Scandalous gentleman : Mr. Hyde and his first murder.

 Within the first read of  ‘The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde’ has brought up some reoccurring themes of  brutality  and especially duality. Within the first paragraph when the maid witness the crime, repetition is used to emphasize the brutal nature of the crime. Words and phrases such as “ferocity,” “startling,” “stamp,” “trampling,” and “blows”(Stevenson,1886) are repeated, intensifying the violence and makes a shocking and vivid image to the maids and the readers. This violence is greatly contrasted by how the old gentleman acted in the previous sentence, highlighting the improper and violence attitude Mr. Hyde has “it seemed to breathe such an innocent and old-world kindness of disposition, yet with something high too, as of a well-founded self-content” (Stevenson,1886).

There are other motifs  that also highlights the contrast and duality within a person’s character. The moonlight and the fog are contrasting motifs that contribute to the atmosphere and foreshadow the duality of characters. The moon, representing innocence and purity, illuminates the scene and initially casts a gentle light on the old gentleman, physically making him good-natured. In contrast, the fog symbolizes hidden agendas and obscurity, hinting at the second nature of Mr. Hyde’s true self. The contrast characters of the old gentleman and Mr. Hyde makes up the whole passage . The former embodies innocence, old-world kindness, and good-hearted while the latter is characterized by impatience, anger, and an animalistic nature. Making all of these foreshadowing and contrasting could be seen as the author trying to create a sense of suspense, deepening the impact of the crime, and highlight the contrasting personalities of the characters involved.

From my perspective, I think this passage can be seen as an exploration of the duality of human nature and the consequences of suppressing one’s darker impulses. The scandalous nature of Mr. Hyde’s actions is heightened by his high social status, which adds a layer of shock to the narrative. Mr. Hyde represents the embodiment of Jekyll’s repressed animalistic behavior and immoral tendencies, which are considered taboo by society while the old gentleman is what society considers as proper. This duality becomes scandalous because it challenges the conventional beliefs of respectability and the expectation that individuals of high social standing should embody only proper qualities. It also conveys the pressure of the 19th century view on class and how the maid’s witness can damage Mr. Hyde reputation as an elite.

One thought on “Scandalous gentleman : Mr. Hyde and his first murder.”

  1. I think your observation here about the fog and the moon representing the different aspects of both Dr.Jekyll and Mr.Hyde is very interesting. One thing that I believe the fog also represents that you didn’t touch upon was a sense of concealment. Multiple times throughout the novel Stevenson writes about the sense of shame and embarrassment that Dr.Jekyll has towards his alter ego or other half which is Dr.Hyde. The Fog for me is a perfect representation of the concealment that Dr.Jekyll has towards his darker personality. Similarly to the symbol of the fog I believe the moon represents illumination in which the doctors true personality is revealed, this was very clear to me when reading the last chapter in which Stevenson used the moonlight to create an eerie and almost illuminating sense about the discovery of the potion and Jekyll and Hyde.

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