The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: Not One, But Two

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Have you ever felt like you act differently in certain company? Maybe you put on a certain face when visiting family, but another when you are out with your friends.

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. HydeThat is exactly the case in The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. A prominent lawyer of the time, Mr. Utterson, documents some strange happenings in London. In particular, he discusses a series of unusual circumstances surrounding his client, Dr. Jekyll. Throughout this novel, Mr. Utterson seeks to understand Dr. Jekyll’s mysterious behavior and his connections to the murderous Mr. Hyde.

While you may think you already know how this story plays out, it’s not as straightforward as you would think. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a series of twists and turns that will leave you wondering, “what just happened?!”

This novel is characteristic of Victorian culture of the time, in that the characters are extremely concerned with the happenings in each others lives and how society views their behavior.

Major Themes

Reputation is Everything

Throughout the novel, Dr. Jekyll is portrayed as a pious, kind, and caring man. He always treats his servants with respect and manages his finances wisely. His friends know him to be above reproach, which is exactly why they are so surprised and puzzled when Dr. Jekyll associates himself with Mr. Hyde. Dr. Jekyll even goes as far as to will his entire estate to Mr. Hyde.

Despite all of this, Dr. Jekyll is extremely concerned about his reputation. As was extremely common in Victorian society, reputation was based on acquaintances, appearances, and actions.

Duality of Human Nature

We are complex creatures! Victorian society was extremely aware of that fact and sought to expose human nature for its flaws.

In The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde represent both sides of human nature. While Dr. Jekyll stands for everything good and pure, Mr. Hyde stands for everything evil and dark. Both entities are polar opposites, representing the good and evil in all of us.


Mr. Hyde is continually described as unusual looking, sinister, hairy, short, and many other unpleasant adjectives. His physical appearance seems to embody his inner wickedness. Many people living in Victorian society would have “judged” Mr. Hyde by his appearance first, without even knowing him.

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson remains one of my favorite novels because it reminds me that I cannot separate good from evil within myself. No matter how hard I try, I will never be wholeheartedly good, just as I will never be wholeheartedly bad. That is why I rely on God’s grace to see me through the times when I act more like Hyde than like Jekyll. The novel also reminds me that bad company corrupts good character, while good company uplifts it.

Bloggers 19th century LitResources for further learning

Bright Hub Education – Discussion Questions and Guide

Scholastic Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Storia Teaching Guide

Teacher Vision – Printable Teaching Guide


KatieKatie is a wife, mother, blogger, teacher, aromatherapist, soapmaker, and lover of all things DIY. She blogs at The Wise Wife ( her blog for DIY tutorials and healthy living articles.

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