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Analysis of Jekyll and Hyde Duality in Stevenson's Novel

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  • Edley, N., & Wetherell, M. (2001). Jekyll and Hyde: Men's constructions of feminism and feminists. Feminism & Psychology, 11(4), 439-457. (https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/0959353501011004002)
  • Doane, J., & Hodges, D. (1989, October). Demonic Disturbances of Sexual Identity: The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr/s Hyde. In NOVEL: a Forum on Fiction (Vol. 23, No. 1, pp. 63-74). Duke University Press.(https://www.jstor.org/stable/1345579)
  • Rose, B. A. (1996). Jekyll and Hyde Adapted: Dramatizations of Cultural Anxiety (No. 66). Greenwood Publishing Group. (https://www.worldcat.org/title/jekyll-and-hyde-adapted-dramatizations-of-cultural-anxiety/oclc/32921958)
  • Becchio, C., Sartori, L., Bulgheroni, M., & Castiello, U. (2008). The case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: a kinematic study on social intention. Consciousness and cognition, 17(3), 557-564. (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1053810007000207)
  • Lacey, N. (2010). Psychologising Jekyll, demonising Hyde: The strange case of criminal responsibility. Criminal Law and Philosophy, 4, 109-133. (https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11572-010-9091-8)

Should follow an ‚Äúupside down‚ÄĚ triangle format, meaning, the writer should start off broad and introduce the text and author or topic being discussed, and then get more specific to the thesis statement.

Cornerstone of the essay, presenting the central argument that will be elaborated upon and supported with evidence and analysis throughout the rest of the paper.

The topic sentence serves as the main point or focus of a paragraph in an essay, summarizing the key idea that will be discussed in that paragraph.

The body of each paragraph builds an argument in support of the topic sentence, citing information from sources as evidence.

After each piece of evidence is provided, the author should explain HOW and WHY the evidence supports the claim.

Should follow a right side up triangle format, meaning, specifics should be mentioned first such as restating the thesis, and then get more broad about the topic at hand. Lastly, leave the reader with something to think about and ponder once they are done reading.

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jekyll and hyde thesis statements

jekyll and hyde thesis statements

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Robert louis stevenson, everything you need for every book you read..

Science, Reason and the Supernatural Theme Icon

Much of the suspense associated with the mysteries of the novel are suspenseful solely because they are deliberately kept secret or repressed by the characters. The novel's secrets come out in spits and spurts. Enfield shares his story with Utterson , but he is only persuaded to share Hyde ’s name at the end. Utterson, upon hearing Hyde's name, does not reveal that he has heard it before, in Jekyll's will. From that point on, most of the story’s revelations are made not through conversation between characters but rather through a sequence of letters and documents , addressed, sealed and enclosed in safes, so that they need to be put together like a puzzle at the end. The dependence on these sheets of paper for the unraveling of the mystery creates a sense of silence and isolation about each character, and leaves the reader not really sure how much we have been allowed in to the intimacies of their minds. Each man seems to be isolated from every other, and there is a sense that this masculine world has been hushed by the need to maintain social reputation. The men avoid gossip, seem almost to avoid speaking completely about anything of substance, and while many of the men describe themselves as friends, their relationships are most defined by the things they keep secret from each other. There are many occasions in which one man will start to talk and then silence himself and keep the remainder, often the most important or personal detail, to himself. The weight of unsaid information is heavy.

Jekyll's actions suggest the possible outcome of such self-repression. He ultimately feels compelled to find a secret outlet for the urges he cannot share‚ÄĒMr. Hyde. Through Mr. Hyde, Jekyll believes he can maintain his reputation while enjoying his darker urges, but Hyde's takeover of Jekyll suggests that repression only strengthens that which is repressed, puts it under higher pressure so that it explodes.

Reputation, Secrecy and Repression ThemeTracker

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde PDF

Reputation, Secrecy and Repression Quotes in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

"I feel very strongly about putting questions; it partakes too much of the style of the day of judgment. You start a question, and it's like starting a stone. You sit quietly on the top of a hill; and away the stone goes, starting others‚Ķ‚ÄĚ

Science, Reason and the Supernatural Theme Icon

"Poor Harry Jekyll," he thought, "my mind misgives me he is in deep waters! He was wild when he was young; a long while ago to be sure; but in the law of God, there is no statute of limitations. Ay, it must be that; the ghost of some old sin, the cancer of some concealed disgrace‚Ķ‚ÄĚ

The Duality of Human Nature Theme Icon

The large handsome face of Dr. Jekyll grew pale to the very lips, and there came a blackness about his eyes. "I do not care to hear more," said he. "This is a matter I thought we had agreed to drop."

"I cannot say that I care what becomes of Hyde; I am quite done with him. I was thinking of my own character, which this hateful business has rather exposed."

The death of Sir Danvers was, to his way of thinking, more than paid for by the disappearance of Mr. Hyde. Now that that evil influence had been withdrawn, a new life began for Dr. Jekyll. He came out of his seclusion, renewed relations with his friends, became once more their familiar guest and entertainer…

"I have had a shock," he said, "and I shall never recover. It is a question of weeks. Well, life has been pleasant; I liked it; yes, sir, I used to like it. I sometimes think if we knew all, we should be more glad to get away."

Innocence and Violence Theme Icon

The middle one of the three windows was half-way open; and sitting close beside it, taking the air with an infinite sadness of mien, like some disconsolate prisoner, Utterson saw Dr. Jekyll.

"O, sir," cried Poole, "do you think I do not know my master after twenty years? Do you think I do not know where his head comes to in the cabinet door, where I saw him every morning of my life? No, sir, that thing in the mask was never Dr. Jekyll--God knows what it was, but it was never Dr. Jekyll; and it is the belief of my heart that there was murder done."

“Think of me at this hour, in a strange place, labouring under a blackness of distress that no fancy can exaggerate, and yet well aware that, if you will but punctually serve me, my troubles will roll away like a story that is told. Serve me, my dear Lanyon and save

Your friend, H.J.‚ÄĚ

"Lanyon, you remember your vows: what follows is under the seal of our profession. And now, you who have so long been bound to the most narrow and material views, you who have denied the virtue of transcendental medicine, you who have derided your superiors--behold!"

What he told me in the next hour, I cannot bring my mind to set on paper. I saw what I saw, I heard what I heard, and my soul sickened at it; and yet now when that sight has faded from my eyes, I ask myself if I believe it, and I cannot answer.

I am careless; this is my true hour of death, and what is to follow concerns another than myself. Here then, as I lay down the pen and proceed to seal up my confession, I bring the life of that unhappy Henry Jekyll to an end.

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The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Henry Jekyll’s Full Statement of the Case

I WAS born in the year 18‚ÄĒ to a large fortune, endowed besides¬†with excellent parts, inclined by nature to industry, fond of the¬†respect of the wise and good among my fellow-men, and thus, as¬†might have been supposed, with every guarantee of an honourable¬†and distinguished future. And indeed the worst of my faults was a¬†certain impatient gaiety of disposition, such as has made the¬†happiness of many, but such as I found it hard to reconcile with¬†my imperious desire to carry my head high, and wear a more than¬†commonly grave countenance before the public. Hence it came about¬†that I concealed my pleasures; and that when I reached years of¬†reflection, and began to look round me and take stock of my¬†progress and position in the world, I stood already committed to¬†a profound duplicity of life. Many a man would have even blazoned¬†such irregularities as I was guilty of; but from the high views¬†that I had set before me, I regarded and hid them with an almost¬†morbid sense of shame. It was thus rather the exacting¬†nature of my aspirations than any particular degradation in my¬†faults, that made me what I was and, with even a deeper trench¬†than in the majority of men, severed in me those provinces of¬†good and ill which divide and compound man’s dual nature. In this¬†case, I was driven to reflect deeply and inveterately on that¬†hard law of life, which lies at the root of religion and is one¬†of the most plentiful springs of distress. Though so profound a¬†double-dealer, I was in no sense a hypocrite; 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 furtherance of knowledge or the relief of sorrow¬†and suffering. And it chanced that the direction of my scientific¬†studies, which led wholly toward the mystic and the¬†transcendental, re-acted and shed a strong light on this¬†consciousness of the perennial war among my members. 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. I say two,¬†because the state of my own knowledge does not pass beyond that¬†point. Others will follow, others will outstrip me on the same¬†lines; and I hazard the guess that man will be ultimately known¬†for a mere polity of multifarious, incongruous, and independent¬†denizens. I, for my¬†part, from the nature of my life, advanced infallibly in one¬†direction and in one direction only. It was on the moral side,¬†and in my own person, that I learned to recognise the thorough¬†and primitive duality of man; I saw that, of the two natures that¬†contended in the field of my consciousness, even if I could¬†rightly be said to be either, it was only because I was radically¬†both; and from an early date, even before the course of my¬†scientific discoveries had begun to suggest the most naked¬†possibility of such a miracle, I had learned to dwell with¬†pleasure, as a beloved day-dream, on the thought of the¬†separation of these elements. If each, I told myself, could but¬†be housed in separate identities, life would be relieved of all¬†that was unbearable; the unjust delivered from the aspirations¬†might go his way, and remorse of his more upright twin; and the¬†just could walk steadfastly and securely on his upward path,¬†doing the good things in which he found his pleasure, and no¬†longer exposed to disgrace and penitence by the hands of this¬†extraneous evil. It was the curse of mankind that these¬†incongruous fagots were thus bound together that in the agonised¬†womb of consciousness, these polar twins should be continuously¬†struggling. How, then, were they dissociated?

I was so far in my reflections when, as I have said, a side-light¬†began to shine upon the subject from the laboratory table. I¬†began to perceive¬†more deeply than it has ever yet been stated, the trembling¬†immateriality, the mist-like transience of this ¬†seemingly so¬†solid body in which we walk attired. Certain agents I found to¬†have the power to shake and to pluck back that fleshly vestment,¬†even as a wind might toss the curtains of a pavilion. For two¬†good reasons, I will not enter deeply into this scientific branch¬†of my confession. First, because I have been made to learn that¬†the doom and burthen of our life is bound for ever on man’s¬†shoulders, and when the attempt is made to cast it off, it but¬†returns upon us with more unfamiliar and more awful pressure.¬†Second, because, as my narrative will make, alas! too evident, my¬†discoveries were incomplete. Enough, then, that I not only¬†recognised my natural body for the mere aura and effulgence of¬†certain of the powers that made up my spirit, but managed to¬†compound a drug by which these powers should be dethroned from¬†their supremacy, and a second form and countenance substituted,¬†none the less natural to me because they were the expression, and¬†bore the stamp, of lower elements in my soul.

I hesitated long before I put this theory to the test of practice. I knew well that I risked death; for any drug that so potently controlled and shook the very fortress of identity, might by the least scruple of an overdose or at the least inopportunity in the moment of exhibition, utterly blot out that immaterial tabernacle which I looked to it to change. But the temptation of a discovery so singular and profound, at last overcame the suggestions of alarm. I had long since prepared my tincture; I purchased at once, from a firm of wholesale chemists, a large quantity of a particular salt which I knew, from my experiments, to be the last ingredient required; and late one accursed night, I compounded the elements, watched them boil and smoke together in the glass, and when the ebullition had subsided, with a strong glow of courage, drank off the potion.

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. There was something strange in my sensations, something indescribably new and, from its very novelty, incredibly sweet. I felt younger, lighter, happier in body; within I was conscious of a heady recklessness, a current of disordered sensual images running like a mill-race in my fancy, a solution of the bonds of obligation, an unknown but not an innocent freedom of the soul. I knew myself, at the first breath of this new life, to be more wicked, tenfold more wicked, sold a slave to my original evil; and the thought, in that moment, braced and delighted me like wine. I stretched out my hands, exulting in the freshness of these sensations; and in the act, I was suddenly aware that I had lost in stature.

There was no mirror, at that date, in my room; that which stands¬†beside me as I write, was brought there later on and for the very¬†purpose of these transformations. The night, however, was far¬†gone into the morning‚ÄĒthe morning, black as it was, was nearly¬†ripe for the conception of the day‚ÄĒthe inmates of my house¬†were locked in the most rigorous hours of slumber; and I¬†determined, flushed as I was with hope and triumph, to venture in¬†my new shape as far as to my bedroom. I crossed the yard, wherein¬†the constellations looked down upon me, I could have thought,¬†with wonder, the first creature of that sort that their¬†unsleeping vigilance had yet disclosed to them; I stole through¬†the corridors, a stranger in my own house; and coming to my room,¬†I saw for the first time the appearance of Edward Hyde.

I must here speak by theory alone, saying not that which I know, but that which I suppose to be most probable. The evil side of my nature, to which I had now transferred the stamping efficacy, was less robust and less developed than the good which I had just deposed. Again, in the course of my life, which had been, after all, nine-tenths a life of effort, virtue, and control, it had been much less exercised and much less exhausted. And hence, as I think, it came about that Edward Hyde was so much smaller, slighter, and younger than Henry Jekyll. Even as good shone upon the countenance of the one, evil was written broadly and plainly on the face of the other. Evil besides (which I must still believe to be the lethal side of man) had left on that body an imprint of deformity and decay. And yet when I looked upon that ugly idol in the glass, I was conscious of no repugnance, rather of a leap of welcome. This, too, was myself. It seemed natural and human. In my eyes it bore a livelier image of the spirit, it seemed more express and single, than the imperfect and divided countenance I had been hitherto accustomed to call mine. And in so far I was doubtless right. I have observed that when I wore the semblance of Edward Hyde, none could come near to me at first without a visible misgiving of the flesh. This, as I take it, was because all human beings, as we meet them, are commingled out of good and evil: and Edward Hyde, alone in the ranks of mankind, was pure evil.

I lingered but a moment at the mirror: the second and conclusive experiment had yet to be attempted; it yet remained to be seen if I had lost my identity beyond redemption and must flee before daylight from a house that was no longer mine; and hurrying back to my cabinet, I once more prepared and drank the cup, once more suffered the pangs of dissolution, and came to myself once more with the character, the stature, and the face of Henry Jekyll.

That night I had come to the fatal cross-roads. Had I approached my discovery in a more noble spirit, had I risked the experiment while under the empire of generous or pious aspirations, all must have been otherwise, and from these agonies of death and birth, I had come forth an angel instead of a fiend. The drug had no discriminating action; it was neither diabolical nor divine; it but shook the doors of the prison-house of my disposition; and like the captives of Philippi, that which stood within ran forth. At that time my virtue slumbered; my evil, kept awake by ambition, was alert and swift to seize the occasion; and the thing that was projected was Edward Hyde. Hence, although I had now two characters as well as two appearances, one was wholly evil, and the other was still the old Henry Jekyll, that incongruous compound of whose reformation and improvement I had already learned to despair. The movement was thus wholly toward the worse.

Even at that time, I had not yet conquered my aversion to the dryness of a life of study. I would still be merrily disposed at times; and as my pleasures were (to say the least) undignified, and I was not only well known and highly considered, but growing toward the elderly man, this incoherency of my life was daily growing more unwelcome. It was on this side that my new power tempted me until I fell in slavery. I had but to drink the cup, to doff at once the body of the noted professor, and to assume, like a thick cloak, that of Edward Hyde. I smiled at the notion; it seemed to me at the time to be humorous; and I made my preparations with the most studious care. I took and furnished that house in Soho, to which Hyde was tracked by the police; and engaged as housekeeper a creature whom I well knew to be silent and unscrupulous. On the other side, I announced to my servants that a Mr. Hyde (whom I described) was to have full liberty and power about my house in the square; and to parry mishaps, I even called and made myself a familiar object, in my second character. I next drew up that will to which you so much objected; so that if anything befell me in the person of Dr. Jekyll, I could enter on that of Edward Hyde without pecuniary loss. And thus fortified, as I supposed, on every side, I began to profit by the strange immunities of my position.

Men have before hired bravos to transact their crimes, while¬†their own person and reputation sat under shelter. I was the¬†first that ever did so for his pleasures. I was the first that¬†could thus plod in the public eye with a load of genial¬†respectability, and in a moment, like a schoolboy, strip off¬†these lendings and spring headlong into the sea of liberty. But¬†for me, in my impenetrable mantle, the safety was complete. Think¬†of it‚ÄĒI did not even exist! Let me but escape into my¬†laboratory door, give me but a second or¬†two to mix and swallow the draught that I had always standing¬†ready; and whatever he had done, Edward Hyde would pass away like¬†the stain of breath upon a mirror; and there in his stead,¬†quietly at home, trimming the midnight lamp in his study, a man¬†who could afford to laugh at suspicion, would be Henry Jekyll.

The pleasures which I made haste to seek in my disguise were, as I have said, undignified; I would scarce use a harder term. But in the hands of Edward Hyde, they soon began to turn toward the monstrous. When I would come back from these excursions, I was often plunged into a kind of wonder at my vicarious depravity. This familiar that I called out of my own soul, and sent forth alone to do his good pleasure, was a being inherently malign and villainous; his every act and thought centred on self; drinking pleasure with bestial avidity from any degree of torture to another; relentless like a man of stone. Henry Jekyll stood at times aghast before the acts of Edward Hyde; but the situation was apart from ordinary laws, and insidiously relaxed the grasp of conscience. It was Hyde, after all, and Hyde alone, that was guilty. Jekyll was no worse; he woke again to his good qualities seemingly unimpaired; he would even make haste, where it was possible, to undo the evil done by Hyde. And thus his conscience slumbered.

Into the details of the infamy at which I thus¬†connived (for even now I can scarce grant that I committed it) I¬†have no design of entering; I mean but to point out the warnings¬†and the successive steps with which my chastisement approached. I¬†met with one accident which, as it brought on no consequence, I¬†shall no more than mention. An act of cruelty to a child aroused¬†against me the anger of a passer-by, whom I recognised the other¬†day in the person of your kinsman; the doctor and the child’s¬†family joined him; there were moments when I feared for my life;¬†and at last, in order to pacify their too just resentment, Edward¬†Hyde had to bring them to the door, and pay them in a cheque¬†drawn in the name of Henry Jekyll. But this danger was easily¬†eliminated from the future, by opening an account at another bank¬†in the name of Edward Hyde himself; and when, by sloping my own¬†hand backward, I had supplied my double with a signature, I¬†thought I sat beyond the reach of fate.

Some two months before the murder of Sir Danvers, I had been out for one of my adventures, had returned at a late hour, and woke the next day in bed with somewhat odd sensations. It was in vain I looked about me; in vain I saw the decent furniture and tall proportions of my room in the square; in vain that I recognised the pattern of the bed-curtains and the design of the mahogany frame; something still kept insisting that I was not where I was, that I had not wakened where I seemed to be, but in the little room in Soho where I was accustomed to sleep in the body of Edward Hyde. I smiled to myself, and, in my psychological way began lazily to inquire into the elements of this illusion, occasionally, even as I did so, dropping back into a comfortable morning doze. I was still so engaged when, in one of my more wakeful moments, my eyes fell upon my hand. Now the hand of Henry Jekyll (as you have often remarked) was professional in shape and size: it was large, firm, white, and comely. But the hand which I now saw, clearly enough, in the yellow light of a mid-London morning, lying half shut on the bed-clothes, was lean, corded, knuckly, of a dusky pallor and thickly shaded with a swart growth of hair. It was the hand of Edward Hyde.

I must have stared upon it for near half a minute, sunk as I was¬†in the mere stupidity of wonder, before terror woke up in my¬†breast as sudden and startling as the crash of cymbals; and¬†bounding from my bed, I rushed to the mirror. At the sight that¬†met my eyes, my blood was changed into something exquisitely thin¬†and icy. Yes, I had gone to bed Henry Jekyll, I had awakened¬†Edward Hyde. How was this to be explained? I asked myself, and¬†then, with another bound of terror‚ÄĒhow was it to be remedied?¬†It was well on in the morning; the servants were up; all my drugs¬†were in the¬†cabinet‚ÄĒa long journey down two pairs of stairs, through the¬†back passage, across the open court and through the anatomical¬†theatre, from where I was then standing horror-struck. It might¬†indeed be possible to cover my face; but of what use was that,¬†when I was unable to conceal the alteration in my stature? And¬†then with an overpowering sweetness of relief, it came back upon¬†my mind that the servants were already used to the coming and¬†going of my second self. I had soon dressed, as well as I was¬†able, in clothes of my own size: had soon passed through the¬†house, where Bradshaw stared and drew back at seeing Mr. Hyde at¬†such an hour and in such a strange array; and ten minutes later,¬†Dr. Jekyll had returned to his own shape and was sitting down,¬†with a darkened brow, to make a feint of breakfasting.

Small indeed was my appetite. This inexplicable incident, this¬†reversal of my previous experience, seemed, like the Babylonian¬†finger on the wall, to be spelling out the letters of my¬†judgment; and I began to reflect more seriously than ever before¬†on the issues and possibilities of my double existence. That part¬†of me which I had the power of projecting, had lately been much¬†exercised and nourished; it had seemed to me of late as though¬†the body of Edward Hyde had grown in stature, as though (when I¬†wore that form) I were conscious of a more generous tide of¬†blood; and I began to spy a danger that,¬†if this were much prolonged, the balance of my nature might be¬†permanently overthrown, the power of voluntary change be¬†forfeited, and the character of Edward Hyde become irrevocably¬†mine. The power of the drug had not been always equally¬†displayed. Once, very early in my career, it had totally failed¬†me; since then I had been obliged on more than one occasion to¬†double, and once, with infinite risk of death, to treble the¬†amount; and these rare uncertainties had cast hitherto the sole¬†shadow on my contentment. Now, however, and in the light of that¬†morning’s accident, I was led to remark that whereas, in the¬†beginning, the difficulty had been to throw off the body of¬†Jekyll, it had of late gradually but decidedly transferred itself¬†to the other side. All things therefore seemed to point to this:¬†that I was slowly losing hold of my original and better self, and¬†becoming slowly incorporated with my second and worse.

Between these two, I now felt I had to choose. My two natures had¬†memory in common, but all other faculties were most unequally¬†shared between them. Jekyll (who was composite) now with the most¬†sensitive apprehensions, now with a greedy gusto, projected and¬†shared in the pleasures and adventures of Hyde; but Hyde was¬†indifferent to Jekyll, or but remembered him as the mountain¬†bandit remembers the cavern in which he conceals himself from¬†pursuit. Jekyll had more than a father’s interest; Hyde¬†had more than a son’s indifference. To cast in my lot with¬†Jekyll, was to die to those appetites which I had long secretly¬†indulged and had of late begun to pamper. To cast it in with¬†Hyde, was to die to a thousand interests and aspirations, and to¬†become, at a blow and for ever, despised and friendless. The¬†bargain might appear unequal; but there was still another¬†consideration in the scales; for while Jekyll would suffer¬†smartingly in the fires of abstinence, Hyde would be not even¬†conscious of all that he had lost. Strange as my circumstances¬†were, the terms of this debate are as old and commonplace as man;¬†much the same inducements and alarms cast the die for any tempted¬†and trembling sinner; and it fell out with me, as it falls with¬†so vast a majority of my fellows, that I chose the better part¬†and was found wanting in the strength to keep to it.

Yes, I preferred the elderly and discontented doctor, surrounded by friends and cherishing honest hopes; and bade a resolute farewell to the liberty, the comparative youth, the light step, leaping impulses and secret pleasures, that I had enjoyed in the disguise of Hyde. I made this choice perhaps with some unconscious reservation, for I neither gave up the house in Soho, nor destroyed the clothes of Edward Hyde, which still lay ready in my cabinet. For two months, however, I was true to my determination; for two months I led a life of such severity as I had never before attained to, and enjoyed the compensations of an approving conscience. But time began at last to obliterate the freshness of my alarm; the praises of conscience began to grow into a thing of course; I began to be tortured with throes and longings, as of Hyde struggling after freedom; and at last, in an hour of moral weakness, I once again compounded and swallowed the transforming draught.

I do not suppose that, when a drunkard reasons with himself upon his vice, he is once out of five hundred times affected by the dangers that he runs through his brutish, physical insensibility; neither had I, long as I had considered my position, made enough allowance for the complete moral insensibility and insensate readiness to evil, which were the leading characters of Edward Hyde. Yet it was by these that I was punished. My devil had been long caged, he came out roaring. I was conscious, even when I took the draught, of a more unbridled, a more furious propensity to ill. It must have been this, I suppose, that stirred in my soul that tempest of impatience with which I listened to the civilities of my unhappy victim; I declare, at least, before God, no man morally sane could have been guilty of that crime upon so pitiful a provocation; and that I struck in no more reasonable spirit than that in which a sick child may break a plaything. But I had voluntarily stripped myself of all those balancing instincts by which even the worst of us continues to walk with some degree of steadiness among temptations; and in my case, to be tempted, however slightly, was to fall.

Instantly the spirit of hell awoke in me and raged. With a¬†transport of glee, I mauled the unresisting body, tasting delight¬†from every blow; and it was not till weariness had begun to¬†succeed, that I was suddenly, in the top fit of my delirium,¬†struck through the heart by a cold thrill of terror. A mist¬†dispersed; I saw my life to be forfeit; and fled from the scene¬†of these excesses, at once glorying and trembling, my lust of¬†evil gratified and stimulated, my love of life screwed to the¬†topmost peg. I ran to the house in Soho, and (to make assurance¬†doubly sure) destroyed my papers; thence I set out through the¬†lamplit streets, in the same divided ecstasy of mind, gloating on¬†my crime, light-headedly devising others in the future, and yet¬†still hastening and still hearkening in my wake for the steps of¬†the avenger. Hyde had a song upon his lips as he compounded the¬†draught, and as he drank it, pledged the dead man. The pangs of¬†transformation had not done tearing him, before Henry Jekyll,¬†with streaming tears of gratitude and remorse, had fallen upon¬†his knees and lifted his clasped hands to God. The veil of¬†self-indulgence was rent from head to foot, I saw my life as a¬†whole: I followed it up from the days of childhood, when I had¬†walked¬†with my father’s hand, and through the self-denying toils of my¬†professional life, to arrive again and again, with the same sense¬†of unreality, at the damned horrors of the evening. I could have¬†screamed aloud; I sought with tears and prayers to smother down¬†the crowd of hideous images and sounds with which my memory¬†swarmed against me; and still, between the petitions, the ugly¬†face of my iniquity stared into my soul. As the acuteness of this remorse began to die away, it was succeeded by a sense of joy.¬†The problem of my conduct was solved. Hyde was thenceforth¬†impossible; whether I would or not, I was now confined to the¬†better part of my existence; and oh, how I rejoiced to think it!¬†with what willing humility, I embraced anew the restrictions of¬†natural life! with what sincere renunciation, I locked the door¬†by which I had so often gone and come, and ground the key under¬†my heel!

The next day, came the news that the murder had been overlooked, that the guilt of Hyde was patent to the world, and that the victim was a man high in public estimation. It was not only a crime, it had been a tragic folly. I think I was glad to know it; I think I was glad to have my better impulses thus buttressed and guarded by the terrors of the scaffold. Jekyll was now my city of refuge; let but Hyde peep out an instant, and the hands of all men would be raised to take and slay him.

I resolved in my future conduct to redeem the past; and I can say with honesty that my resolve was fruitful of some good You know yourself how earnestly in the last months of last year, I laboured to relieve suffering; you know that much was done for others, and that the days passed quietly, almost happily for myself. Nor can I truly say that I wearied of this beneficent and innocent life; I think instead that I daily enjoyed it more completely; but I was still cursed with my duality of purpose; and as the first edge of my penitence wore off, the lower side of me, so long indulged, so recently chained down, began to growl for licence. Not that I dreamed of resuscitating Hyde; the bare idea of that would startle me to frenzy: no, it was in my own person, that I was once more tempted to trifle with my conscience; and it was as an ordinary secret sinner, that I at last fell before the assaults of temptation.

There comes an end to all things; the most capacious measure is¬†filled at last; and this brief condescension to evil finally¬†destroyed the balance of my soul. And yet I was not alarmed; the¬†fall seemed natural, like a return to the old days before I had¬†made discovery. It was a fine, clear, January day, wet under foot¬†where the frost had melted, but cloudless overhead; and the¬†Regent’s Park was full of winter chirrupings and sweet with¬†spring odours. I sat in the sun on a bench; the animal within me¬†licking the¬†chops of memory; the spiritual side a little drowsed, promising¬†subsequent penitence, but not yet moved to begin. After all, I¬†reflected, I was like my neighbours; and then I smiled, comparing¬†myself with other men, comparing my active goodwill with the lazy¬†cruelty of their neglect. And at the very moment of that¬†vain-glorious thought, a qualm came over me, a horrid nausea and¬†the most deadly shuddering. These passed away, and left me faint;¬†and then as in its turn the faintness subsided, I began to be¬†aware of a change in the temper of my thoughts, a greater¬†boldness, a contempt of danger, a solution of the bonds of¬†obligation. I looked down; my clothes hung formlessly on my¬†shrunken limbs; the hand that lay on my knee was corded and¬†hairy. I was once more Edward Hyde. A moment before I had been¬†safe of all men’s respect, wealthy, beloved‚ÄĒthe cloth laying¬†for me in the dining-room at home; and now I was the common¬†quarry of mankind, hunted, houseless, a known murderer, thrall to¬†the gallows.

My reason wavered, but it did not fail me utterly. I have more than once observed that, in my second character, my faculties seemed sharpened to a point and my spirits more tensely elastic; thus it came about that, where Jekyll perhaps might have succumbed, Hyde rose to the importance of the moment. My drugs were in one of the presses of my cabinet; how was I to reach them? That was the problem that (crushing my temples in my hands) I set myself to solve. The laboratory door I had closed. If I sought to enter by the house, my own servants would consign me to the gallows. I saw I must employ another hand, and thought of Lanyon. How was he to be reached? how persuaded? Supposing that I escaped capture in the streets, how was I to make my way into his presence? and how should I, an unknown and displeasing visitor, prevail on the famous physician to rifle the study of his colleague, Dr. Jekyll? Then I remembered that of my original character, one part remained to me: I could write my own hand; and once I had conceived that kindling spark, the way that I must follow became lighted up from end to end.

Thereupon, I arranged my clothes as best I could, and summoning a passing hansom, drove to an hotel in Portland Street, the name of which I chanced to remember. At my appearance (which was indeed comical enough, however tragic a fate these garments covered) the driver could not conceal his mirth. I gnashed my teeth upon him¬†with a gust of devilish fury; and the smile withered from his face‚ÄĒhappily for him‚ÄĒyet more happily for myself, for in another instant I had certainly dragged him from his perch. At the inn, as I entered, I looked about me with so black a countenance as made the attendants tremble; not a look did they exchange in my¬†presence; but obsequiously took my orders, led me to a private room, and brought me wherewithal to write. Hyde in danger of his life was a creature new to me; shaken with inordinate anger, strung to the pitch of murder, lusting to inflict pain. Yet the creature was astute; mastered his fury with a great effort of the will; composed his two important letters, one to Lanyon and one to Poole; and that he might receive actual evidence of their being posted, sent them out with directions that they should be registered.

Thenceforward, he sat all day over the fire in the private room, gnawing his nails; there he dined, sitting alone with his fears, the waiter visibly quailing before his eye; and thence, when the night was fully come, he set forth in the corner of a closed cab, and was driven to and fro about the streets of the city. He, I say‚ÄĒI cannot say, I. That child of Hell had nothing human; nothing lived in him but fear and hatred. And when at last, thinking the driver had begun to grow suspicious, he discharged the cab and ventured on foot, attired in his misfitting clothes, an object marked out for observation, into the midst of the nocturnal passengers, these two base passions raged within him like a tempest. He walked fast, hunted by his fears, chattering to himself, skulking through the less-frequented thoroughfares, counting the minutes that still divided him from midnight. Once a¬†woman spoke to him, offering, I think, a box of lights. He smote her in the face, and she fled.

When I came to myself at Lanyon’s, the horror of my old friend perhaps affected me somewhat: I do not know; it was at least but a drop in the sea to the abhorrence with which I looked back upon these hours. A change had come over me. It was no longer the fear of the gallows, it was the horror of being Hyde that racked me. I received Lanyon’s condemnation partly in a dream; it was partly in a dream that I came home to my own house and got into bed. I slept after the prostration of the day, with a stringent and profound slumber which not even the nightmares that wrung me could avail to break. I awoke in the morning shaken, weakened, but refreshed. I still hated and feared the thought of the brute that slept within me, and I had not of course forgotten the appalling dangers of the day before; but I was once more at home, in my own house and close to my drugs; and gratitude for my escape shone so strong in my soul that it almost rivalled the brightness of hope.

I was stepping leisurely across the court after breakfast, drinking the chill of the air with pleasure, when I was seized again with those indescribable sensations that heralded the change; and I had but the time to gain the shelter of my cabinet, before I was once again raging and freezing with the passions of Hyde. It took on this occasion a double dose to recall me to myself; and alas! Six hours after, as I sat looking sadly in the fire, the pangs returned, and the drug had to be re-administered. In short, from that day forth it seemed only by a great effort as of gymnastics, and only under the immediate stimulation of the drug, that I was able to wear the countenance of Jekyll. At all hours of the day and night, I would be taken with the premonitory shudder; above all, if I slept, or even dozed for a moment in my chair, it was always as Hyde that I awakened. Under the strain of this continually-impending doom and by the sleeplessness to which I now condemned myself, ay, even beyond what I had thought possible to man, I became, in my own person, a creature eaten up and emptied by fever, languidly weak both in body and mind, and solely occupied by one thought: the horror of my other self. But when I slept, or when the virtue of the medicine wore off, I would leap almost without transition (for the pangs of transformation grew daily less marked) into the possession of a fancy brimming with images of terror, a soul boiling with causeless hatreds, and a body that seemed not strong enough to contain the raging energies of life. The powers of Hyde seemed to have grown with the sickliness of Jekyll. And certainly the hate that now divided them was equal on each side. With Jekyll, it was a thing of vital instinct. He had now seen the full deformity of that creature that shared with him some of the phenomena of consciousness, and was co-heir with him to death: and beyond these links of community, which in themselves made the most poignant part of his distress, he thought of Hyde, for all his energy of life, as of something not only hellish but inorganic. This was the shocking thing; that the slime of the pit seemed to utter cries and voices; that the amorphous dust gesticulated and sinned; that what was dead, and had no shape, should usurp the offices of life. And this again, that that insurgent horror was knit to him closer than a wife, closer than an eye; lay caged in his flesh, where he heard it mutter and felt it struggle to be born; and at every hour of weakness, and in the confidence of slumber, prevailed against him and deposed him out of life. The hatred of Hyde for Jekyll, was of a different order. His terror of the gallows drove him continually to commit temporary suicide, and return to his subordinate station of a part instead of a person; but he loathed the necessity, he loathed the despondency into which Jekyll was now fallen, and he resented the dislike with which he was himself regarded. Hence the ape-like tricks that he would play me, scrawling in my own hand blasphemies on the pages of my books, burning the letters and destroying the portrait of my father; and indeed, had it not been for his fear of death, he would long ago have ruined himself in order to involve me in the ruin. But his love of life is wonderful; I go further: I, who sicken and freeze at the mere thought of him, when I recall the abjection and passion of this attachment, and when I know how he fears my power to cut him off by suicide, I find it in my heart to pity him.

It is useless, and the time awfully fails me, to prolong this description; no one has ever suffered such torments, let that suffice; and yet even to these, habit brought‚ÄĒno, not alleviation‚ÄĒbut a certain callousness of soul, a certain acquiescence of despair; and my punishment might have gone on for years, but for the last calamity which has now fallen, and which has finally severed me from my own face and nature. My provision of the salt, which had never been renewed since the date of the first experiment, began to run low. I sent out for a fresh supply, and mixed the draught; the ebullition followed, and the first change of colour, not the second; I drank it and it was without efficiency. You will learn from Poole how I have had London ransacked; it was in vain; and I am now persuaded that my first supply was impure, and that it was that¬†unknown impurity which lent efficacy to the draught.

About a week has passed, and I am now finishing this statement under the influence of the last of the old powders. This, then, is the last time, short of a miracle, that Henry Jekyll can think his own thoughts or see his own face (now how sadly altered!) in the glass. Nor must I delay too long to bring my writing to an end; for if my narrative has hitherto escaped destruction, it has been by a combination of great prudence and great good luck. Should the throes of change take me in the act of writing it, Hyde will tear it in pieces; but if some time shall have elapsed after I have laid it by, his wonderful selfishness and Circumscription to the moment will probably save it once again from the action of his ape-like spite. And indeed the doom that is closing on us both, has already changed and crushed him. Half an hour from now, when I shall again and for ever re-indue that hated personality, I know how I shall sit shuddering and weeping in my chair, or continue, with the most strained and fear-struck ecstasy of listening, to pace up and down this room (my last earthly refuge) and give ear to every sound of menace. Will Hyde die upon the scaffold? or will he find courage to release himself at the last moment? God knows; I am careless; this is my true hour of death, and what is to follow concerns another than myself. Here then, as I lay down the pen and proceed to seal up my confession, I bring the life of that unhappy Henry Jekyll to an end.

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Key Themes (Jekyll and Hyde)

This section looks at the Key themes in Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson.

Duality of man

Jekyll asserts that ‚Äúman is not truly one, but truly two,‚ÄĚ

Stevenson uses the characters of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde to expresses his beliefs about human duality by introducing them as two contrasting characters. Using two completely different characters with different names and appearances gets his message of human duality across effectively.

Good versus Evil

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is as an allegory about the good and evil that exist in all men, and about our struggle with these two sides of our personality. In the novella the battle between good and evil rages within the individual. Since Hyde seems to be taking over, one could argue that evil is stronger than good. However, Hyde does end up dead, perhaps suggesting a weakness or failure of evil. The big question, of course, is whether or not good can be separated from evil, or whether the two are forever intertwined.

Repression is indisputably a cause of troubles in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The repression here is that of Victorian Britain: no sexual appetites, no violence, and no great expressions of emotion, at least in the public sphere. Everything is sober and dignified. The more Jekyll’s forbidden appetites are repressed, the more he desires the life of Hyde, and the stronger Hyde grows. We see this after Dr. Jekyll’s two-month hiatus from being Hyde; Dr. Jekyll finds that the pull to evil has been magnified after months of repression.

Friendship and Loyalty

Friendship in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde serves to drive the plot forward. Aside from human curiosity, Utterson is compelled to uncover the mystery of the evil man because of his friendship with Dr. Jekyll. In trying to unravel the secret, he uncovers crucial pieces of information. In this sense, friendship acts as both a motivator and an enabler. As for the friendship between Dr. Lanyon and Dr. Jekyll, it’s certainly not as unconditional as the loyalty Mr Utterson bears for Dr. Jekyll. Instead, it’s fraught with competition, anger, and eventually an irreconcilable quarrel. We see that friendships can be ruined by differences of opinion.

Appearances and Reputation

Appearances figure in the novel both figuratively and literally. Dr. Jekyll definitely wants to keep up a well-respected façade, even though he has a lot of unsavoury tendencies. In a literal sense, the appearances of buildings in the novel reflect the character of the building’s inhabitants. Dr.Jekyll has a comfortable and well-appointed house, but Mr. Hyde spends most of his time in the "dingy windowless structure" of the doctor’s laboratory.

In Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, curiosity drives the characters to seek knowledge. This curiosity is either suppressed or fulfilled in each character. Curiosity lacks any negative connotation; instead, characters who do not actively seek to unravel the Jekyll and Hyde mystery may be viewed as passive or weak. Finally, the characters’ curiosities are, to some degree, transferred over to the reader; we seek to solve the puzzle along with Mr. Utterson.

Lies and Deceit

The plot is frequently driven forward by secrecy and deception; Mr.Utterson doesn’t know the relationship between Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and he wants to find out. Also, by omitting the scenes of Mr. Hyde’s supposedly crazy debauchery, Stevenson allows our imaginations to run to wild and fill in the gaps.

This novel details two crimes of violence against innocent and helpless citizens: first, a little girl, and second, an elderly man. The violence in the novel centres on Mr. Hyde, and raises the question as to whether or not violence is an inherent part of man’s nature.

God and Satan figure prominently in this text, as well as many general references to religion and works of charity. As part of their intellectual lives, the men in the novel discuss various religious works. One sign of Mr. Hyde’s wickedness, for example, is his defacing Dr. Jekyll’s favourite religious work. Mr. Hyde is also frequently likened to Satan.

Women and Femininity

Most female characters in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde are passive and weak. The first female we see is a young girl mowed over by Mr. Hyde. Although she is "not much the worse, more frightened, "she still kicks up an incredible fuss and a large group of people come to her aid. The next woman we see is via a maid’s narrative of the Carew murder. After witnessing the murder, she faints, awakening long after the murderer is gone making her a passive spectator.

Science, Reason and the Supernatural

Science Reason and the Supernatural are the main factors in the development of the conflict between Dr. Lanyon and Dr. Jekyll which is integral to the plot. Dr. Lanyon adheres to a more traditional set of scientific notions then Jekyll. In the book science becomes a cover for supernatural activities. Jekyll’s brand of science veers towards the supernatural.

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  1. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

    jekyll and hyde thesis statements

  2. ‚áČ"Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde"

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    jekyll and hyde thesis statements

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  1. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

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  5. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: Mini Essays

    At various junctures in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Stevenson uses vivid descriptions to evoke a sense of the uncanny and the supernatural, and of looming disaster. He first employs this technique in the opening scene, when Enfield relates his story of witnessing Hyde trample a little girl‚ÄĒa night when the streets were so empty that he began "to long for the sight of a policeman."

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  8. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Study Guide

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  9. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Study Guide

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  10. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: Study Guide

    The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson, first published in 1886, is a classic tale of duality and the consequences of unchecked scientific experimentation.It is now more commonly known as just Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.Set in Victorian London, the novella tells the story of Dr. Henry Jekyll, a well-respected scientist, and his mysterious and malevolent alter ego ...

  11. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: Themes

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  12. Sample Answers

    Jekyll says that the awareness of 'good and ill' parts of the human 'lies at the root' of all religions. Stevenson himself rejected Christianity and became an atheist. There may be some criticism in Jekyll's statement - religions exploit the natural duality of human nature, making people feel bad about themselves.

  13. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Themes

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    Robert Louis Stevenson. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, novella by Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson, published in 1886. The names of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the two alter egos of the main character, have become shorthand for the exhibition of wildly contradictory behaviour, especially between private and public selves.

  15. Analysis of Jekyll and Hyde Duality in Stevenson's Novel

    Introduction: Robert Louis Stevenson's The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde is a novel which is arguably entirely about duality. The most obvious example is of course that of Jekyll and Hyde duality discussed in this essay, but underneath that is a multitude of smaller oppositions, such as dark and light; private and public; and animal ...

  16. Reputation, Secrecy and Repression Theme in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

    Below you will find the important quotes in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde related to the theme of Reputation, Secrecy and Repression. Chapter 1 Quotes. "I feel very strongly about putting questions; it partakes too much of the style of the day of judgment. You start a question, and it's like starting a stone.

  17. Henry Jekyll's Full Statement of the Case

    Jekyll had more than a father's interest; Hyde had more than a son's indifference. To cast in my lot with Jekyll, was to die to those appetites which I had long secretly indulged and had of late begun to pamper. To cast it in with Hyde, was to die to a thousand interests and aspirations, and to become, at a blow and for ever, despised and ...

  18. GCSE English Literature Paper 1: 'The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

    -Make sure you have a clear line or argument (thesis) that answers the question. Remember, a good response (Level 4 or higher) will always refer to my ideas. ''DrJekyll and Mr Hyde'' the novel is a product of my imagination. The characters are things I have created. Do not treat them as real people. To do well you need to

  19. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

    Film Comparison. This section presents a comparison of Stevenson's novel and a 2006 film adaptation of the story. On watching the movie, it is apparent that the movie is an adaptation of Stevenson's novel but only to the extent that the theme of duality of human character and the name of a few of the characters such as Utterson, Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde, and Dr. Laylon.

  20. The Hyde Effect: a Commentary on Nineteenth-century British Anxieties

    anxieties about societal development, Jekyll takes his discomfort a step further by producing Mr. Hyde. In doing so, he attempts to work his way around moral codes but proves unsuccessful. The intensity of his fear of pushing forward into modernity quite literally consumes him, ultimately killing him. This thesis will focus on the ideas of

  21. Key Themes (Jekyll and Hyde)

    Jekyll asserts that "man is not truly one, but truly two,". Stevenson uses the characters of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde to expresses his beliefs about human duality by introducing them as two contrasting characters. Using two completely different characters with different names and appearances gets his message of human duality across effectively.

  22. PDF The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

    Utterson was amazed; the dark influence of Hyde had been withdrawn, the doctor had returned to his old tasks and amities; a week ago, the prospect had smiled with every promise of a cheerful and an honoured age; and now in a moment, friendship, and peace of mind, and the whole tenor of his life were wrecked.

  23. PDF The Homoerotic Architectures of Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

    In this thesis, I will examine the homoerotic architectures of Robert Louis Stevenson's. Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886). In its most general sense, "architecture" can be. defined as "construction or structure generally; both abstract and concrete" ("Architecture, n5.").