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The Duality of Human Nature in The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

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The novel The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson elaborates the ideas of the duality of human nature and the nature of good and evil. The story revolves around Dr. Jekyll and a strange character named Mr. Hyde. The narrator, Mr. Utterson, is Dr. Jekyll’s lawyer and he is trying to solve this mystery and figure out the relationship between Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. By the end of the novel, Mr. Utterson discovers that Dr. Jekyll was in fact Mr. Hyde all along. And these people will treat society differently. some of them are isolated from others, while some of them are engaged with society.

In this novel, the protagonist, Jekyll, who is a doctor, is a seemingly prosperous man, very well known in the community for his decency and charitable works. As is illustrated in the novel, he is a social person, always holding parties and having fun with friends together. “Two weeks later, as luck would have it, Dr. Jekyll gave one of his dinner parties. He invited some of his old friends.” Unfortunately, since he is unable to resist the sway of the evil and wild factors hidden in nature, he invents a potion that can reveal the mind that is usually suppressed under false appearances without any reservation. At the same time, with the change of personality and heart, the appearance will change accordingly. But before the change, it is the normal beloved doctor. Although sometimes he would change to be the seemingly evil figure, he still keeps on interacting with others when he is by the identity of Dr Jekyll. Even if he has already lost some control, whenever he can be Dr Jekyll, he would hold the parties as usual, chatting with friends. “On January 8, Jekyll had invited over some of his friends for a dinner party. Lanyon had been there. To all who attended, it looked as if Lanyon and Jekyll had repaired their friendship.” 

Compared to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a strange, offensive person who looks like a pre-human. Hyde is quite violent and cruel, described by everyone who has ever encountered as ugly and deformed, but no one could say exactly why. Language itself seems to fail around Hyde: he is not a creature belonging to the world of rationality, conscious expression or logical grammar. Hyde, the dark side of Jekyll, is released from the shackles of conscience and spread to the world by a mysterious potion. So he is the person who does not have the engagement with the society. Even though someone, such as Mr. Utterson, wants to talk to him, he is not willing to turn his face to who he is talking with. He keeps himself isolated from anyone. “Hyde stepped back and hissed. ‘That is my name. What do you want?’ He never turned to face Utterson.” 

Another character of the novel, Mr. Utterson, is an outstanding and distinguished lawyer, widely respected in the London community. Utterson is reserved, dignified, and perhaps even lacking somewhat in imagination, but he does seem to possess a furtive curiosity about the more sordid side of life. His rationalism, however, makes him ill equipped to deal with the supernatural nature of the Jekyll-Hyde connection. Generally speaking, Utterson is one who is engaged with society constantly, although he is quite quiet, never speaking much to anyone. But when he hears from his cousin as well as friend, Richard Enfield, about Hyde, he gets himself into the research about this evil guy. Especially when he receives the will and letters from his client and friend, Dr. Jekyll, he is more engaged in the society. When he hears the news of the murder happening in London done by Hyde, he reacts as quickly as he could, helping the inspector to search for Hyde. “Utterson reflected on his words. Then he raised his head. ‘If you will come with me in my cab, I think I can take you to Hyde’s house.’ ” Later, when he realizes something wrong must have happened to Dr Jekyll from the butler Poole, he immediately goes to Dr Jekyll’s house and tries to resolve the situation. “Utterson’s only answer was to rise and grab his hat and coat. He noticed that the butler looked relieved to see that he was coming along.” From what is presented above, it is obvious that Mr Utterson is definitely not isolated. Instead, he is quite engaged in social affairs.

After all, in novels, there are different characters showing distinct traits. As for this one, written by Robert Louis Stevenson, the three main figures are absolutely not the same. Admittedly, Dr Jekyll and Mr Utterson are both engaged in society, but in quite diverse ways. While for Mr Hyde, he is definitely isolated from not only people who are around but also the whole society.  

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The Duality Of Human Nature In The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde. (2021, November 22). GradesFixer. Retrieved October 5, 2022, from
“The Duality Of Human Nature In The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde.” GradesFixer, 22 Nov. 2021,
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