Monsters & Madness

Secret Lives in Victorian Literature

Is Dr. Jekyll “Hyding” Something?

The opinions of Mr. Hyde, as seen through other characters in The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson, have not been particularly positive. For example, Mr. Utterson declares “I never saw a man I so disliked, and yet I scarce know why” (Stevenson, 5) and later believes, “the man seems hardly human!” (Stevenson, 10). However, Dr. Jekyll’s views on Mr. Hyde are especially interesting and revealing.

When Mr. Utterson first mentions Mr. Hyde to his friend, “the large handsome face of Dr. Jekyll grew pale to the very lips, and there came a blackness about his eyes” (Stevenson, 13). Someone tends to “grow pale” when he/she becomes scared, stressed or sickened. In many cases, this paleness results from a feeling of anxiety. Therefore, before even responding to Mr. Utterson’s claim, the reader has an indictment of how Dr. Jekyll will reply.

Even with the new “abominable” (Stevenson, 13) information Utterson has uncovered about Mr. Hyde, Dr. Jekyll refuses to speak more on the subject. He tells the lawyer, “This is a matter I thought we had agreed to drop” (Stevenson, 13). Most people tend to love hearing about gossip, especially when the subject isn’t themselves. However, Dr. Jekyll appears to want nothing to do with it and consistently asks to move onto a new topic. This raises the impression that perhaps Dr. Jekyll already knows what Mr. Utterson is about to tell him. Furthermore, what if the doctor’s lack of curiosity is because he’s actually hiding something?

This idea would go along with Dr. Jekyll’s mention of “my position is very strange—a very strange one” (Stevenson, 13). He goes on to tell the lawyer that “It is one of those affairs that cannot be mended by talking” (Stevenson, 13); which has the reader thinking about whether the doctor’s “affair” is one that Mr. Utterson must see for himself in order to believe.

Once again, Dr. Jekyll urges Mr. Utterson that “this is a private matter, and I beg of you let it sleep” (Stevenson, 13), before finally telling him, “I do sincerely take a great, a very great interest in” (Stevenson, 13) Mr. Hyde. Connected to the last point, perhaps people cannot see Mr. Hyde the same way as the doctor does because he is withholding the truth. Dr. Jekyll has seen something in Mr. Hyde that no one else has, an interesting point considering these two characters have yet to be in the same place at the same time in our novel so far.

1 Comment

  1. I agree with your thoughts that Mr. Hyde is not exactly beloved by the ones around him. The points you bring up are strong examples of this allowing for a correlation to be made between his actions and why the other characters feel the way they do.
    Along with your “gossip” topic and relations, I find your analysis to be interesting and from a different viewpoint.

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