Human Nature: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

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Human nature: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, by author Robert Louis Stevenson is a novel about a man who

struggles with social conviction and finds a less than perfect way to solve it. Dr. Jekyll cultivates a

potion with an impurity that splits his respectable, socially acceptable self from the side that wants

to act on every impulse. An example that shows the difference between the two personalities is the

quote “even as good shone upon the countenance of [Jekyll], evil was written broadly and plainly

on the face of [Hyde]”(131). Stevenson uses quotes like this throughout the novel to

display the theme of human nature by showing that even the most respectable and honored man of

society is human and succumbs to his selfish needs. A few ways this is shown is through other

characters such as Mr. Utterson, Mr. Enfield, and Dr. Lanyon. Also, in how Jekyll speaks and how

he acts, likewise through Hyde’s actions and statements.

To begin, Stevenson uses several characters in the book to show human nature by how

they see Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Mr. Enfield is an example of one of the characters that shows

how humans judge partly on appearance before first realizing their true character. Enfield, in

chapter one, describes Hyde appearance in the following statement, “There is something wrong

with his appearance;...something downright detestable” (15) this quote describes Hyde as

deserving contempt and arousing disgust which shows that the nature of a human can be

degrading. However, Mr. Utterson is used to show the benevolent nature of man instead of the

corrupt side. Utterson continues to believe in his colleague, Dr. Jekyll, despite the peculiar

situation that he has burdened him with. Utterson and Jekyll have an enduring trust in each other.

When Utterson confronts him with his feelings on Hyde, Dr. Jekyll states, “I believe you fully; I

would trust you before any man alive, ay, before I would myself, if I could make the choice” (37).

It is also apparent when Utterson is searching for Hyde in Jekyll’s residence with Poole, not

mentioning to him that Jekyll and Hyde were two personalities residing in the same, although
slightly altered, body. The novel itself states that where Utterson was liked he was well like and

Jekyll was no stranger to this fondness and trust bestowed upon Utterson. A third character that

possesses both a benign nature as well as a selfish one is Dr. Lanyon. Lanyon is a prime example

of the...

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