The Significance of Jekyll and Hyde's Names:
Jekyll is a homophone (sounds like) for Je Kill or I kill. This can foreshadow his later "transcendance" into Hyde.
Hyde is also a homophone for 'hide.' Hide can be both the verb to hide away from someone and reinforces the idea that no one had seen or heard from him until Enfield's 'Story of the Door' or also the skin of an animal. This unique idea suggests that Hyde is literally the skin of Jekyll and is an early but subtle hint into Jekyll's duality.
Utterson is extremely important in the novel because not only does the audience see the events around his work and own curiosity but his description also begins the novel, highlighting his importance. He is linked to various themes in the novel but is generally described as:
- "cold, scanty and embarrassed in discourse ... yet somehow lovable" - describes how human he is: with "cold" faults yet is still loved and accepeted by others
- "gentleman" - he is described as a respectable "gentleman" by the more informal police officer during the 'Carew Murder Case' on the search for Hyde. This links to the theme of respectability as it highlights societies reliance on a pecking order and approval.
- "lover of the sane and customary greetings of life" - he truly believes that people should behave politely and impeccably at all times and bases his search of Hyde around protecting Jekyll's reputation because of this
Dr Henry Jekyll
Jekyll is a scientist who values the so-called "scientific heresies" of "transcendental medicine." It is his relationship with Hyde (due to the will) that Utterson and, by association, the reader investigates. He is extremely wealthy and a well respected gentlemen about town. Stevenson is able to create tension by only introducing Jekyll directly to the reader in the third chapter. Jekyll is described as:
- "a large, well-made, smoothed man of fifty" - his age connotes authenticity and trust, a very human nature and "large"-ness is an example of his exonerable wealth.
- "with a slyish cast" - this connotes his dual personality; whilst he is "well-made" he, like Utterson, also has a "slyish" fault.
- As the novel progresses, he becomes increasingly erratic as Hyde begins to take over
Hyde is literally Jekyll's other half; his evil twin of sorts. Jekyll wanted to be free of his sins in order to be a respectable "gentlemen" and therefore he began to experiment in "transcendental medicine" in order to seperate his evil (Hyde) and good (Jekyll). This is why Jekyll and Hyde is allegorical (representing abstract ideas: e.g. good and evil).
Hyde is very creepy (he "trampled" a innocent, young girl fgs!) ; his discription, whilst similar in dwarfism and malformation, can never be told exactly. This connotes the feeling of never being able to describe yourself or notice your doppleganger as you walk pace: no one can describe Hyde as they all have at least a piece of him in their nature because "man is not truly one but truly two." Hyde is described as:
- "something displeasing, something downright detestable" - the dehumanisation of Hyde in this quote highlights how Hyde cannot be understood as a human but more as a creature, an animal. The word "something" also identifies how his malformation cannot be identified; it is as if his spirit scares people
- "a strong feeling of deformity" - there is "something" not quite right with his appearance, "something" is lacking, which is the definition of deformity. The word "deformed" also scares the reader further because they can associate the word with a horrificly changed form and fear the connoting pain.
- "dwarfish" - he represents devolution; the Victorian fear that evolution could go backwards, resulting in man becoming an ape.
- "displeasing smile" - even his smile makes people want to gag! Hyde is so evil that his smile seems "sly" and evil, scaring anyone he looks at.
- "murderous mixture of timidity and boldness" - he still has Jekyll's fear of sin yet his own boldness for evil and therefore embodies both emotions. The word "murderous" also foreshadows the murder of Carew by Hyde.
Reactions to Hyde
Whenever Hyde appears to the authors, and even the reader, there is always a negative reaction. For example, when Hyde "tramples" the little girl in Chapter 1, the reader is told of how the:
- Enfield had "taken a loathing to my gentlemen at first sight" - even a well liked man like Enfield abhors Hyde, and feels the pulls of hatred towards him, the very emotions Hyde expressed when trampling the girl.
- "women were as wild as harpies" - the women instantly hated him, not only because he hurt a child but also because his nature brought out the worst in their nature; brought out their own Hyde. This is reinforced when the entire congregation is described as a sea of "hateful faces"
- The Doctor "turned sick and white with the desire to kill him" - this expresses how, once again, another respectable gentlemen (who is even as "emotional as a bagpipe" btw bagpipes = 0 emotion) has not only begun to show hatred (an evil emotion) towards Hyde but even goes to the extent of wanting to kill Hyde! This is even more evil than Hyde's actions towards the little girl, suggeting that the doctor is more than an "ordinary secret sinner."
- Utterson had also taken an "unknown disgust and loathing" to Hyde, describing how hypocritical Utterson is who believes in the "customary sides of life," and how Hyde can bring out the worst in anyone
Size and Age of Jekyll and Hyde
- younger: suggesting that evil is something that someone must acquire after childhood when they become influenced by sin and temptation
- "dwarfish:" reflecting devolution (reverse of evolution that was greatly feared when the novel was written
- "small:" reflecting how, whilst Hyde is the smaller part of Jekyll, if he is repressed he will grow stronger
There are various symbols in the novel which are used to return the reader to a theme or key idea within the novel. There are various symbols, such as:
- Doors: closed doors like the "door" in which Hyde enters after trampling the door are a symbol of secrecy and sin as what happens behind closed doors is known by no one. This makes the first chapter extremely significant, as well as the Last Night as it suggests that the secrets will be revealed because the door is broken down
- Jekyll's house: Jekyll lives in a "square of ancient, handsome houses ... which wore a great air of wealth and comfort." This symbolises his gentlemanly personality and the "good" side of his personality. However, the houses could home "all sorts and conditions of men," which foreshadows Jekyll's dual personality with Hyde
- Hyde's home: similarly, his house reflects his personality; "a dingy place, a gin palace" summarises how disgusting Hyde appears to others and the "gin palace" reflects his sins.
- Mirror: the mirror emphasises the fact that Hyde is Jekyll's double and that all humans are "comingled out of good and evil."
- Fog: symbolises the mystery of the novel. When there is a lot of fog in the novel, something is being researched.
- Moon: acts as a light for the reader; when it shines "brightly" and is "full," the reader learns something new.
Links to Hyde and Evil
Hyde, as the allegorical link to evil, is often referred to as "Satan" and "pure evil." The main quotes that do this are:
- "A prodigy to stagger the unbelief of Satan:" Hyde is livng proof of the link between science and religion
- "pure evil:" Hyde was pure evil, he had no good or conscience
- The phrase "wholly evil" reinforces this idea
- "devilish fury:" his fury was purely based on his evil nature that can be linked with Hell and he had no motive
- "child of Hell:" he is Satan's spawn suggesting his power and "pure evil" nature because he has no good in him
The setting is very important in Jekyll and Hyde. The novel is very mysterious, which is intensified by the fog and moon, creating a dramatic mood for the reader. Furthermore, the city is often empty, silent and dark, creating the sense where a "man listen and listens and begins to long for the sight of a policeman." For example:
- At the "hour of 12," the midnight hour connoting the evil, crime and darkness that comes out during the night, Utterson walks to see Dr Lanyon
- At "night under the ... fogged city moon:" Utterson haunts the door that Hyde is associated with in order to find him and discover his relationship with Jekyll
- Hyde lives in a "street in Soho:" the area of "Soho" was well known for is promiscuity and sin and is an appropriate home for Hyde because of this
- A "fog rolled over the city:" highlighting the air of mystery in the novel, as well as foreshadown another appearance of Hyde and apprehension as we wait for Hyde to act out once more
- The city was "brilliantly lit by the full moon:" the moon once again acts as an illuminator for the audience, revealing more information and truth
- A "chocolate covered pall lowered over heaven" is an example of pathetic fallacy as it identifies the feelings Utterson cannot express because he is a respectable gentleman
- A "haggard shaft of daylight" is the only light or good in this dark, evil time. It is allegorical for pure innocence and good.
Steps to answering the extract question:
Step 1: Read the extract and understand where it is in the novel: would the reader know about the Jekyll and Hyde persona? What advantage does this give the modern reader and disadvantages to the contemporary (from origin of the book) reader?
Step 2: Highlight the exciting and key moments of the extract relating to the themes of the novel, symbols and any writing techniques used (e.g. irony, pathetic fallacy).
Step 3: Write the introduction, summarising the points you will talk about, and ensure to mention the author's name. (E.g. Robert Louis Stevenson is able to make this moment dramatic by using a variety of writing techniques and enticing the reader with the secret of Hyde. For example...)
Step 4: Introduce your point (e.g. Stevenson uses the symbol of the "full moon" to create suspense.)
Step 5: Explain the technique used, if applicable. (e.g. The moon symbolises enlightenment for the reader.)
Step 6: Explain how the quote effects the reader and what it's intended impact is, relating directly back to the question asked. (e.g. When the moon is "full" and shines brightly, the audience learn something new about the Jekyll and Hyde persona. Whereas, in the search for Hyde the moon is "pale" and "lying on her back," creating the setting of mystery and allowing the reader connote the scene of a horror movie, as appropriate for a gothic novel. Stevenson uses this technique to effectively foreshadow when the audience will learn more.)
Step 7: Do this roughly 3 times and in a lot of depth. Use embedded quotes and say whether a new point reinforces a previous point or contrasts with it.
Step 8: Conclusion. Roughly restate the introduction but focus more on the effect on the reader and the intentions of the writer. Finish off with a unique idea that interests the reader.