So, today we discussed the background to Robert Louis Stevenson’s novella, as well as looked at some of the modern influences this text has had, such as The Incredible Hulk.
- Mr Utterson – a lawyer, and in charge of making Dr Jekyll’s will. He becomes suspicious of Hyde and his apparent influence over his friend, Jekyll.
- Dr Henry Jekyll – a respected Doctor, who appears to be leaving all his possessions to the fairly dodgy Mr Hyde. He gradually becomes more and more withdrawn from his friends, secluded himself in his laboratory.
- Mr Edward Hyde – a suspicious man, who was seen trampling a child in the street, and a maid claims to have seen him murder.
- Dr Lanyon – a mutual friend of Jekyll and Utterson, who dies suddenly after discovering something truly disturbing about Jekyll. He leaves a letter for Utterson to be opened only after Jekyll’s death.
Context and Symbolism
- One night, in 1885, Stevenson had a nightmare.
- It was so intriguing he began writing what was to become The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. He finished the first draft in three days.
- His wife, however, thought it was simply a scary story – she challenged him to go further, and look at the philosophical possibilities with an exploration of the darker side of human nature.
Rise of the working class
The 19th century brought with it a huge crisis in religion and faith, due to Darwin’s theory of evolution – the idea that religious teachings in Creation were untrue, and that man had evolved like other creatures.