Jekyll and Hyde – Chapter 9, Dr Lanyon’s Narrative

So, after discovering Mr Hyde dead in Jekyll’s laboratory, wearing Jekyll’s clothes, Utterson finally reads Lanyon’s letter, detailing his discoveries regarding Jekyll’s mysterious behaviour, and the gruesome truth which shocked Lanyon literally to death.

In this chapter, Jekyll ensures that Lanyon actually bears witness to him transforming – an act so awful that Lanyon is utterly sickened by it. Was this done purely for ego – a kind of “look-how-smart-I-am” move – or is this Jekyll’s conscience trying to reach out to his old friend for help, finally realising that he has absolutely no control over this dark side of himself?

We at last also hear something from Jekyll himself, via a letter addressed to Lanyon. Why has Stevenson done this? Despite Jekyll being arguably the main character, we rarely have insight from his perspective – could this be to continue the mystery of the novel; uncovering the truth slowly, layer by layer, through third person narrative, such as Utterson, Enfield, the maid and Lanyon?

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