The overall premise of Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is one that is familiar to many. In this novella, Robert Louis Stevenson explores the contrasting qualities of good and evil and also shows that there is indeed some gray area between the two. The main subject of the text is Dr. Jekyll, a well-to-do doctor in London attempts to purge himself of what he considers is his evil half. He does this by developing a special formula that transforms himself into an unrecognizable creature. Both his mind and body are foreign to himself and the rest of society. Eventually, since he derives so much pleasure out of being someone else, Jekyll begins abusing this medicine. Stevenson portrays Jekyll as a drug abuser and addict in this novella. He does this to further illuminate that there really is no true line between good and evil, but more of a blur.
Dr. Jekyll’s initial motives in developing his transforming medicine were very well-founded. In fact, Jekyll had no idea that his discovery would transform him physically at all. Jekyll simply wanted to extricate his evil self from his good. Jekyll believed that “If each [side of one’s personality; good and evil]…could but be housed in separate identities, life would be relieved of all that was unbearable” (Stevenson p 49). Jekyll felt as though he was a compilation of multiple characters, and that the desires of these characters opposed each other too often. He thought it would be simpler to remove the more negative of the two medically and then he would only have to deal with the wishes of the more socially acceptable and favorable side.
Unfortunately, Dr. Jekyll’s medicine transformed him much more so than he expected. Instead of only mentally changing him as he supposed it would, Jekyll was also physically transformed beyond recognition. The mental changes that the transforming medicine brought on, coupled with the extraordinary physical differences that it produced made Dr. Jekyll feel freer and...
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