31 March 2015
Behind Closed Doors
During the Victorian era, there was a strict social code of conduct. Those living in the high society were expected to maintain their image flawlessly, and those who did not, were looked down upon. In Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson,
Jekyll is a respectable doctor who had worked hard to build his credibility, his friendly nature and charitable good deeds found him an honourable place in his community. The upper class society in the Victorian time was infamous for scandals and dark secrets that happened behind closed doors. Unfortunately for Jekyll, he was one of those citizens that had to hide a double life. For Jekyll, he has been struggling with what he calls a “duplicity in life (64)," which started early in his life, before finally completing a potion to separate the two beings from each other. The question is, whether his attempt was to rid of the evil side whom he calls, Mr. Hyde, or had Hyde already taken over and freed himself. After analyzing the text and becoming familiar with the two personalities which are embodied within Dr. Henry Jekyll, I believe it is evident that the true Dr. Jekyll had no free when creating the potion.
It is no surprise that Jekyll has grown weak from resisting Hyde and tired of hiding his secrets from his best friends. This realization must have been most exciting for Hyde, since “the powers of Hyde seemed to have grown with the sickliness of Jekyll.
(81)” It made taking control over his body much easier, to the point which Hyde
Tang 2 managed to transform Jekyll to his body in his sleep. This was before the murder of Sir
Danvers Carew, that Jekyll had first lost this complete control, Jekyll recounted, “I had gone to bed Henry Jekyll, I had awakened Edward Hyde. (72)” If Hyde had the strength to physically change Jekyll, then what is to say that he was not strong enough to control what Jekyll did while he still resided in Jekyll’s body. Hyde’s increasing power, and
Jekyll’s decreasing strength soon leads to disaster for both who defy nature.
Jekyll tells us that this dark side has been a part of his soul for a long time already, but yet his reputation holds as a respectable and kind man, even behind the doors. He had the situation contained, so why itch at it and make it bleed. Hyde’s hate towards Jekyll is no secret at all, and this is a key motive to suspect that all these wrong doings are him to blame. Hyde’s doings are destructive but to Jekyll as well, “Hence the ape-like tricks that he would play me, burning the letters and destroying the portrait of my father (82)”. If the theory of Jekyll wanting to free Hyde is true, then it is clear that he is aware of Hyde’s actions. However, in this case, why didn’t Jekyll stop him from doing such hateful crimes towards him? Perhaps it is because Jekyll is too weak and not able to do so, once again by revealing just how powerful Hyde is, we begin to see that he