This is during the Victorian Age which happened from 1800-1900. During this time, people moved to the cities from rural areas to find jobs. They were often overcrowded and lead to many health problems. People moved to the cities because of the Industrial Revolution. Also, Big Ben was built during this era in 1859.
Dr. Henry Jekyll is a middle-aged Englishman who appears on the outside to be a good man. He is a chemist and has fun being around his friends. He does a lot of good for his friends, but like everyone else, he slips up. He took a potion that caused him to evolve into an evil man he called Mr. Hyde. The sad part is that once he slipped up, he never went back. He let the power of morphing into Mr. Hyde get the best of him which led to his downfall. "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." This is him in his letter explaining his internal fight between Good and Evil.
Edward Hyde is the evil creation of Dr. Jekyll. Edward Hyde is younger, yet uglier, version of Henry Jekyll. He is his one of two men living in the same body. He was created by a potion of Dr. Jekyll. Hyde is a malicious man who first appeared on the side of a street running into a little girl. Once Mr. Utterson became more familiar with this suspicious man, the reader found out that he is a selfish, vile person who does whatever he wants and believes he can get away with it. Once, when Hyde met with an older gentleman, he beat him to death with a cane. "Mr. Hyde broke out of all bounds and clubbed him to the earth." This is just a glimpse of what that vile man was capable of doing.
Dr. Hastie Lanyon is a friend of Mr. Utterson and Dr. Jekyll. They all used to be good friends until Dr. Jekyll and Lanyon had an argument about 10 years before the book starts, and ever since then they had grown apart. Although, Jekyll did go to him for help on his double persons problem, so that means that he is a very trustworthy man. "Upon the reading of this letter, I made sure my colleague was insane; but till that was proved beyond the possibility of doubt, I felt bound to do as he requested. The less I understood of this farrago, the less I was in a position to judge of its importance; and an appeal so worded could not be set aside without a grave responsibility." Sadly, shortly after that incident he died. Dr. Lanyon is a bit of a minor character, but he is important to the novel.
Mr. Gabriel Utterson is a lawyer in London, England who is friends with Dr. Jekyll and Lanyon. He is a proper, lovable, and well-liked man who is the protagonist in the story. He is a civil man who does what is right. Mr. Utterson is the one who the story revolves around and finds out the secret of Dr. Jekyll. This reliable and trustworthy man is the typical Victorian man. His persistence and loyalty to his friend is the reason he finds out about Dr. Jekyll's struggling issue. "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."
In the book, Robert Louis Stevenson uses the entire city of London as his setting, not just one part of town. He does this for a reason. The part Utterson and Jekyll live in is the nicer part of town, but Hyde lives in Soho, a sketchy and darker part of the city. The author does this for a reason. Hyde is a much more evil man than the other two and lives in a duller and dingier part of town to express his character. "Round the corner from the by-street, there was a square of ancient, handsome houses, now for the most part decayed from their high estate and let in flats and chambers to all sorts and conditions of men; map-engravers, architects, shady lawyers and the agents of obscure enterprises. One house, however, second from the corner, was still occupied entire; and at the door of this, which wore a great air of wealth and comfort, though it was now plunged in darkness except for the fanlight, Mr. Utterson stopped and knocked." Here he describes the better side of town.
The mysterious door is a prime example of a metaphor in the novel. It represents the change from good to evil in the book. That door enters into Dr. Jekyll's laboratory where he first created Hyde. That means it is the passageway from good to evil. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde are the only two that use it, and he will go in as Mr. Hyde and come out as Dr. Jekyll, or vise versa. The author even expresses the door as mysterious and almost evil itself, "The door, which was equipped with neither bell nor knocker, was blistered and distained. Tramps slouched into the recess and struck matches on the panels; children kept shop upon the steps; the schoolboy had tried his knife on the mouldings; and for close on a generation, no one had appeared to drive away these random visitors or to repair their ravages."
The Night & Fog
The London fog is another example of an allegory. It is used when the maid goes to bed and sees Mr. Hyde kill a gentleman. It gets dark and becomes foggy, and that is when Mr. Hyde goes out. He only goes out in the night, so the fog and the night is a representation of evil. "Although a fog rolled 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."
The mood of the novel is eerie and creepy because the author uses many elements like fog and the mystery of who Mr. Hyde is to portray it. "Two doors from one corner, on the left hand going east the line was broken by the entry of a court; and just at that point a certain sinister block of building thrust forward its gable on the street." The word sinister is something that sets the mood of the novel in this quote.
The tone of the novel is mysterious and gloomy because of the mystery of who Mr. Hyde is and where he comes from. "The other snarled aloud into a savage laugh; and the next moment, with extraordinary quickness, he had unlocked the door and disappeared into the house."
Good vs. Evil
The main theme of the novel overall is the internal fight between Good and Evil. Dr. Jekyll's internal fight to do what is right depicts the main theme of the novel. This is what Stevenson wanted us to see by reading this book. It all represents the inner struggle inside each person to do what is good. "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." This is an example of Dr. Jekyll's explaining the inner fight between Good and Evil.