Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886) – Robert Louis Stevenson
Although just 88 pages long, Stevenson’s Gothic novella manages to create suspense, mystery and darkness surrounding the peculiar character of Dr Jekyll and his ‘friend’ Mr Hyde. The narrative is intensified with the use of a sinister side of London as the back-drop.
Supposedly, Stevenson wrote the novella after being intrigued by the differences between each individual’s personalities, and his fascination with good and evil.
Dr Jekyll often struggles with the ‘evil’ he feels inside, thus Mr Hyde is the product. He battles with Mr Hyde throughout the novella, eventually disclosing in a letter how Mr Hyde will get the better of him, and he will no longer exist. He finishes, “I bring the life of that unhappy Henry Jekyll to an end.”
Dr Jekyll is still a relevant character in our world today. He represents all of us. We’re all battling evils, and often they can take hold of us and change us temporarily, it’s up to us to confront these evils instead of pushing them away.
By failing to resolve the evils, you may end up creating a bigger problem.
My only protest is that it’s really short. At points I felt further explanation was necessary, and Dr Jekyll’s confession seemed to arrive too quickly – I wanted more mayhem and evilness from Mr Hyde. Dr Jekyll needed more depth, to make him seem more sympathetic, I found myself wanting to read about Mr Hyde instead – he was the interesting character.
Does this make me evil too?