The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde By: Zachery volk

Setting

The setting of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde takes place in Victorian England. During this time period, England became the world's superpower. At this time, the middle class was growing in both number and wealth. Many saw it important to act "properly" in order to climb the ranks and become a novel. During the Victorian period, work and play expanded dramatically. The national railway network stimulated travel and leisure opportunities for everyone in England. Science was very important to many people’s lives in Victorian England. In fact, many great scientific achievements occurred during this period. Joseph Lister was the most important scientist at this time. He focused on anesthetics.

Victorian England really comes through in many of the chapters in this novella. The setting in this novella encompasses the Victorian style houses and buildings and particularly their close proximity to one another. In chapter 1, the narrator describes it as “rows of smiling saleswomen”. Victorian England really comes through in what we later learn is the door to Dr. Jekyll’s laboratory. There is one particular building that juts out from the rest of the buildings. It is worn down and unsightly, but none the less, it represented Victorian England perfectly. Throughout the entirety of the novel, the reader experiences the narrow streets of Victorian England and the beautiful scenery that comes with it.

Victorian England at the time of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

Characterization

Mr. Gabriel John Utterson

- Prominent lawyer; Very well known throughout England

- Central character that the novel revolves around

- The go-to friend for both Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Lanyon

- Very rational rather than irrational

- First one to notice the strange happenings involving Dr. Jekyll

- Sympathetic at times, but also curious

Dr. Henry Jekyll

- Respected doctor in England; Very tall and handsome

- Good friend of Mr. Utterson and Mr. Lanyon

- Good mannered and known for his decency and acts of charity

- Has a dark side that has burdened him since his youth

- Wealthy with a fortune worth well over 2 million dollars

- Believes there is two parts of every human: a good and a bad

Mr. Edward Hyde

- Unsightly, awkward, and repugnant man

- Violent and cruel towards society

- Admits that everyone sees him as evil and deformed

- Henry Jekyll’s dark and evil side

- Some people describe him as an animal because they don’t see him as a human

Mr. Richard Enfield

- Distant cousin and lifelong friend of Mr. Utterson

- Very laid back and well respected throughout England

- Full of gossip

- Embarks on long walks every Sunday morning with Mr. Utterson

- Witnessed Mr. Hyde’s original crime

Dr. Hastle Lanyon

- Well respected doctor in England

- Very close friend of Henry Jekyll

- Acts as a rational and skeptic view within the story

- Also a mediator to Dr. Jekyll

- His death marks the shift from rationalism to the supernatural elements

Mr. Poole

- Dr. Henry Jekyll’s butler

- Rather loyal due to his 20 years of work for Dr. Jekyll

- Becomes concerned about Dr. Jekyll which is why he gets the help of Utterson

- Finds Jekyll dead with Mr. Utterson

Sir Danvers Carew

- Nobleman in England; Very gentle

- Does business with Mr. Utterson

- Member of Parliament

- Brutally murdered by Mr. Hyde

Mr. Guest

- Mr. Utterson’s clerk

- Uses his expertise in handwriting to decipher the message written by Dr. Jekyll

- Notices that Mr. Hyde and Dr. Jekyll have almost identical handwriting

Mood and Tone

The mood of a story is the feeling you get upon reading the text. The mood of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is alters throughout the novel. During the first few chapters, I got a sense that Victorian England was always dark and rainy. When both the Carew Murder and the incident where he trucked the helpless girl occurred, you could sense the mood in the air as being gloomy and sinister. Mr. Hyde brought a specific presence anywhere he went. As the novella progressed, the mood became more question-filled and shocking. The more the novella progressed, the more the reader found out about Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’s past. The mood became one of confusion. Whenever Dr. Jekyll was involved, I knew something interesting was bound to happen. Dr. Jekyll brought a sense of calmness and serenity while Mr. Hyde brought a sense of fear and disgust.

The tone of a story is the feeling that the author wants you to feel from reading the novel. The tone of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is the good and evil within man. Even before the reader understands the relationship between Jekyll and Hyde, Robert Louis Stevenson makes it very clear that Dr. Jekyll brings goodness and peace, while Mr. Hyde brings anger and fear. I believe this is the underlying tone throughout the novel. It seems like every important happening or occurrence within the novella either takes the side of good or evil. Once the relationship between Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is revealed, Dr. Jekyll admits that even at a young age, he always saw man as having a good side and a more evil or sinister side. Throughout the novella, Stevenson uses many smaller tones such as shock and disgust. For example, when Mr. Hyde kills Sir Danvers Carew for no apparent reason, not only does Stevenson want the reader to feel fear, but he also wants the reader to feel disgust for Mr. Hyde. Mr. Hyde is intended to be an evil character that no one like. The tone of this novella brings a sense or realization that hits the reader halfway through the novella.

"The most racking pangs succeeded: a grinding in the bones, deadly nausea, and a horror of the spirit that cannot be exceeded at the hour of birth or death. Then these agonies began swiftly to subside, and I came to myself as if out of a great sickness."(Stevenson, 61)

Point of View

For most of the novella, the point of view of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is third person limited. This means the story has a narrator that is from the outside, but the writing is focused solely on the thoughts of one person within the story. The narrator focuses on Mr. Utterson in this case. Chapters 1-8 are based solely on his sights and thoughts. I believe Robert Louis Stevenson made this novella third person limited because it drawn out the suspense within the piece. The mystery aspect is supplemented by the shocking nature of the novella, and I don’t think we would experience this if it wasn’t third person limited. Mr. Utterson clearly is a rational character that is well respected throughout England, so he is the perfect person to focus in on. If the story was focused on the thoughts on Henry Jekyll, the reader wouldn’t get the same effect that the novella gives with Mr. Utterson being the point of attention. When the relationship between Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is revealed to the reader, Stevenson expected a sense of sheer shock and confusion. That’s what the thoughts of Mr. Utterson contribute to the overall tone of the novella.

Chapters 9-10 in The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde are slightly different. Chapter 9 is from the perspective of Dr. Lanyon. Dr. Lanyon is recounting the letter that was given to him by Henry Jekyll, and the steps he took to find Dr. Jekyll. I believe this chapter is very important because this is something we haven’t seen in the first 8 chapter, so it adds a sense of difference and shock. Chapter 9 as a whole is very well written, as it includes a number of different moods that the reader feels upon putting themselves in the novel. Chapter 10 is written from the perspective of Dr. Jekyll. This chapter is also different because it brings up Jekyll’s past, something we have not seen until now. The reader finally gets to dive into the head of Henry Jekyll and all his side effects of being Mr. Hyde as well. The point of view in this chapter is important due to the fact that it sums up the first 9 chapters, and does a great job of wrapping up the story.

Theme

The theme of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is the fight between good and evil. Arguably the two biggest characters revolve around good and evil. It is intended that Dr. Henry Jekyll possesses hope and goodness, and Mr. Hyde possesses fear and evil. In chapter 10, the reader finally understands why Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde were the same person. Since a very young age, Henry Jekyll has admitted that every person has two distinct side of themselves: a good side and a bad side. For Henry Jekyll, he wanted to exploit it more than others. He created a potion that could physically change his body from being Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. I believe the overall theme boils down to the superiority of both good and evil. Is one better than the other? I think Stevenson did a great job of describing the evil side of man, and relating it to Mr. Hyde. There is not one person in the book that finds comfort with Mr. Hyde. He frequently kills people and destroys everything in his path. Dr. Jekyll on the other hand is popular and revered in England. Finally, I believe Stevenson wrote this novel in order to stir up the question whether good can be separated from evil. Just based on this book, I believe that it is very possible that people have a distinct good side and a distinct bad side.

"With every day, and from both sides of my intelligence,

Metaphor

A metaphor is a comparison of two things without using the words “like” or “as”. Robert Louis Stevenson uses many metaphors in his writing to compare two things. Stevenson uses these metaphors to create a move vivid description for the reader. The whole story is based on a metaphor. Both Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde are metaphors for good and evil. The metaphor below uses Satan to describe Mr. Hyde. Satan;s signature is not actually on Mr. Hyde’s face, therefore, it is a metaphor. Stevenson uses this metaphor to show just how evil Mr. Hyde truly was.

"The last, I think; for oh, my poor old Harry Jekyll, if ever I read Satan's signature on a face, it is on that of your new friend."(Stevenson, 20)

Allegory

An allegory is a story, poem, or picture that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning, typically a moral or a political one. While allegories aren't as popular in metaphors within this novella, they are still present. Stevenson uses these allegories to relate not only things, but also his characters’ attitudes with outside things. For example, both Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde are allegories. Edward Hyde is the “free man” in Victorian England, while Henry Jekyll is your “standard” Victorian man. The allegory below shows the door to the laboratory as being a sort of freedom to Mr. Hyde. Mr. Hyde can enter and exit this door whenever he pleases because he has a key. The door is a beaten up door with no door bell or knocker. It looks very out of place in Victorian England. It is also represented as a freedom for Dr. Jekyll. Dr. Jekyll can embrace his inner evil behind this door. In Victorian era, the door represents a freedom for the people, in which they can summon their inner egos, and have a dual personality.

"The door, which was equipped with neither bell nor knocker, was blistered and distained."(Stevenson, 10)

The door mentioned in the allegory.

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.