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The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

1886

Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

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  • Intro

    At first, Henry Jekyll and Edward Hyde seem to be two different people: the former a respectable physician, the latter a vicious murderer who leaves all who see him with a ‘haunting sense of unexpressed deformity’. Only later is the chilling truth revealed: that Hyde is actually part of Jekyll himself, unleashed by a mysterious drug as part of the doctor’s exploration of human identity.

     

    This short novel, first published in 1886, reflects a fascination with duality that had haunted Robert Louis Stevenson for many years. As a boy in Edinburgh, he had heard the story of the cabinetmaker Deacon Brodie, a craftsman by day but a robber by night. His interest in doubleness has also been linked to the repression demanded by Scottish Calvinism and by the bourgeois strictures of middle-class Edinburgh society. In The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde he explores the contrast between outward respectability and a subversive inner life. Much of the story is set at night, and the fogs and moonlit streets of late-Victorian London add to its eerie atmosphere.

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