The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Analysis by Megan Martin

"The street was small and what is called quiet, but it drove a thriving trade on the week-day. The inhabitants were all doing well, it seemed, and all emulously hoping to do better still," (Stevenson, 10).

Setting

  • The story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde takes place in London, in 1886.
  • It deals with upper-middle class Victorian men, who are very reserved and to themselves. They do not like to get involved with other people's business.
  • From the very first chapter, an eerie setting is established with much mystery concerning one door. This leads the reader to be very suspicious and interested in the deal with the door and who the people are behind it.

"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 sentient; lean, long, dusty, dreary, and yet somehow lovable," (Stevenson, 9).

Characters

  • Dr. Henry Jekyll - respected doctor, who is well known throughout London for his decency, but he has suspicious dark side.
  • Mr. Edward Hyde - strange, repulsive man with some odd, unnamed deformity. He is very sadistic and violent.
  • Mr. Gabriel Utterson - middle aged lawyer, perfect example of what a Victorian man should be - conservative, serious, and moral. He is said to be well liked in the story, although he does not smile.
  • Richard Enfield - cousin of Mr. Utterson. They are good friends and take walks together. He is the one to witness the crime done by Mr. Hyde and explains the story and the door to Mr. Utterson.
  • Dr. Hastle Lanyon - a reputable London doctor, close friend and colleague to Dr. Jekyll. He serves as contrast of rationalism to Jekyll's mysticism.
  • Mr. Poole - loyal servant of Dr. Jekyll, his butler for 20 years.

point of view

  • The point of view of this novella is third person limited of Mr. Utterson.
  • From this point of view, we get to know everything that Mr. Utterson does and knows.
  • If this had been written in third person omniscient, then we could have seen Dr. Jekyll's life and thoughts, and the mystery of the relationship between Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde would have never been a mystery to the reader at all.
  • However, the point of view in the last two chapters switches to Dr. Jekyll and Dr. Lanyon. From this perspective, the relationship between Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is finally revealed.

"Did you ever remark that door? It is connected in my mind with a very odd story." (Stevenson, 11).

tone and mood

  • The tone of Stevenson's novella is mystery. Throughout the story, the reader is trying, along with the characters, to discern the relationship between Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
  • The mood of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is obscurity and detection. The reader is curious as to the relationship between the doctor and Hyde and is constantly trying to figure it out before the pages reveal it. During reading, one feels much suspense, waiting for the answer to click in their minds.

Metaphor

"Poor Harry Jekyll... my mind misgives me he is in deep waters!" (Stevenson, 50).

Stevenson's use of metaphor does not literally mean that Dr. Jekyll is drowning, but rather it implies that he is in serious trouble. Dr. Jekyll's "deep waters" was his internal struggle versus Mr. Hyde, where he tried to overcome the evil inside of him.

Allegory

Fog vs. Light

"Although a fog rolled over the city in the small hours, the early part of the night was cloudless, and the lane, which the maid's window overlooked, was brilliantly lit by the full moon," (Stevenson, 27).

The use of fog here is to create an obscure, mysterious vibe. It is contrasted by the light that is suppose to illuminate and bring clarity to confused situations.

For much of the story, the reader is in the fog, they do not know the answers to the many questions that Mr. Utterson has. In the end, the reader is finally in the light, when the relationship between Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is revealed.

"Both sides of me were in dead earnest; I was no more myself when I laid aside restraint and plunged in shame, than when I laboured, in the eye of day, at the futherance of knowledge or the relief of sorrow and suffering," (Stevenson, 59).

Theme

The most prevalent theme in The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is the battle between good vs. evil. Dr. Jekyll has two parts to him, the good who is Dr. Jekyll, and the evil who is Mr. Hyde. There is a constant internal battle where he tries to put away Mr. Hyde forever, and tries to keep Dr. Jekyll out because he is good. It is even physically visual, as to Dr. Jekyll is a handsome man, but Mr. Hyde is repulsive looking and deformed. In the end, Mr. Hyde takes over Dr. Jekyll for good, and evil wins.

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