Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Author: Robert Louis Stevenson
If he be Mr. Hyde, I shall be Mr. Seek.
In Victorian London, Dr. Jekyll struggles with an experiment gone wrong. His life is turned upside down from a serum he created that brings a much more darker part of himself to the surface in the form of the disfigured Mr. Hyde. More and more often the doctor is locked away in his own body while the crazed and destructive Mr. Hyde is out on the streets at night terrorizing people and there’s nothing he can do about it. Dr. Jekyll turns to his trusted lawyer, Mr. Utterson, for help before it is too late.
I really got sucked into themes and ideas with this book. For a short story it was quite in-depth and was very dramatic. It was quite enjoyable and fast-paced. Dark is an understatement here. A good portion of this takes places at night and most of the characters’ nature match that darkness, which now I will propel deeper into.
This classic novel didn’t lean on the horror genre in my opinion. It felt like more of just a Gothic fictional piece. Mr. Utterson who is investigating this ordeal between Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde goes about the story with great detail. He cares deeply for his friend which is why he can’t give up on the doctor and his troubles like many others seemed to do throughout the story. Much of what happened was just tragic, but not scary.
The theme is obvious to all of those that have read this story before: the duality of man-that there is both a good and a bad side to a person that cannot be avoided. (Yin-Yang, etc.) Throughout the book it is pressed upon that the darker side of man is to be locked away and the key thrown away. This is one of the most common contemplations both in books and in the real world. Who are we? What kind of people are we? It’s a complex question with variables that blur the lines of black and white when you get nitty gritty. Life is never so simple. There’s always that grey area.
However, what about the idea that rumors are like wildfire? That one terrible incident can ruin a person’s life and consume them, forever making them this hideous creature according to other people for the rest of their life, with no hope of return? No amount of apology or repentance can fix this evil deed? Or what if this rumor isn’t even true? This debacle involving the doctor and his serum all starts with a story between Mr. Utterson and his friend about seeing a man who assaulted another person at night. In the dark it can be hard to see all of the features of a person and shadows can certainly morph those features. So while people assumed who it was, was it actually this person? Was it somebody else? While guilt does eat away at the person to blame, I know from personal experience that it can also it eat at a person blamed who is completely innocent. So, I find that
The style really moved me. It’s haunting and chilling with the description of shadows and how they lurk about in the night. Parts of this story are based around letters and stories rather than directly from what is happening at the time. I feel like I don’t get a full view of what may actually be happening; that it’s mostly hearsay from other characters rather than the man it’s actually happening to. When Dr. Jekyll really did get his moment it was too late. He was completely influenced by everyone around him. It was incredibly heavy on him. I found it very interesting.
The characters were very interesting, but not as people, but as in their purpose. I guess it’s tricky to understand. Like, the way they all circled around Dr. Jekyll like sharks. Even Mr. Hyde circled around him. There wasn’t a moment in which I was directly in Dr. Jekyll’s shoes, but he was the main character. He is what the story is all about, but I learned all about him from everybody else. Jekyll’s appearances were very few and in between. It added to my wonderings about if I could trust the information by these characters who professed to know him so well.
This was a great tale that really got me to think about the nature of man, but like I said, there wasn’t anything that really screamed horror like Frankenstein and Dracula. This was more thriller than anything. My anticipation to see Mr. Hyde was ever-growing the further I read. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it. It really got me thinking and from time to time I enjoy a good story that makes me question things in my life/in the world. That’s really what I gained from this.
“I swear to God I will never set eyes on him again. I bind my honour to you that I am done with him in this world. It is all at an end.” (Dr. Jekyll to Utterson, p. 29)
“With every day, and from both sides of my intelligence, the moral and the intellectual, I thus drew steadily nearer to that truth, by whose partial discovery I have been doomed to such a dreadful shipwreck; that man is not truly one, but truly two.” (Dr. Jekyll, p. 60)
More to come soon…
P.S. Song today? Haunting by Halsey.
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