Character Profile: Mr Hyde

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  • Mr Edward Hyde
    • evil
      • Jekyll is a mix of good and bad but Hyde is the embodiment of evil
        • 'pure evil'
      • everything Hyde does is to benefit himself and to satisfy his immoral urges
        • 'his every act and thought centered on self'
      • evil takes over due to its appeal, and Stevenson suggests that suppressing it only makes it the stronger side of one's personality
        • 'with a flush of anger'
      • Jekyll and Hyde have an almost father-son relationship, Jekyll as Hyde's creator cares about him but Hyde hates that he needs Jekyll and wants to be a separate person without a conscience attatched
        • Hyde: 'more than a son's indifference' Jekyll: 'more than a father's interest'
      • even Jekyll realises that Hyde was a child of the devil, he was infinitely evil, and this was a result of being suppressed for so long
        • 'my devil had long been caged in, he came out roaring'
    • animal like
      • Hyde can't contain his emotions in the way that a Victorian man can, and he explodes upon people in a terrifying manner
        • 'great flame of anger... like a madman'
      • he is unnecessarily violent, his murder of Carew is unprovoked and uncontrollable, his love of violence and causing pain is shocking
        • 'clubbed him to the ground with ape-like fury'
      • Hyde is a homonym for hide (noun), the skin of an animal, but also hide (verb) as if he is hiding inside Jekyll
        • 'primitive duality of man'
      • his arched back and short stature suggests he hasn't fully evolved from ape to human
        • 'hardly human' 'troglodytic'
      • when Hyde is spotted in a desperate state, he is mistaken as an animal, suggesting he is so evil as he has no false pretences over his identity
        • 'a monkey jumped from among the chemicals'
      • Stevenson uses the idea of Jekyll and Hyde to show that everyone evolved from animals and so still carries those personality traits, even if they suppress them
        • 'animal within me'
      • there is no full description of Hyde, he is only desrcibed to be similar to things, leaving a gap for the reader's imagination to fill. This makes his more mysterious and threatening
        • 'like a rat'
    • appearance
      • his evil is reflected in his appearance, it makes the Victorian society feel uncomfortable that a man doesn't take pride in the way he looks
        • 'pale and dwarfish'
      • people loathe Hyde when they meet him, his appearance makes the story more realistic, it is easier to believe an ugly being is evil
      • the characters are unable to explain what it is they despise so much about him, suggests they have repressed their own dark side so much that they can't understand that of another person
        • 'there is something wrong with his appearance, something displeasing, something downright detestable'
      • his face is disturbing and his frightening appearance dehumaniseshim
        • 'satan's signature upon a face'
      • Hyde is quick witted and works out how to get his drugs when Jekyll turns into Hyde in the park, he isn't just animalistic and primitive but also intelligent like Jekyll
        • 'murderous mixture of timidity and boldness'
    • society
      • Victorians disapproved of the idea that man may have a primitive side, their society was controlled and respectable, and anything else was threatening to  this
        • 'spring headlong into a sea of liberty'
      • Darwin's theory of evolution was very controversial when the novella was written, and Hyde is presented was Jekyll's less evolved side, as he is compared to an ape and smaller and less respectable. people were concerned meddling with science would cause humans to reverse evolution and become more primitive
        • 'such unscientific balderdash
      • he comes from a lower social status than Jekyll, distancing the two personalities so there would be less suspicion
      • Stevenson suggests there is a Mr Hyde lurking within every respectable man, showing that underneath our pretences, society is dark and immoral, yet we are trapped
        • 'disconsolate prisoner'
      • there is a warning that it is better to lead a balanced life than to completely deny your bad side, as Hyde begins to play tricks on Jekyll, showing the unstable mentality someone can end up in living this way

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