The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson has been on my reading list for years, and I am happy to finally tick it off. This is a gothic novella set in Victorian London. It focuses on Dr. Jekyll a mild-mannered manner gentleman, and Mr. Hyde, a cruel man.
The story begins with an incident involving Mr. Hyde. He pushes a little girl and is arrested by the police. It is later revealed that there is a connection between Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The narrator of the story, is Mr. Utterson, a lawyer and a friend of Dr. Jekyll. It is through Mr. Utterson’s point of view that we see this world and these characters. He, too, is surprised that a mild-mannered man is somehow associated with an evil person like Mr. Hyde.
The story builds with strange occurrences happening and Mr. Utterson trying to investigate and help his friend Dr. Jekyll. The story finally starts unraveling like a mystery staying true to its gothic and horror elements. Turns out, that Mr. Hyde is actually the alter ego of Dr. Jekyll. Being a man of science himself, Dr. Jekyll taps into his spiritual side. He is fascinated with the dual nature of man and wants to find the truth. His experiments quickly backfire, leaving him with Mr. Hyde as an alter ego.
The theme of the story focuses on good versus evil and the duality of human nature.
Dr, Jekyll’s Dr. Jekyll constantly struggles to keep his darker side in check which comes out as Mr. Hyde. All the repressed darker emotions in Dr. Jekyll are the personality of Mr. Hyde. He literally, separates the two sides of himself. The complete contrast between the characters of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde are starkly portrayed even though they are the same person. In general, all the characters face moral dilemmas, and it is hinted, that everyone is repressing a side of themselves. Unlike, Dr. Jekyll, the others don’t give in to their dark emotions.
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde takes its time with story building, and the pace is a little slow for the first few pages. It is written in a thriller sort of way with descriptions and that slightly eerie feeling of gothic stories. The most fascinating part of the story is the duality of the human nature theme. Robert Louis Stevenson has dealt with such complex concepts really well. All the explanations towards the end make up for the lack of pace at the start.
I enjoyed reading The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. It was slightly different than what I expected because I have seen this concept used before in different mediums with Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’s references. It is an interesting read that will keep you engaged throughout the book.
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