A Fight Against Oneself
Addiction, a detriment of modern society, was also an issue in the time of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The theme of addiction is significant in Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde because it emphasizes Mr. Hyde’s evil, enforces the fact that Jekyll’s dependence on Hyde as an escape from his normal life is harmful to him, and draws attention to the duality of Dr. Jekyll’s character. Dr. Jekyll’s addiction to Mr. Hyde is one way Stevenson stresses Mr. Hyde’s evil. When Jekyll tells Utterson, “‘the moment I choose, I can be rid of Mr. Hyde,’” (Stevenson 13) he sounds like a drug addict, insisting that he can become "clean" whenever he wants. He chooses to become his evil, immoral self for the sake of his own pleasure, making the reader resent him even more. Mr. Hyde’s evil is also made evident through the effects of addiction when Jekyll describes his experiences as Hyde, saying that he already had “undignified” plans, and, “in the hands of Edward Hyde they soon began to turn towards the monstrous” (46). When Jekyll becomes Hyde, he becomes so incomprehensibly evil that he cannot think rationally, Hyde does not understand or care that he might hurt other people, he only cares about what is convenient to him. Dr. Jekyll is negatively affected by his double life and addiction to Hyde and Hyde’s evil deeds. As he uses the drug more frequently he starts to have trouble changing back to Jekyll, and begins to worry that “the power of voluntary change be forfeited, and the character of Edward Hyde become irrevocably mine” (48). Hyde is like a parasite, taking root in Jekyll’s flesh. This concerns him because not only is Hyde wanted for the murder of Sir Danvers Carew, but Jekyll also dislikes Hyde’s lack of morality and the way he disregards Jekyll’s plans. Throughout the novel, this worry helps to implant Hyde in the reader’s mind as “evil” and shows Jekyll’s internal conflict...
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