☾ about the book
Title: Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde
Author: Robert Louis Stevenson
Trigger Warnings: Schizophrenia
☾ the synopsis
‘All human beings, as we meet them, are commingled out of good and evil: and Edward Hyde, alone in the ranks of mankind, was pure evil’
Published as a shilling shocker, Robert Louis Stevenson’s dark psychological fantasy gave birth to the idea of the split personality. The story of respectable Dr Jekyll’s strange association with damnable young man Edward Hyde; the hunt through fog-bound London for a killer; and the final revelation of Hyde’s true identity is a chilling exploration of humanity’s basest capacity for evil.
☾ the characters
Dr Jekyll is a respected doctor and friend of both Lanyon, a fellow physician, and Utterson, a lawyer. Jekyll is a seemingly prosperous man, well established in the community, and known for his decency and charitable works. Since his youth, however, he has secretly engaged in unspecified dissolute and corrupt behavior. Jekyll finds this dark side a burden and undertakes experiments intended to separate his good and evil selves from one another. Through these experiments, he brings Mr. Hyde into being, finding a way to transform himself in such a way that he fully becomes his darker half.
Mr Hyde is a strange, repugnant man who looks faintly pre-human. Hyde is violent and cruel, and everyone who sees him describes him as ugly and deformed—yet no one can say exactly why. Language itself seems to fail around Hyde: he is not a creature who belongs to the rational world, the world of conscious articulation or logical grammar. Hyde is Jekyll’s dark side, released from the bonds of conscience and loosed into the world by a mysterious potion.
☾ the world building
The book is set in London, England.
☾ what i liked about this book
I liked that the story explores Schizophrenia in a way that is not scientific, but a little bit more thrilling, and more accessible to people who don’t care for the scientific side of things.
☾ what i didn’t like about this book
When I was introduced to this book, and also from what I had heard about it before, I thought the book would be a little more chilling – and I was looking forward to that. But alas, it was not.
☾ should you read this book?
Unfortunately, this book is quite forgettable.
If you’re into classics, and you like The Picture of Dorian Gray (which explores hedonism), you might enjoy this.
I am a huge fan of The Picture of Dorian Gray, but I found Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde to be a quite underwhelming story.
People in the 19th century probably enjoyed this because it explores “unknown territory” with the Schizophrenia, but that phenomenon is not unknown enough to me to be able to really enjoy it.