Comparing League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Mary Reilly, And Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde

2774 words - 11 pages

League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Mary Reilly, and Dr.Jekyll and Mr.Hyde

 
   Robert Louis Stevenson's short novel, The Strange Case of

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde has spawned many retellings of Dr. Jekyll's

tale, as well as variations on the theme. The Jekyll and Hyde conceit

is one that lends itself to many different forms of literature, such

as motion pictures and sequential art. Sometimes liberties are taken

in reinterpretations of Mr. Hyde from the original text. This can be

distinguished in two recent works, The League of Extraordinary

Gentlemen, a comic book miniseries by Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill,

and Mary Reilly, a film by Stephen Frears.

 

                    The appearance of Mr. Hyde has always tended towards the

            stereotypical hairy man. In fact, the transformation of Jekyll into

            Hyde in movies seem like werewolf transformations. This comes from

            the frequent mention of Hyde's hands as being "of a dusky pallor and

            thickly shaded with a swart growth of hair" (82). Although Hyde's

            face is never described as hairy, it tends to be a logical

            assumption that if the hands are hairy, then the face may be as

            well. Jekyll's own appearance is described by his lawyer, Utterson,

            as being a "smooth-faced man of fifty" (44) and Hyde, for all

            intents and purposes, is the opposite of Jekyll. The hairiness of

            Hyde is maintained in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Hyde is

            drawn as a dark brown man with coarse hair all over his arms and

            chest, whereas Jekyll is a smooth faced, pale and sickly man. Mary

            Reilly takes a divergent route. Jekyll is portrayed as a man with

            graying curly hair and a mustache and goatee, whereas Hyde is a

            clean shaven man with long and lank dark hair. In fact, as the movie

            progresses, Jekyll becomes hairier, due to his going about unshaven,

            but Hyde remains smooth-faced; and he has smooth, well manicured

            hands, a contradiction to the original book. The only character that

            looks like a stereotypical Hyde in the movie is Mary's father, which

            goes to one of the themes the movie has; that of women in abusive

            relationships due to childhood experiences.

 

                    The stature of Jekyll and Hyde in Stevenson's original tale

            were two different things. Hyde was a "dwarfish" man, as described

            by Utterson (41) and other people. This was highlighted on several

            occasions where Hyde was wearing Jekyll's clothing. Lanyon described

            Hyde as wearing "clothes... [that] were enormously too large for him

            in...

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