The Significance Of Edward Hyde's Character In The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde

2015 words - 8 pages

The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a novel written by Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson and published in 1886. It concerns a lawyer, Gabriel Utterson, who investigates the strange occurrences between his old friend, Dr. Henry Jekyll, and the reclusive Mr. Edward Hyde. This novel represents an ideology in Western culture; the perpetual conflict between humanity’s virtuosity and immorality. It is interpreted as an accurate guidebook to the Victorian era’s belief of the duality of human nature. This essay will explore Mr. Edward Hyde and whether Stevenson intended for him to be a mere character in the novel or something of wider significance.

Enfield is the first to come across the mysterious Hyde when he witnesses Hyde’s trampling of a young girl in the street. As with the other characters who will also come across Hyde at some point during the novel, Enfield takes a loathing to Hyde as soon as he sets his eyes upon him. At this point, the reader may assume that Enfield dislikes Hyde because of this attack on the young girl. However, Enfield explains that, “He was perfectly cool and made no resistance, but gave me one look, so ugly it brought out the sweat on me like running.” (Page12). Stevenson uses this first impression to amplify the fact that Hyde is a diabolical man. Who else would trample over such an innocent child? He also uses this incident to create a sense of foreboding, to show what Hyde could do without exhibiting even the slightest remorse. Immediately, the reader asks “What will Hyde do next?”

Enfield also finds it hard to describe Hyde when Utterson asks him the details of Hyde’s appearance, “There is something wrong with his appearance; something displeasing, something downright detestable. I never saw a man I so disliked, and yet I scarce know why. He must be deformed somewhere; and yet I really can name nothing out of the way.” (Page 15). This suggests that Hyde is a strange man. Stevenson uses this powerful description to convey and portray a man who comes across as mysterious and dangerous. Stevenson makes him more mystifying when Enfield continues, “I can’t describe him. And it’s not want of memory; for I declare I can see him this moment.” (Page 15) This immediately brings a sense of a man with deformities that can’t be described. Stevenson uses this to confuse the reader and amplify the sense of foreboding. Surely when one can see somebody in their mind, they can describe how they look and describe their deformities especially? Not being able to describe Hyde shows that he isn’t a normal human; he’s something far more inhumane.

Utterson meets Hyde when Hyde is trying to go through the door where the novel started. After talking very briefly with Hyde, Mr. Utterson gets the impression that Hyde prefers the solitude as he quickly unlocks the door to enter. This time the reader gets an accurate account of how Hyde looks like. “Mr. Hyde was pale and dwarfish” (Page 23) is the initial line to the...

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