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The Loss Of Control In Henry Jekyll

1193 words - 5 pages

In Robert Louis Stevenson’s novella The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the character Henry Jekyll can’t seem to control his alter-ego—Mr. Hyde. At the beginning of the novella, he had a decent amount of control over Mr. Hyde, yet as the novella progressed, the strange other self of Dr. Jekyll was the one who started to control him. The research he conducted became progressively addicting. Every time it was used, he travelled closer to death. A variety of significant events caused his decline from being the perfect Henry Jekyll, to a Henry Jekyll who has no control over his monstrous self.
It was merely his character and decisions that upstarted his addiction. There were many choices in the novella that he made which caused things to fall apart. By the final chapter, it was revealed his research wasn’t just for scientific purposes, it was for his personal wants as well. That is said here: “I had learned to dwell with pleasure, as a beloved daydream, on the thought of the separation of these elements. If each, I told myself, could be house in a separate identities, life would be relieved of all that was unbearable.” (Stevenson 50) This quote is essentially saying that if Jekyll could discover the answer to his research, then he would be able to house the good and evil sides of people in separate identities. With that, an individual could do anything as their alter-ego that they couldn’t do normally. This was the first piece of evidence of it being Jekyll’s fault he experienced his own downfall. Jekyll was showing an extreme want for that kind of a discovery, signifying that it was his decision to go through with the research. Jekyll also said that he we go as far as die for a finding like that. He said that here: “I hesitated long before I put this theory to the test of practice. I knew well that I risked death.” (51) Not only was he aware of death being a possibility, he “knew well” of it being an eventual circumstance. Jekyll may have hesitated as well, but his ultimate decision was to experiment on himself. This also shows that it was his decision to research using none other than himself. These two events are great examples that Jekyll had a tremendous want to go through with the research, despite the risk of putting himself in great danger. This is what started his fall from grace.
Though his addiction grew the later the novella progressed, there were a few moments where seemed to have control of Hyde more than others. One example was still near the beginning of his research. At this time he didn’t know that Hyde would eventually control him wholly. It was at a party where Jekyll was questioned privately by Utterson, (who was extremely intrigued by Hyde at the time) that Jekyll said this: “I will tell you one thing: the moment I choose, I can be rid of Mr. Hyde.” (16) At this time, Jekyll had almost complete control of Mr. Hyde. He felt as if he could cease his—at the time— minor addiction at any moment. As the story continues,...

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