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dr jekyll and mr hyde

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Jekyll and Hyde Analysis

In this essay on the story of Jekyll and Hyde written by Robert Louis Stevenson I will try to unravel the true meaning of the book and get inside the characters in the story created by Stevenson. A story of a man battling with his double personality.
In Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Hyde becomes Jekyll's demonic, monstrous alter ego. Certainly Stevenson presents him immediately as this from the outset. Hissing as he speaks, Hyde has "a kind of black sneering coolness . . . like Satan". He also strikes those who witness him as being "pale and dwarfish" and simian like. The Strange Case unfolds with the search by the men to uncover the secret of Hyde. As the narrator, Utterson, says, "If he be Mr. Hyde . . . I shall be Mr. Seek". Utterson begins his quest with a cursory search for his own demons. Fearing for Jekyll because the good doctor has so strangely altered his will in favor of Hyde, Utterson examines his own conscience, "and the lawyer, scared by the thought, brooded a while in his own past, groping in all the corners of memory, lest by chance some Jack-in-the-Box of an old iniquity should leap to light there" (SC, 42). Like so many eminent Victorians, Utterson lives a mildly double life and feels mildly apprehensive about it. An ugly dwarf like Hyde may jump out from his own boxed self, but for him such art unlikely creature is still envisioned as a toy. Although, from the beginning Hyde fills him with a distaste for life (SC, 40, not until the final, fatal night, after he storms the cabinet, can Utterson conceive of the enormity of Jekyll's second self. Only then does he realize that "he was looking on the body of a self-dcstroyer" (SC, 70); Jekyll and Hyde are one in death as they must have been in life.
Poole, Jekyll's servant, and Lanyan, his medical colleague, are even more incredulous. When Poole sees Jekyll/Hyde in his final form, he thinks he sees his master with a "mask" on his face: "that thing was not [118/119] my master and there's the truth" (SC, 66). Again, Poole's "thing" is monkey-like and dwarfish, and it weeps "like a woman or a lost soul" (SC, 69). When Poole and Utterson hear Jekyll on the opposite side of the door that last night, they react like Ralph Nickleby's would-be rescuers. The voice they hear sounds like somethi...

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...ources of human nature, more faith, more sympathy with our frailty than you have done.... The scientific cast of the allegory will act as an incentive to moral self-murder with those who perceive the allegory's profundity." (qtd. in Steuart, II, 83) But Stevenson was nonetheless acting as a moralist. His "shilling shocker," conceived in a dream and written in a white heat, captured both his own deepest divisions and insights into the callous folly of late-Victorian hypocrisy. Stevenson had himself considered suicide at least three times and yet persisted through ill health to natural death.;(34) Far from counselling "moral self-murder," his dark story of monstrous alter egos was counselling integration. Far from starting another Werther-craze, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde pioneered as a modern admonition of blind, self-destructive behavior. Stevenson's fictional lawyers and scientists show dangerous second sides because they have not persisted in self-knowledge. His fictional workers, like the butler, Poole, see masks in place of the "horrors" that their presumed betters have become because they have opted for distorted vision over clear-sightedness.
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