The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

By Robert Stevenson


Welcome to the fascinating world of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, a gripping novella penned by the Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson in 1886 📚✨. This masterpiece has intrigued readers and critics alike for over a century, offering a dark and thrilling exploration of the duality of human nature, ethics, and the complexity of science and morality.

Robert Stevenson, a literary genius of his time, masterfully weaves a tale that transcends the boundaries of gothic fiction and psychological thriller, plunging deep into the heart of Victorian anxieties about the unknown and the unseen parts of ourselves. Set in the foggy and ominous streets of London, the story captures the imagination and probes the depths of the human psyche, leaving us to ponder the eternal struggle between good and evil.

The genre of this captivating story can be best described as a mix of gothic horror and psychological thriller, with a strong foundation in moral philosophy. Stevenson’s narrative not only keeps the readers on the edge of their seats but also invites them to reflect on the complexities of human identity and the societal pressures of conformity versus the desires lurking within.

So, buckle up as we dive into the eerie and compelling world of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, a tale that promises to haunt, challenge, and enlighten in equal measure 🌗🔍.

Plot Summary

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde unfolds through the eyes of Mr. Utterson, a lawyer and the protagonist’s close friend. This narrative structure provides a chilling and indirect exploration of the main events —allowing readers to piece together the mystery alongside Utterson.

  • Exposition — The tale begins with Mr. Utterson and his cousin Mr. Enfield discussing a sinister figure named Mr. Hyde, who has violently assaulted a young girl and subsequently compensated her family with a cheque signed by the reputable Dr. Henry Jekyll. This piques Utterson’s interest, especially since Jekyll’s will inexplicably leaves everything to Hyde.
  • Rising Action — Utterson’s investigations reveal unsettling connections between Jekyll and Hyde. Despite efforts, Jekyll reassures Utterson but refuses to discuss Hyde, heightening the mystery. Suspense builds as Hyde’s violence escalates, culminating in the murder of Sir Danvers Carew, a respected MP.
  • Climax — The climax is reached when Jekyll’s involuntary transformations into Hyde become uncontrollable, forcing Jekyll to isolate himself. Utterson and Dr. Lanyon, a mutual friend, witness the shocking transformation of Hyde back into Jekyll, unveiling the secret of Jekyll’s dual existence.
  • Falling Action — In the wake of Lanyon’s death, due to the shock of witnessing Jekyll’s transformation, Utterson discovers a letter from Jekyll explaining his experiments. Jekyll devised a chemical solution allowing him to separate and embody his dual natures as Jekyll and Hyde but eventually loses control over the transformations.
  • Resolution — The narrative concludes with the disappearance of Hyde, following his final transformation back into Jekyll and subsequent suicide, as Jekyll’s inability to procure the necessary chemicals to prevent permanent transformation into Hyde leaves him facing inevitable capture and disgrace. Utterson finds Jekyll’s full confession, explaining his intentions and the tragic outcome of his experiments.

Through meticulous pacing and intricate plotting, Stevenson crafts a narrative that not only captivates with its suspense and horror but also invites profound reflections on the duality of human nature, ethics, and the limits of scientific exploration.

Character Analysis

In The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Robert Stevenson paints vivid portraits of characters caught in a web of mystery, morality, and self-discovery. Here’s a closer look at the main characters:

  • Dr. Henry Jekyll — A respected scientist and philanthropist in London society, Jekyll is a complex character embodying the duality of human nature. His experiments, intended to separate his noble from his baser instincts, lead to the creation of Edward Hyde. Jekyll is introspective and profoundly conflicted, grappling with the moral implications of his actions as Hyde becomes increasingly uncontrollable.
  • Mr. Edward Hyde — The dark and violent alter ego of Jekyll, Hyde embodies the unrestrained and primal aspects of Jekyll’s personality. Small, repulsive, and devoid of conscience, Hyde engages in crimes without remorse. His physical appearance is described as somehow deformed yet indescribable, a reflection of his wholly evil nature.
  • Mr. Gabriel John Utterson — The narrative’s lens, Utterson is a lawyer and the loyal friend of Dr. Jekyll. His conservative and rational demeanor drives him to unravel the mystery surrounding Jekyll and Hyde. Utterson’s dedication to his friend represents the Victorian ideal of steadfast morality and friendship.
  • Dr. Hastie Lanyon — A fellow physician and once a close friend of Jekyll, Lanyon becomes estranged over Jekyll’s unorthodox scientific inquiries. His eventual witness to Jekyll’s transformation into Hyde horrifies him to death, symbolizing the ultimate rejection of Jekyll’s transcendence of scientific and moral boundaries.
  • Mr. Poole — Dr. Jekyll’s loyal butler, Poole, serves as a significant figure in escalating the plot. His concern for Jekyll’s well-being and suspicion towards the end of the narrative help Utterson to uncover the final pieces of the Jekyll-Hyde puzzle.

Here’s a quick summary in table format:

CharacterPersonality TraitsMotivationsCharacter Development
Dr. Henry JekyllComplex, conflicted, introspectiveExplore the duality of human nature, separate good from evilGradual loss of control over Hyde, leading to despair and suicide
Mr. Edward HydeEvil, violent, devoid of conscienceFulfill base desires without restraintBecomes increasingly dominant, leading to Jekyll’s downfall
Mr. Gabriel John UttersonRational, moral, loyalUncover the truth, protect his friendDeepens in loyalty and concern, despite horror
Dr. Hastie LanyonRational, conservative, initially skepticalUnderstand Jekyll’s experimentsHorror and death upon witnessing Jekyll’s transformation
Mr. PooleLoyal, concernedServe and protect JekyllActs decisively to help Utterson uncover the truth

This analysis underscores Stevenson’s exploration of the complexities of human nature, ethics, and the consequences of unchecked scientific ambition.

Themes and Symbols

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Stevenson is rich in themes and symbols that deepen the narrative and provoke thought about the human condition, morality, and society.

  • The Duality of Human Nature — The most prominent theme, the idea that every individual harbors both good and evil aspects within themselves. Dr. Jekyll’s transformation into Mr. Hyde is a literal manifestation of this concept, demonstrating the constant battle between the moral and immoral sides of one’s personality.
  • The Limits of Scientific Exploration — Stevenson critiques the Victorian era’s blind faith in science through Jekyll’s experiments. The story suggests that there are ethical boundaries in scientific inquiry which, when crossed, can lead to disastrous consequences.
  • Reputation and Respectability — The importance of maintaining one’s reputation in Victorian society is a recurring theme. Characters go to great lengths to protect their social standing, reflecting the era’s emphasis on appearance over truth.
  • The Supernatural versus the Rational — Stevenson blends elements of the supernatural with Victorian rationalism, creating a tension between the inexplicable nature of Jekyll’s transformation and the logical, investigative approach of Mr. Utterson.
  • Freedom and Confinement — Hyde represents Jekyll’s desire for freedom from societal constraints and moral expectations. However, this pursuit of freedom ultimately leads to Jekyll’s confinement within the persona of Hyde, illustrating the paradox that true freedom might result in the ultimate imprisonment.


  • The Door — The door to Jekyll’s laboratory symbolizes the barrier between the respectable persona of Dr. Jekyll and the hidden, nefarious nature of Mr. Hyde. It represents the threshold between the public and private selves, as well as the passage from normalcy to the realm of the uncanny.
  • The Potion — Jekyll’s potion is a symbol of scientific innovation and the desire to manipulate nature. It also represents the dangers of unchecked ambition and the potential for self-destruction inherent in human attempts to control the dual aspects of their nature.
  • London Fog — A frequent backdrop to the events of the novel, the fog symbolizes confusion, danger, and the unknown. It mirrors the moral ambiguity and obscured identities central to the story, enveloping London in a veil that blurs the line between reality and the hidden.

These themes and symbols weave throughout Stevenson’s narrative, creating layers of meaning that explore the complexities of identity, ethics, and the societal norms of the time. The novella invites readers to reflect on the darker aspects of human nature and the consequences of our choices, both as individuals and as a society.

Writing Style and Tone

Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is celebrated not just for its compelling narrative but also for its distinctive writing style and tone, which play crucial roles in creating the novella’s eerie atmosphere and deep psychological impact. Let’s dive into these elements:

  • Gothic and Atmospheric — Stevenson employs a gothic writing style, characterized by its focus on dark themes, moral ambiguity, and elements of horror and suspense. The setting, often shrouded in fog and darkness, enhances the mysterious and foreboding tone of the story.
  • Economical and Precise — Despite the complexity of the themes it explores, Stevenson’s prose is remarkably concise. He manages to convey deep psychological insights and develop a gripping narrative within a relatively short text, demonstrating his mastery of language and storytelling.
  • Epistolary Elements — The novella incorporates letters and documents, adding layers to the narrative and providing different perspectives. This technique not only builds suspense but also deepens the reader’s understanding of the characters and their motivations.
  • Moral and Philosophical Underpinnings — Stevenson infuses his narrative with moral and philosophical questions, particularly regarding the dual nature of humanity and the ethical implications of scientific discovery. The serious tone of these discussions contrasts with the thrilling aspects of the plot, adding depth to the novella.
  • Psychological Complexity — The tone of the narrative is deeply introspective, delving into the minds of Dr. Jekyll and, indirectly, Mr. Hyde. Stevenson skillfully explores the psychological turmoil and existential dread faced by Jekyll, capturing the essence of human inner conflict.
  • Tension and Suspense — Through his use of foreshadowing and the gradual revelation of information, Stevenson creates a pervasive sense of tension and suspense that keeps readers engaged from beginning to end. The tone fluctuates between the calm demeanor of Mr. Utterson’s investigation and the horror of Hyde’s actions, effectively maintaining the novella’s gripping atmosphere.

Stevenson’s writing style and tone in The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde are integral to its status as a classic of literature. They not only enhance the story’s thematic depth and psychological complexity but also ensure its enduring appeal and relevance.

Literary Devices used in The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Robert Louis Stevenson’s use of literary devices in The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde significantly enhances the novella’s depth, intrigue, and thematic complexity. Here are the top 10 devices Stevenson employs:

  1. Symbolism — The use of symbols like Jekyll’s house (divided between the respectable front and the decrepit back, mirroring Jekyll and Hyde’s relationship) and the potion (representing attempts to control one’s darker nature) enriches the narrative with layers of meaning.
  2. Foreshadowing — Stevenson masterfully hints at future events, such as Utterson’s nightmares about Hyde and Jekyll’s early withdrawal from society, creating suspense and anticipation.
  3. Irony — There’s a tragic irony in Jekyll’s attempt to separate his good from his evil side, only to become wholly consumed by his darker half.
  4. Allegory — The entire novella can be seen as an allegory for the dual nature of man, with Jekyll and Hyde embodying the conflict between society’s expectations and individual desires.
  5. Metaphor — Stevenson uses metaphors to deepen the psychological and thematic aspects, such as describing London as a body with its own circulatory systems and maladies, paralleling the duality within Jekyll.
  6. Allusion — References to biblical and mythological tales of transformation and duality reinforce the novella’s themes and connect it to a broader cultural and historical context.
  7. Imagery — Vivid descriptions of the foggy, gas-lit streets of London create an atmospheric setting that mirrors the moral ambiguity and hidden dangers of Jekyll’s experiments.
  8. Personification — Stevenson personifies the city of London and elements within it, imbuing the setting with a life of its own that reflects the inner turmoil of the characters.
  9. Point of View — The narrative’s perspective, primarily from Utterson’s point of view, serves to obscure and then gradually reveal the truth about Jekyll and Hyde, mimicking the process of investigation and discovery.
  10. Juxtaposition — The stark contrast between Jekyll’s respectable façade and Hyde’s monstrous nature highlights the theme of duality and the conflict between public and private selves.

These literary devices are intricately woven into the fabric of Stevenson’s narrative, elevating the novella from a simple horror story to a profound exploration of the human psyche, morality, and the society of his time.

Literary Devices Examples

Here are examples and explanations for each of the top 10 literary devices used in The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Stevenson, presented in table format.


Jekyll’s house, divided into two sectionsThe house symbolizes the duality of Jekyll’s personality: the respectable, well-kept front represents his public, respectable self, while the dilapidated back mirrors the hidden, monstrous side of Mr. Hyde.
The potionRepresents scientific ambition and the desire to manipulate one’s nature. It also symbolizes the dangerous consequences of tampering with the human psyche.
The foggy London settingServes as a symbol for confusion, secrecy, and the blurred line between good and evil within humanity.


Utterson’s dreams about HydeUtterson’s nightmares foreshadow the growing influence and eventual dominance of Hyde over Jekyll.
Jekyll’s withdrawal from societyHints at Jekyll’s internal struggle and the increasing control Hyde has over him, leading to his eventual isolation and downfall.


Jekyll’s intention to separate his good side from his evil leads to his complete overtaking by HydeThe tragic irony lies in Jekyll’s belief that he can control his darker impulses through scientific means, only to be entirely consumed by them.


The transformation of Jekyll into HydeActs as an allegory for the battle between the good and evil that exists within every individual and the dangers of suppressing one’s darker side.


London as a living organismThe city is often described in terms that suggest it is alive, mirroring the dual nature of its inhabitants and the pervasive corruption beneath its surface.


References to biblical stories of transformation and dualityThese allusions serve to place Jekyll and Hyde within a broader context of tales about the struggle between good and evil.


The descriptions of the fog enveloping LondonCreates a vivid, atmospheric setting that reflects the ambiguity and moral confusion of the story.


Giving life-like qualities to the streets of LondonEnhances the eerie atmosphere and suggests that the city itself is complicit in Jekyll’s and Hyde’s deeds.

Point of View

The story told mostly from Utterson’s perspectiveThis limited point of view adds to the mystery and suspense, as the reader uncovers the truth alongside Utterson.


The contrast between Jekyll and HydeHighlights the theme of duality and the conflict between one’s public persona and private desires.

These examples showcase Stevenson’s skillful use of literary devices to deepen the narrative’s complexity and enhance the themes of duality, morality, and the human psyche.

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde – FAQs

What is the main theme of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde?
The main theme is the duality of human nature, exploring the conflict between the good and evil sides inherent in every individual. Stevenson delves into how societal pressures and moral constraints influence this internal battle.

Who is Mr. Hyde?
Mr. Hyde is the darker alter ego of Dr. Henry Jekyll, brought to life through a scientific experiment. He embodies Jekyll’s repressed desires and evil inclinations, free from the moral and societal constraints that Jekyll adheres to.

How does Dr. Jekyll transform into Mr. Hyde?
Dr. Jekyll creates a potion that allows him to separate his darker traits, transforming him into Mr. Hyde. This physical and moral transformation enables him to live out his darkest desires without tarnishing his reputation as Dr. Jekyll.

What is the significance of the setting in the novel?
The setting of foggy, Victorian London mirrors the novel’s themes of mystery, duality, and moral ambiguity. The city’s dark, labyrinthine streets symbolize the complex nature of human psyche and morality.

How does the novel explore the theme of good vs. evil?
Through the characters of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Stevenson explores the coexistence of good and evil within the human soul. The transformation from Jekyll to Hyde demonstrates the struggle to control and separate these opposing forces, ultimately suggesting that they are inseparable and fundamental to human identity.

What role does Mr. Utterson play in the story?
Mr. Utterson, a lawyer and friend of Dr. Jekyll, serves as the story’s moral compass and investigator. His quest to understand the relationship between Jekyll and Hyde drives the narrative forward, uncovering the dark truths behind Jekyll’s experiment.

What is the significance of the potion in the novel?
The potion symbolizes human attempts to control and manipulate inherent nature. It represents both scientific curiosity and the peril of overstepping ethical boundaries, leading to unintended and catastrophic consequences.

Why does Dr. Jekyll create Mr. Hyde?
Dr. Jekyll creates Mr. Hyde as a way to express his repressed desires and to separate his good side from his evil tendencies. However, he underestimates the power of his darker side, leading to tragic outcomes.

How does the novel end?
The novel ends with Dr. Jekyll’s complete loss of control over the transformations into Mr. Hyde, culminating in Hyde’s suicide when faced with the inevitability of being caught. Jekyll’s final letter explains the tragic experiment and its consequences.

What does The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde say about society?
The novel critiques Victorian society’s rigid moral codes and the dichotomy between public appearance and private reality. It suggests that societal pressures contribute to the internal conflict between good and evil, highlighting the dangers of suppressing one’s true nature.


QuestionABCDCorrect Answer
What triggers Dr. Jekyll’s transformations into Mr. Hyde without drinking the potion?His angerHis sleepHis desiresUncontrollable factorsD
Who discovers Dr. Jekyll’s true relationship with Mr. Hyde?Mr. EnfieldDr. LanyonMr. UttersonMr. PooleC
What is the primary setting of the novel?ParisLondonNew YorkEdinburghB
What does Mr. Hyde do that initially draws public attention?He donates to charityHe murders someoneHe saves a childHe tramples a girlD
What ultimately happens to Dr. Jekyll?He flees the countryHe continues his experimentsHe dies by suicideHe turns into Mr. Hyde permanentlyC
What literary genre does The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde belong to?RomanceScience FictionGothic HorrorBiographyC
Who is the first character to encounter Mr. Hyde?Dr. JekyllMr. UttersonMr. EnfieldMr. LanyonC
What symbolizes the duality of Dr. Jekyll’s nature?The mirrorThe potionThe doorThe fogC
Why does Dr. Jekyll create a will leaving his estate to Mr. Hyde?To protect his fortuneAs a jokeTo ensure Hyde’s survivalTo avoid suspicionC
What moral question does the novel explore?The ethics of cloningThe nature of identityThe possibility of separating good from evilThe impact of technology on societyC

This quiz is designed to test your comprehension of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and its key elements, including plot, characters, themes, and symbols.


Spot the Literary Devices

Read the following paragraph from The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and identify the literary devices used:

“In the quiet of the night, London transformed. The fog, thick and impenetrable, seemed to swallow the city whole, turning familiar streets into a maze of mystery and shadow. Every footstep echoed against the cobblestones, a lonely sound that spoke of hidden dangers and unseen watchers. The gas lamps flickered, their light struggling to penetrate the dense mist, casting eerie shadows that danced and twisted like specters. It was in this otherworldly scene that Mr. Hyde moved with ease, his figure merging with the darkness, as if he and the night were one.”


  1. Imagery — “The fog, thick and impenetrable, seemed to swallow the city whole…”
  2. Personification — “…casting eerie shadows that danced and twisted like specters.”
  3. Metaphor — “…his figure merging with the darkness, as if he and the night were one.”
  4. Alliteration — “Every footstep echoed against the cobblestones, a lonely sound that spoke of hidden dangers and unseen watchers.”
  5. Simile — “…as if he and the night were one.”

This exercise helps you understand how Stevenson uses literary devices to enhance the atmosphere and depth of his narrative, creating a vivid and immersive reading experience.