Everyone knows the age old saying of good and bad being within each human soul. Author Robert Louis Stevenson takes this saying to a whole new level in this Gothic, Victorian short story of a man, Dr. Jekyll and his life. It is definitely a great read, which I would recommend.
Narrated through the eyes of a practical and rational lawyer, Mr. Utterson, ‘The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde‘ starts out with him being worried for his friend, Dr. Jekyll. The lawyer has seen a small, violent man, Mr. Hyde living in Jekyll’s quarters. Jekyll has also bequeathed all his property and wealth to Hyde in his will. This makes Utterson suspicious but whenever he questions Jekyll, the latter avoids the topic. The latter part of the book forms an epistolary narrative and we see that Jekyll and Hyde aren’t separate men; they’re two aspects of the same man.
This book has the perfect setting for a horror story, with archaic language and cold London nights. But in reality, it is quite Frankenstein-esque (by Shelley), and more science-fiction horror than gothic. It is extremely introspective, where the author gives us a sceptical view of science and rationality. He draws much from Freud’s psychoanalytical theory of Id-Ego-Super Ego. Jekyll and Hyde works as an allegorical portrayal of the goodness and evil that resides in equal measure within the soul of a man. Under the constraints of the rigid Victorian society, Jekyll manages to give shape and voice to his inner desires (Id) when he is transformed to Hyde. The rational and intelligent part (Super Ego) of Jekyll attempts to keep this Hyde under control, but fails and in the end, Hyde manages to take over.
This is short, 81-page read which proves to be a page-turner. It will keep you hooked on till the end and you can’t help but wonder of the allegories that Stevenson has left scattered all over the book.
Overall Rating: 8/10
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