The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a book that captured the minds of millions of people when it was first published in 1886. 201 years later, this captivating novella by Robert Louis Stevenson is a book that delves into the question of dual identities and the repression of society.
Dr. Jekyll has discovered the ultimate drug. A chemical that can turn him into something else. Suddenly, he can unleash his deepest cruelties in the guise of the sinister Hyde. Transforming himself at will, he roams the streets of fog-bound London as his monstrous alter-ego.
Considering that I am studying English at university, you would have thought that I would have read this classic novella before. I had not. When told that I would be studying Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde for one of my classes, I was over the moon how I would finally be able to get to read it.
I read it in 1 hour.
This is a very hard text to review because so many people already know the basis of the book and what it is about.
Granted, the novella is only about 96 pages long, but the story was so intense that I flew through it. Everyone knows the basics of the story: a man with a split personality. The reference of Jekyll and Hyde is often used to describe a person with a split personality disorder (which is completely and utterly wrong and hateful). This story, however, is not the story of a man with different personalities, this is a story about how a man is repressed by society and wants to express a side of him that he wouldn’t be able to because of his nature being a doctor.
I could go on and on about this story, I could copy and paste my research paper on it, but no. This is not what you came here for. You came here to see whether this novella is any good or not.
It is astounding.
“I learned to recognise the thorough and primitive duality of man; I saw that, of the two natures that contended in the field of my consciousness, even if I could rightly be said to be either, it was only because I was radically both.”
― Robert Louis Stevenson,
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is written from the perspective of Jekyll’s lawyer friend, Gabriel John Utterson, who witnesses the changes in Jekyll’s personality and also witnesses the occurrences between Jekyll and Edward Hyde; wants to find out what is happening with his friend. The latter part of the novella is from the perspective of Jekyll who is recounting his experiences and what happened from his point of view. It was interesting to see the tale told from the point of view of the lawyer because it was an outsider’s point of view and one where we – as the reader – were also shrouded in a cloak of mystery as to what was going on.
This was the last piece of work that Stevenson wrote and people say that because he was dying whilst writing this, this is why the text is so different to anything else that he has ever written. Side note: Stevenson is the author of many children’s book such as Treasure Island.
This is a classic story that will capture your imagination and your hearts; Stevenson’s characters are ones that will stay with you forever as they are written beautifully and written with such depth that they come to life as you are reading.
I thoroughly recommend this book, whether you are an English student or not. You do not want to miss out on this thrilling story.