Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: Revelation of Identity Robert Louis Stevenson’s Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde has attracted a great deal of popularity andcritical appreciation in the context of modern literature not only because of the reason that compared to mainstream literature in dealt from a different perspective about different traits of human nature but the narrative’s close association with psychological interpretations from modernist perspective has also played an important part. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde are two different psychological manifestations with a singular human entity: The story of Jekyll and Hyde is an instance of a narrative motif known as the double or the doppelgänger. In such narratives, a character is divided into two distinct, usually antithetical personalities (Sosnoski 121). This observation becomes highly relevant in this context as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, if they are interpreted according to basic essence of their character, entirely from the social perspective it becomes clear that they are antithetical. However, mastery of the narrative lies in the fact it has successfully been able to establish, especially with support of psychological interpretation that beneath layers of apparently furnished and sophisticated existence, there always lays a cruel and heinous self that everyone keeps suppressed.
Dr. Jekyll, on one hand, while through his scientific experiments, is keen on explore his brutal and wild nature, the murky side of his existence, on the other, he is equally scared of the truth that once that wilderness in him is unleashed as Mr. Hyde, he would lose control over him. Thus, in order to control himself he asks for help from Dr. Lanyon: Confident as I am that you will not trifle with this appeal, my heart sinks and my hand trembles at the bare thought of such possibility (Stevenson 53). There is no denial of the fact that Dr. Jekyll has sufficient intellect to realize consequences of his deed but he always had a tremendous desire to enjoy an honorable and distinguished future (Stevenson 60). This very lust has acted as the main impetus to defy his consent and continue with his scientific experiments to create Hyde out of him. While he enjoyed being a respected member of the society, he also was highly enthusiastic to enjoy his primitive self and in both these context he has remained honest to equal extents: Many a man would have even blazoned such irregularities as I was guilty of. but from the high views that I had set before me, I regarded and hid them with morbid sense of shame. … the exacting nature of my aspirations … made me what I was … severed in me those provinces of good and ill which divide and compound man’s dual nature …. Though so profound a double-dealer, I was in so sense a hypocrite. both sides of me were in dead earnest … (Stevenson 60).
During the process of his transformation, Dr. Jekyll used to experience tremendous physical anguish that he has been described in the narrative as grinding in the bones, deadly nausea, and a horror of the spirit that cannot be exceeded at the hour of birth or death (Stevenson 63). While his transformation as Mr. Hyde produced a monstrous look and also represented the brutality in him, he actually was terrified about setting lose the heinous intentions. No matter how much honest he was towards acceptance of both his good and evil selves but the moment he visualizes magnitude of devilry inside him, his humanist and refined sense realized of the magnitude of devastation he is capable: The pleasures which I made to seek in my disguise were … undignified …. But in hands of the Edward Hyde, they soon began to turn towards the monstrous (Stevenson 66). It was not the evil that he scared him. rather the vastness of his dark nature, capable of dominating his human goodness made him fear himself (Winter 37). He realized if this process is encouraged that would kill his human side entirely. consequently, he searched for a proper and reliable external help for self – redemption.
Sosnoski, James J. Token professionals and master critics: a critique of orthodoxy in
literary studies. New York: SUNY Press. 1994.
Stevenson, Robert Louis. Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll And Mr. Hyde. New York:
Winter, William. Life and Art of Richard Mansfield. New York: READ BOOKS. 2010.