The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is set in London England during the Victoria Era. The Victorian Era was a specific time of scientific and economic times during 1837-1901. The land of England was ruled by Queen Victoria, which is who this specific time in history is named after. London became more and more crowded with new people, and the building became taller, and more beautiful. Many science breakthroughs began, and are still thought of today as some of the most important findings made in science history. In the novel there are many showings of the Victorian Era like the advancement in science, the economic growth, and the awake of socially repressed feelings and behaviors. Dr. Jekyll was a dedicated scientist, during this time there were many famous scientists coming with new findings left and right. In his laboratory Dr. Jekyll came up with a potion to change his physical appearance and become younger. Like Dr. Jekyll, Victorians from the upper classes would engage in unaccepted behaviors. The Victorian period marked a time in history during which the society in England underwent abrupt changes. Science played an important role during the nineteenth century because much of the want for scientific knowledge was triggered at that time. The view of morality started to change, and people slowly started to engage into socially questionable behaviors. The economy grew during the nineteenth century, as a result of the industrial revolution. The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the Victorian period was a stepping stone for the scientific, social, and economic development of England and Europe in 1800’s.
- Dr. Henry Jekyll - A respected doctor and friend of both Lanyon, a physician, and Utterson, a lawyer. Jekyll is a smart, well known man, and well established in the community, and known for his decency and charitable works. Since he was younger he secretly acted in forbidden, unlawful behavior. Jekyll finds this dark side a burden and undertakes experiments intended to separate his good and bad sides from one another. Through these experiments, he brings Mr. Hyde into the picture as someone who can act out his dark side, finding a way to transform himself in such a way that he fully becomes his darker half.
- Mr. Edward Hyde - A strange, confusing man who looks prehuman. Hyde is violent and cruel, and everyone who sees him describes him as ugly and deformed, but no one can say exactly why. He doesn't treat anyone with respect, and most are afraid , and stay as far away as they can from him. He is ugly on the inside and out. Hyde is Jekyll’s dark side, released from the bonds of conscience and put into the world by a mysterious potion.
- Mr. Gabriel John Utterson - A prominent and outstanding lawyer, well respected in the London community. Utterson is reserved, dignified, and perhaps even lacking somewhat in imagination, but he does seem to possess a furtive curiosity about the more sordid side of life. While not a man of science, Utterson resembles his friend Dr. Lanyon in his devotion to reasonable explanations and his denial of the supernatural. Utterson was friends with Dr. Jekyll, but not friends with Mr. Hyde.
- Dr. Hastie Lanyon - A well known London doctor and, along with Utterson, formerly one of Jekyll’s closest friends. As an embodiment of rationalism, materialism, and skepticism, Lanyon has very vast opinions compared to for Jekyll, who embraces mysticism. His death represents the more general victory of super naturalism over materialism in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
Metaphors and Allegory:
"I gnashed my teeth upon him with a gust of devilish fury; and the smile withered from his face..."
- this shows how much Hyde can effect others, just by looking at him
- He is deformed and scary, their reaction of "I gnashed my teeth" of seeing him shows how people saw him
"Poor Harry Jekyll . . . my mind misgives me he is in deep waters!"
- Its showing that he is so ar deep in trouble with himself that it is like he is drowing and trapped underwater
- The "deep waters!" are symbolizing the trouble that he has gotten his self into
The door: It looks abandoned and creepy, it is old looking and unused in the back of the building it looks like no one has used it in years, so sketchy people hang around that door as well.
- The door mostly represents freedom, freedom from himself. So that when Jekyll turns into Hyde he leaves out of that door, and Jekyll is left behind. Its a way of expressing himself the is buried deep inside.
Hyde: Is a smaller, ugly, almost deformed looking man. People are scared of him because his appearance is so misshapen. He strikes horror and hatred into everyone that he comes accorded people would even go so far as wanting to kill him because he is so repulsive.
- He represents freedom, because he can just go out and not worry about what others think of him, he doesn't fracture his reputation, because no one really knows that it is Jekyll. He also represents the dark side of society and ourselves, that we try to conceal and control daily. He is uncontrollable so he could also represents some forms of addiction.
Point of View:
The point of view is third person (limited) Mr. Utterson, it picks one person and follows them around from their point of view. However, There are others stories told within the story by others; the story of the door by Mr. Enfield, The Carew murder by the maid, Story by Mr. Lanyon, and Dr. Jekyll' confession. The story is put out this way so you can get the mysterious suspence of the story that was very popular. We don't know any prior information than he does we learn the information when he learns it. We watch him figure out the mystery as the clue's are unraveling for him, all we can do is speculate what is happening.
Mood and tone:
"He would be aware of the great field of lamps of a nocturnal city; then of the figure of a man walking swiftly; then of a child running from the doctor's; and then these met, and that human Juggernaut trod the child down and passed on regardless of her screams."
"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."
Sentences like these exemplify the drawn out, dramatized tone of shilling shockers. Stevenson increases Mr. Hyde’s sketchiness, for example, by writing in a mysterious fog that appears every time Mr. Hyde is nearby. The mood and tone is very mysterious and eerie, it i suppose to leave you on your toes wondering and waiting on what will happen next, it also leaves you a little scared or uneasy about what is happening and what will happen next.
- Good vs Evil: Dr. Jekyll represents good, respectfulness, and socially acceptable behavior. Mr. Hyde represents evil, repressed, and scary behavior. The theme of good vs evil also shows wants vs needs, and morally acceptable behavior vs behavior that is more or less fround upon.
- Repression: Is the main cause for Mr. Hyde. Dr. Jekyll is a well known and well respected scientist with some no so well respected tendencies. He feels a need to release these wants that are not look highly upon, so to not ruin his reputation he turns into a new person (Mr. Hyde) to carryout his tendencies.