The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, a novella published in 1886 by Robert Louis Stevenson, is a well known story about a man with a dual personality.
YOU KNOW THE STORY
If you have ever watched cartoons, then you have seen the story of Jekyll and Hyde. You know: A kind, refined gentleman that is pleasant as can be, who suddenly turns into a big ugly brute that goes around making everyone miserable. It’s amazing that a story can become a part of culture. Even people who haven’t read the story know the story. Robert Louis Stevenson’s tale has been adapted into dozens of movies, broadway musicals, comic books, and even has songs written about it and bands named after it! Now THAT is some memorable writing!
So, I’m a little ashamed to admit that I am one of those who have never read the story! I’ve been in the mood for a good Halloween read, and this one hit the spot.
Dr. Jekyll is a brilliant doctor who invents a potion that divides his personality. Oops!… I gave away the ending. The ACTUAL story is an account of events that lead up to Dr. Jekyll’s confession. Yeah, the tale we all know so well from Bugs Bunny cartoons… that all comes from the last 3 pages. That surprised me. But I found the story all the more intriguing by following the mysterious events that lead up to the final pages.
- I’ve always thought Jekyll & Hyde were symbols of good and evil. Not so. Jekyll was a man like all of us. Good and evil both resided in him. Hyde however, was pure evil. There was no personality of only good in this story. And I found that fascinating.
- Mr. Hyde, being the dark and sinister personality, thrived in indulging his every desire. He had no guilt. He had no restraint. He was gleeful in his wrongdoings. Ahhh… how would it be to not have a conscience? (Yes, I do realize the world would spiral out of control. But it must feel good don’t you think? To have no guilt?)
- I also found it fascinating how Mr. Hyde eventually overcame Dr. Jekyll. The evil personality was being exercised so frequently that it titled the scales. He had no good to balance himself… reinforcing the age old saying: “Moderation in all things.”
- I loved the visual and physical traits that were attributed to good and evil. Dr. Jekyll was a handsome, tall, thin man. He was distinguished, respected, and had good taste and many friends. Mr. Hyde was short, squat, hunch-backed, ugly, and people did not like to be in his presence. I find it interesting that we so readily judge what is good and what is evil simply by appearance. (I do it to books all the time.)
- Page Count: 78
- Published: 1886
- Robert Louis Stevenson is also the author of Treasure Island, which he was inspired to write after making a treasure map for fun with his stepson. Read more about this famous author at Wikipedia.
WHERE TO FIND THE STRANGE CASE OF DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE