Dr Jekyll And Hyde Character Analysis Essay

Hyde comes to represent the embodiment of pure evil merely for the sake of evil. When he is first extracted and in our first encounter with him, he is seen running over a young girl, simply trampling on her. He does not do this out of spite — or intentionally; it is simply an amoral act. He does make amendments. But even in this first encounter, he raises a fear, an antagonism, and a deep loathing in other people. The reaction of others to him is one of horror, partly because while looking at him, others feel a deep desire to strike out at him and kill him.

In other words, his mere physical appearance brings out the very worst evil in other people. Since Hyde represents the purely evil in man (or in Dr. Jekyll), he is, therefore, symbolically represented as being much smaller than Dr. Jekyll — Jekyll’s clothes are far too large for him — and Hyde is also many years younger than Jekyll, symbolically suggesting that the evil side of Jekyll did not develop until years after he was born. Hyde also creates terror; the servants are extremely frightened of him. When they think he is around the house, the servants cringe in horror, and some go into hysterics.

As the novel progresses, Hyde’s evil becomes more and more pronounced. He threatens Sir Danvers Carew to death for absolutely no reason other than the fact that Sir Danvers appeared to be a good and kindly man – and pure evil detests pure goodness. Since Hyde represents the evil or perverse side of Jekyll, and since Jekyll does, vicariously, enjoy the degradations which Hyde commits, Hyde gradually begins to take the ascendancy over the good Dr. Jekyll. A conflict between them erupts, as though the older Dr. Jekyll is a father to the errant and prodigal son.

He wants to punish this son, but at the same time, he recognizes that Hyde is an intimate part of himself. Ultimately, when Jekyll commits suicide in order to get rid of Hyde (suicide is an evil act in the eyes of the church), this allows Hyde to become the dominant evil figure, and the dying Jekyll becomes Hyde in the final death pang. A prominent, popular London scientist, who is well known for his dinner parties, Jekyll is a large, handsome man of perhaps fifty. He owns a large estate and has recently drawn up his will, leaving his immense fortune to a man whom Jekyll’s lawyer, Utterson, disapproves of.

Jekyll’s own story of his life is recorded in his “Statement,” which comprises the entirety of Chapter 10. He was born to a good family, had a good education, and was respected by all who knew him. As a youth, he thinks that perhaps he was too light-hearted. He confesses to many youthful indiscretions, which he says that he enjoyed very much – indiscretions which he was very careful to keep secret. However, there came a time when he realized that his professional career could be ruined if one of these indiscretions were to be exposed, and so he repressed them.

Now, however, that he is middle-aged, he has been fascinated with the theory that man has a “good” side and a “bad” side, and he has decided to investigate the theory. His investigations were successful; he compounded a potion that could release the “evil” in a person in the form of an entirely different physical person, one who would take over one’s own body and soul. Then one could commit acts of evil and feel no guilt; furthermore, one could drink the same potion and be transformed back into one’s original self.

Jekyll’s evil dimension took the form of Edward Hyde, a man who committed any number of crimes and performed acts of sexual perversion; seemingly, his most serious crime is the vicious murder of Sir Danvers Carew, a Member of Parliament. Jekyll’s fascination with his “other” self became so obsessive that he was finally no longer able to control the metamorphosis process, and Edward Hyde began appearing whenever he wanted to — and not at the command of Dr. Jekyll. Jekyll became, therefore, a frightened recluse, trying desperately to control Hyde, but successively failing, especially whenever he would doze off.

Finally, crazed by anxiety and a lack of sleep, he hears Utterson and Poole, his butler, breaking down his private study door and, in desperation, he commits suicide, but just as he loses consciousness, Hyde appears, and it is the writhing body of the dying Hyde which Utterson and Poole discover. Apart from the last two Chapters, most of the novel is seen through the perspective of Mr. Utterson, who functions as the “eyes” of “conscience” through which the readers evaluate most of the novel. Therefore, if Utterson is deceived in his opinion of some event, then the reader is likewise deceived.

This is because Utterson is such a fine, objective narrator who represents a highly moral and upright person; thus, we believe all that he says, and since he is a man of such prominence and integrity, we cannot doubt his explanation or his view of any event. Utterson is a strange case of opposites. We first hear that he has a fondness for wine but mortifies himself with gin instead. This, at first, sounds weird for a moral narrator, but then we are told that he is not the type of person to judge and condemn his fellow man.

This allows many people come to him to seek advice, and it allows him to be private to the secrets of the great and the less great. Yet, he also possesses an intense loyalty to his friends and is constantly concerned for their wellbeing. This attribute allows him to be deeply distressed over Dr. Jekyll’s relationship with Mr. Edward Hyde. That is, Utterson is a shrewd judge of character, and he sees in Edward Hyde an immoral and evil person, and he is deeply concerned for his friend’s (Dr. Jekyll’s) well-being.

For example, when he is convinced that Edward Hyde has injured Dr. Jekyll, he is quick to take action and break down the door to the laboratory in order to come to his friend’s aid. Utterson is also the type of person who inspires trust. When his friend Dr. Lanyon leaves a note not to be opened until Dr. Jekyll’s death or disappearance, he is tempted to read it in order to see if there is any information which will assist Dr. Jekyll. Yet his honor forces him to store the document away without reading it. Ultimately, we do not know how Utterson is affected by the revelation found in Dr. Lanyon’s and Dr. Jekyll’s confessions, but from the horror of seeing Dr. Jekyll at the window, when Dr. Jekyll apparently began changing into Hyde, we can assume that Utterson was deeply affected, but due to his objective control over life and its state of being changeable — as a lawyer he has seen all types of criminals — we can assume that, unlike Dr. Lanyon, Utterson was able to survive.

In contrast to Jekyll, the “metaphysical” scientist and his interest in releasing “evil” spirits which become physically alive, taking over the body and soul of their owner and embodying it in their own misshapen representations, Lanyon is a “traditional” scientist — completely uninterested in “the other world. Once, Lanyon and Jekyll were fast friends, but when Jekyll became too fascinated with delving into the darker aspects of science, Lanyon broke off their friendship — about ten years before the novel begins. Lanyon is questioned keenly by Utterson about Jekyll, but Lanyon will say nothing definite, just that Jekyll is interested in the perverse aspects of science, and for that reason, he is no longer friends with him.

Finally, Jekyll/Hyde decide to take their revenge on Lanyon for his prudish denunciations of Jekyll; Hyde arranges a metamorphosis to occur before the good doctor Lanyon. Lanyon is so horrified that Jekyll has been successful in releasing his own evil that Lanyon cannot face the thought that there resides a similar Edward Hyde within him; three weeks after Hyde’s contrived baiting of Lanyon’s curiosity, the meek doctor is dead of shock.