all this mystery is completed by the sealing of the document: the letters and narratives from Lanyon and Jekyll.


The Yin yang that pulls two opposites together; Jekyll's side and Hyde's Side as one.

Hyde vs. Jekyll Good vs. Bad

Jekyll’s internal conflict with Hyde shows the conflict of good vs. evil in many stories. This is a constant fight over which prevails at the end. The only difference is that evil (Hyde) comes out as the stronger foe. This is a conflict most authors use to convey their stories. It appeals to readers and allows their story to flow easier. This consistency is one in which every person contends with. To pick the right thing or go down a road of temptation.

Imagination, creativity and abstract vs rationality

Jekyll pursues his interest in the “mystical and transcendental”. These are creative experiments that have never been done or tried before. This represents the “you can do anything you can put you mind to” the optimism that trying something radical will work. The irrational can become possible. This is the foil of Dr. Lanyon. He is a man of logic, reasoning, and the scientific method. He believes that nothing can cross the line of the unknown. That always has been will always will be. He represents the rationality of early thinkers, where Jekyll is the new changing society that believes change is good and can be beneficial.


Hyde like Satan

In chapter 1 Enfield compares Hyde to Satan. All of Jekyll’s evil is casted into Hyde. He is full of destructive thoughts, contemptible actions, and any malevolent deed you can think of. He doesn’t worry about a conscience, that’s what his better half is for. Much like Satan who isn’t stupid. He is the biggest deceiver there is. He is full of pure evil and is the root of all evil. His tricks lead to harm and he takes joy in everything he does, “tasting delight from every blow...” (67).


The main theme is there is a good side and bad side, two sides in general, to everything, person, situation, idea, etc. Jekyll is a well known, endowed, and intelligent man. He has everything he could possibly want, but still he is torn between pure benevolent thoughts and malevolent, mischievous, threatening actions. Everyone has to control their purity and anger/frustration. Jekyll and Hyde refers to the splitting of the the two personalities, but in real life it’s not that simple. Human contain a nature full of emotions: joy, sadness, anger, love, hatred, lust, greed, envy, etc. One must learn to control their nature. There is a time and place for everything, but we must know when and where that is. Outburst happen all the time, but the worse are the causes for the most turmoil. This is outcasted by the numerous wrongdoings of today, despite this book being written in the 19th century. The application still applies to today; the terrorist attacks, school and nightclub shootings, and racial tendencies prove the two sides to every situation. In every person lies urges and personalities that we are afraid to reveal. Jekyll is the life of virtue; he accepts friends, lives to support others, wants to improve science. Growing up he lived a fulfilling life, but now that he is old he wants his youth again. He second side, the side he wasn’t able to live. One of freedom, lackluster to anything he wants. He hid behind a facade of being Jekyll when Hyde has committed trouble, but eventually his good side, his conscience kicks in. Good and evil aren’t the only two sides but they are the most practical and generally acceptable. Acceptance vs. denial, honesty vs. lying, etc, are all examples of two sides. There are plaintiffs and defendants, one suing and one countering. The world is full of sides, however a globe is rounded, like every person. A person is like a world, full of this individual sides, but a rounded individual as a whole. This is what makes each person unique, different combinations of each side.

Did You Guess Who, Before He Killed You?


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