Manu's GCSE guide to Dr Jekyll and Mr HydeWatch
my name's manu and i've just completed my gcses but i have a crap ton of notes for jekyll and hyde which i thought would be silly to waste. so here they are all typed up hope this is useful to y'all in some way! you can find my jekyll and hyde quote a day thread here.
chapter summary notes [1-5] [6-10]
character notes- jekyll, hyde, lanyon, utterson
the importance of structure to the novel
context [part one][part two]
past + practice questions [part one- aqa, edexcel, ocr][part two- wjec]
quotes + themes
exam technique- considering the extract + tips
chapter one (story of the door) summary:
mr utterson as a character is introduced and despite being antisocial, has a rather strange relationship with enfield. we follow a walk they take down the street, where they pass a certain door; which prompts enfield to recount of when he first encountered hyde (when he trampled over the girl). the chapter ends with them agreeing not to talk about the story again after further discussion.
chapter two (search for mr hyde) summary:
mr utterson begins to gather more information around mr hyde, and encounters him for the first time. at the end of the chapter, he wishes to investigate more of the mystery surrounding him and to prevent hyde from having access to the will, believing he has bad intentions.
chapter three (dr jekyll was quite at ease) summary:
in a gathering, jekyll asks that hyde receives just/fair treatment if he ever does disappear despite his (hyde's) actions. the will seems to be a sensitive topic or one he does not wish to talk about. he currently believes that he has a degree of control over hyde's presence but seems uneasy regardless.
chapter four (the carew murder case) summary:
after a sustained period of quiet (a year, i believe), hyde kills sir danvers carew and hurriedly leaves the area in which he lived in previously. a cheque book is found burnt in the fireplace, which is considered strange and rather out of character for hyde as he values money. the chapter ends with an unsuccessful attempt to trace hyde's location, as the accounts/descriptions of him differ with each other, reinforcing the constant mystery and obscurity surrounding him.
chapter five (incident of the letter) summary:
utterson enters jekyll's house and greets a much changed version of him, a rather ill and fearful man. jekyll has supposedly received a letter from hyde following his departure through post. he (hyde) asks utterson to examine the letter and decide what the next step of action should be. however. mr guest also examines the letter later on and there's a realisation that hyde's handwriting is very similar to jekyll's. utterson makes the conclusion that jekyll forged the note for a murderer (hyde), to his horror.
chapter six (remarkable incident of dr lanyon) summary:
for a period of time, jekyll returns to his normal character eg. engaging in things that he did previously. after a few days, however, jekyll isolates himself from utterson and the rest of his friends. as a result, he (utterson) decides to visit lanyon, who seems to be ill and a changed character, blaming jekyll for it. jekyll writes a letter to utterson regarding the 'quarrel' between him and lanyon. eventually, lanyon dies amd utterson recieves another letter directly written for him. at the end of the chapter, utterson reduces the frequency of his visits to jekyll due to his changed character.
chapter seven (incident at the window) summary:
during a walk with enfield, he and utterson see jekyll at a window. they strike a conversation, which ends suddenly when jekyll unexpectedly transforms into hyde, not to the characters' knowledge however.
chapter eight (the last night) summary:
mr utterson visits poole, and it is believed that a murderer may be present in the room jekyll was originally in. another conversation provides evidence that jekyll is not in said room; poole's very sure that hyde is in there. they break the door down and find hyde lying on the floor, having taken his own life. they search the room, and discover a note.
chapter nine (dr lanyon's narrative) summary:
one of two letters that utterson reads. lanyon's letter is read out first, hence the chapter name. lanyon recieves a letter from jekyll, detailing a plan which asks him to retrieve a drawer from the laboratory and to take it to a man under his name at midnight. the precise instructions are followed, and the man who recieves the powders and drawer mixes the powders and liquids together to create a potion/liquid substance. to his horror, the man drinks the liquid and transforms into jekyll. the conclusion made is that jekyll and hyde are the same person, the letter ending with him (lanyon) saying his days are numbered and that he's had the shock of his life.
chapter ten (henry jekyll's full statement on the case) summary:
in this chapter, utterson reads a letter written by henry jekyll. the letter details his experience of transforming into hyde as well as his emotional response towards the process. initally he enjoyed the process and all the forbidden things that he was able to indulge in but conflict later arose when hyde gained unexpected dominance over jekyll. jekyll began to realise that separating the two entities of good and evil is physically impossible and causes more harm than good, reflecting on when he unconsciously turned to hyde in public view (the park bench). the letter is signed off with the statement that jekyll will have permanently turned into hyde once the letter's been read.
» introduced in first chapter
» described as a rather bland, boring character
» see most of the story through his perspective or following him. generally a reliable character as he's not biased towards the characters or lets his emotions get in the way. this allows the reader to make their own judgements of the characters.
» tolerant of others, would rather help than reprimand ("the greatness of relief that appeared upon the butler's face", "bless god! it's mr utterson.")
» a rational man- looks upon reasoning to understand everything; this is why it took him so long to realise jekyll and hyde were the same person because it's simply not a rational occurence.
» represents the ideal victorian gentleman, doesn't gossip or judge others.
» his tolerance for others may have not been a trait shared among others in the victorian society.
» his dreams/nightmares about hyde could contribute as an element of the gothic fiction trait of the novel. they could be considered rather out of character as utterson's a sensible character- this shows the chilling effect of hyde and the supernatural element in the story. even the most stoic gentleman could be affected by evil in any form.
» unwavering rationality and reason would have been common traits in victorian society.
» considerate of other people's reputation- he tries very hard to find a sensible reason for jekyll's (when it is hyde) strange behaviour. this reflects repression or the attempt to cover up the darker side of humanity.
» if the public had found out that jekyll was also hyde, his reputation would have been ruined. uncannily, his (utterson's) job is a lawyer, so his job is to defend others in court cases. in this case, utterson could be seen as performing his duty, except this doesn't take place in the court environment.
contextual consideration of utterson: stevenson may be trying to criticise extensive use of common sense and rationality. it was because of this utterson was unable to see that hyde and jekyll were the same person- had he thought outside the box or unconventionally he may have been able to draw to that conclusion quicker. he was also unlikely to reach this conclusion because he could only see the good in jekyll- he didn't realise that good and evil can be present in the same person.
» considered the good counterpart to hyde but really he's just a hypocrite- he knows whenever he drinks the substance he will transform into hyde, a creature of evil intentions.
» respectable front is a facade; even confesses in the final chapter that he indulged in dark pleasures at night whilst carrying on with his job in the day.
» dynamics of the relationship between him and hyde constantly change- sometimes he cares deeply for him, other times he doesn't wish to associate himself. this idea branches well into duality as a theme and being able to look at it more in closer detail.
» had different scientific views to lanyon- he (lanyon) didn't approve of his transcendental medicine investigations.
» we hear of hyde first, not him.
» first class man, a respected doctor.
» behaviour changes whenever hyde is brought up in conversation.
» hyde dominates him towards the end.
» falls into the temptations of evil.
» there's conflicting internal attitudes within him.
» felt guilty when he transformed back into jekyll
» initially wanted to separate the good and evil entities with good intentions, but they changed.
» found it incredibly difficult to isolate himself entirely from from hyde. described having a paternal relationship with him.
» could be considered different from other men as he didn't hire an imposter (some did at the time), instead transforming himself to enjoy all the crimes.
contextual consideration: implied that he engaged in corrupt behaviour from a young age- stevenson could be suggesting that this type of behaviour is natural.
» evil 'counterpart'
» considered an animalistic and degenerated version of man; he shows a lack of control and remorse.
» he acted as a secret outlet for jekyll to indulge in the darker things; his identity would remain unknown.
» despite his animalistic nature, he does seem incredibly aware of others- successfully tempts lanyon to witness his transformation by saying he would receive a wealth of knowledge.
» could be argued that because he's evil, representing repressed desires leads him to noticing other people's desires. in this case, lanyon may be desiring fame and power so that's how hyde manages to successfully shock him.
» generally an impolite and cold character- could be due to the fact that he hasn't experienced as much of the world as jekyll has. we see this through the description of his stature (smaller) and the fact that jekyll describes that he felt younger as hyde.
» it's possible that if hyde was given the opportunity to be out in the open more, he would eventually be less violent and savage. we need to consider that he contained jekyll's repressed desires- he was the full embodiment of them so naturally after being 'caged' for so long he's likely to unleash everything at once eg. violence.
» never given a clear physical description- perhaps evil is different to everyone so the character see hyde differently. reinforces the mystery around him.
» possibly brings out the evil in other people eg. "a flash of odious joy appeared upon the woman's face"
» doesn't seem to be physically deformed, the deformity described by others is internal.
» possible that he wrote the blasphemies found by utterson- did he dislike the idea of a god?
contextual consideration: stevenson could be saying that you cannot repress evil for so long without avoiding consequences.
» longtime friend of jekyll and utterson.
» disagreed with jekyll's recent scientific pursuals, calling it unethical and nonsense.
» likely a greater embodiment of rationalism than utterson- this could be due to his religious beliefs.
» to see the transformation means what he's witnessed goes against his firmly rooted beliefs.
» this is likely why he goes into shock, becoming extremely ill and eventually dying- his universe had been essentially turned upside down as jekyll was able to play 'creator'. it was unlikely that he wanted to live in a world where mystical science was a genuine thing.
» says that if everyone held all the knowledge possible they'd be glad to leave the world. this is possibly a criticism of god, as a being or whether he believes in him but it could also be the fact that he has this sudden realisation that god may see this world as a burden.
» respected doctor, social upper class gentleman.
» when he witnessed the transformation, he also changed- it was out of curiosity that he stayed behind to see the change. perhaps curiosity is something that we cannot control.
» felt an unexplained hatred towards hyde despite being him an utter stranger to him ("i set it down to some idiosyncratic, personal distaste")- this means that the hatred is irrational, something that would likely go against his scientific beliefs. shows the power and influence of hyde.
» he dies with "a deep seated terror of the mind"- this shows the horrific effects of the transformation. the idea that good and evil are present in everyone, including him, terrifies him. he is also likely to be unsure of what to believe in- rational science or mystical. the transformation has caused him to be completely unsure of himself as well as fearful.
"a flash of odious joy appeared upon the woman's face" (chp. 4)
this is when utterson and the police officer travel to hyde's house, and are greeted at the door by an old woman. they tell her that hyde is in trouble, and that's the woman's subsequent facial reaction- this can be interpreted in more than way;
i) hyde is considered an evil, morally corrupt character thus is happy hyde's getting the justice he deserves.
ii) or she's taking pleasure out of the fact that he's in trouble- this could be hyde's influence on others (or humanity).
"perfect mat of cobwebs which had for years sealed up the entrance" (chp. 8)
"they found the key, already stained with rust... as if a man stamped on it'" (chp. 8)
both of these likely symbolise the lack of freedom jekyll has- he can transform into hyde without any trigger now and may find it harder for hyde to 'access' jekyll.
“inmost corner of his private safe” (chp. 6)
this describes the letter given by lanyon, which also includes the letter from jekyll.
truth encased in an envelope with wax in a private safe reinforces the layers upon concealment and secrecy depicted, the same way the laws of society conceal us hence each individual as layers of concealment. we are conditioned to respect normality which emphasises the aspect of the norm.
the story is told from multiple narrators
third person narration is used for the first eight chapters, though we follow utterson's perspectives and journeys. the first chapter has a descriptive introduction of utterson, who seems to be quite a trustworthy and amicable character. this may make the reader feel at ease, knowing that utterson is an honest and rational man (especially if we take into consideration the values held by victorian society at the time). however the third person narration may also make the reader feel more distanced from the events, so there's a mixture of ease and unease.
the last two chapters are from a first person's perspective- lanyon and then jekyll. the readers is able to gain a more personal insight into the events, thus also finding the truth about what happened from one who's witnessed these events in person- which helps increases the reader's interest. unfortunately, both of these chapters are written as letters, and both writers are dead/gone. this means that if utterson (or the readers) have any questions, they will continue to remain unanswered. this elevates the tension present in the novel and almost gives an unsatisfactory ending to the novella for some. this could also reflect the secrecy of victorian gentlemen who led double lives. for example, what did jekyll tell lanyon following his transformation that it was so horrific to put on paper?
jekyll, though his letter is detailed, mentions little detail about previous dark deeds he did, only the murder of carew. we are told he already had a dark side prior to the transformation, yet he doesn't say what he did. the absence of a reason or explanation may mean there's no rational explanation or reason behind evil, at least, not from the person who has witnessed it or the person who has visibly committed it.
the narration structure is non linear
it follows a non chronological order of events- some of them are revisited and some we only find out later in the novel which help us to understand previous events. the revisitation of past events is often done so we can see other perspectives or be able to piece the story together. this does make the story a little harder to follow, and deliberately misses out certain events so it's rather overwhelming when it all comes together (perhaps representing lanyon's shocks when he sees hyde transform into jekyll?). the confusion could be reflective of the struggle and questions jekyll had when trying to separate good and evil- he couldn't because they were so close together- but why were they?
there are embedded narratives within the story- stories told within stories
the first chapter is called 'story of the door' which cleverly symbolises the opening or introduction towards the actual story and the characters of interest. the use of multiple stories and accounts may cause the reader to question the authenticity of them, similar to a detective.
in chapter four, we are told about the murder of carew through the maid's account. her emotions seem to reflect the language she initially used to describe the scene. the maid was described as "romantically given" which contrasts with the previous blunt statement "london was startled by a crime of singular ferocity". the author uses pathetic fallacy in the first scene by the maid to help the reader understand the character.
"the moon shone on his face" likely reflects carew's nature of character- a good man. the fact that she did not pay much attention to hyde initially elevates the mystery surrounding him as well as problem- nobody seems to pay attention to evil. perhaps that's why so many people led double lives; reputation/status was such a highly regarded trait that they would be constantly observed. the moon shining on carew's face could also symbolise the enlightenment he may have been about to recieve- a rational explanation for evil?
in addition, lanyon also provides a full narration/story of what he had experienced, which in contrast, is formal and has a better structure. this symbolises a shift in tone and the secrets or discoveries.
in the final chapter, jekyll switches between perspectives
he uses first and sometimes third person when talking about hyde. this switch, in a way, likely reflects jekyll's struggle to separate himself from hyde. in some way, he feels very much himself being hyde but this contrasts with disdain towards him. for example, he refers to hyde in first person when sat in the cab travelling back home; "i gnashed my teeth upon him with a gust of devilish fury" but as he arrives home, he distances himself from hyde in the account; "the creature was astute" and even says in the letter that he can't call hyde by first person, the reasoning being "that child of hell had nothing human; nothing lived in him but fear and hatred". this quote's rather interesting as he describes the animalistic action of gnashing his teeth upon the driver in first person. it's likely that he became accustomed or used to some of hyde's ways.
manu's tip: context is an important part to your exam answer- while it may not have the same amount of marks as language analysis etc it shows your insight into the text as well as your ability to consider the text beyond surface level. when relevant, try to include context in your answer- this can also be linked to stevenson's purpose.
(the vast majority of these notes were taken from mr salles videos- if you're not one to be able to watch fairly long videos, you can use the notes below- i've tried to condense the information down as it's a lot without taking away the meaning of it)
victorian psyche and fascination with crime and violence
the strange case of dr jekyll and mr hyde = a late victorian variation on ideas first presented in mary shelley's novel, frankenstein.
victorians were fascinated with gothic fiction and the idea that mankind was capable of evil. in both novels a new creature/entity is created. the difference is that dr frankenstein regrets what he's done whereas jekyll indulges in what he's created- he can commit crimes and indulge in things that would be considered improper for victorian gentlemen; hyde is an outlet which allows him to do these dark deeds in secrecy. stevenson suggests that we all contain good and evil within us.
stevenson refrains going into detail about the mechanisms of forming hyde, but more into what drives people to commit evil deeds. this reasoning is partially explored in the last chapter of the novella. the duality of character is likely to resonate with many victorian readers who have the facade of leading good christian lifestyles but indulge in prostitution and gambling etc at night or hidden times. as hyde could indulge in said things without fear of punishment may have forced the readers to question the situations. would you seek pleasure if you could get away with it?
victorians were fascinated with violence- there was a newspaper called 'police news' which reported on crimes. murders of jack the ripper were incredibly brutal- sketches of the murder would have been suggestive, not showing the actual blood and gore as victorian readers would have not been able to accept an image that horrific. this is why stevenson does not detail anything that hyde pursues. the suggestion may be that underneath our outer exterior, all of us would have murderous and sexual pleasures if we could get away with it. the idea of secrecy would have been seductive. this is rather hypocritical as victorians are fascinated by death but act completely moral eg. not being able to look at violent pictures.
furthermore, the act of censoring may have caused curious readers to become frustrated; they want to know what exactly what he's been up to but because of censorship reasons his activities are left to the reader's imagination. this also implies that the potential things hyde could have done are vast- dark deeds etc are everywhere but not known. the readers' frustration may also reflect stevenson's frustration with the hypocrisy of the victorians.
another thing which shows the victorian's fascination with violence were little booklets called penny dreadful. these booklets contained sensation crimes and only cost a penny so they were very popular.
"with a transport of glee i mauled the unresisting body" indicates that hyde relished in the attack and violence of the moment when beating carew to death. there is no rational reason for why hyde attacks carew; jekyll simply states that he had been suppressed for so long and so was in a rage and more powerful when finally transformed.
victorians believed you could tell criminals by their facial features and shape (the evolutionary theory). the more ape-like your skull, the more likely you're a criminal. this is likely why stevenson gave hyde more animal-like features. eventually victorians came to realise that you simply can't tell whether someone's a criminal by their facial features. for example, you could not see an element of hyde within jekyll. a criminal could be a very respectable person (considering many of them led double lives). utterson has dreams where he worries about jekyll being blackmailed, later not telling the police about his connection with hyde- this could be considered a crime itself. the amount of melodrama related to crime shows the fascination with it.
hypocrisy of the middle class and patriarchy
depiction of jekyll's house may have been based on the house of famous surgeon john hunter (1728-1793) whose respectable house in leicester square has a secret. he needed dead bodies to learn about human anatomy and these were supplied by grave robbers, who at night, would bring the bodies to the back of the house which had a drawbridge leading to the preparation rooms and lecture theatre. these bodies had been stolen by the surgeon continued to take them in despite his knowledge of the fact. in some cases, dead bodies could not be found so people on the streets were killed instead. grave robbers were famous crimes at the time- it represented the corruption of the medical profession.
ironically, great advances and breakthroughs in medicine were made by surgeons due to this illegal crime. jekyll seems to be quite happy to break the law to pursue scientific research- should we justify breaking the law because it leads to breakthroughs?
the front aspect of jekyll's house presents "a great air of wealth and comfort" while mr hyde is seen entering a building which displays an air of "prolonged and sordid negligence"; both aspects are of the same property. the description of hyde's part house could reflect the fact that for a while, jekyll didn't transform into hyde so in a sense, he was neglecting him. stevenson is making the point that both reputable and disreputable exist in close proximity- a respectable facade is no guarantee that there's nothing dark behind it.
jekyll is not the only one suspected of doing indecent things. mr enfield encounters hyde while "coming home from some place at the end of the world, about three o'clock of a black winter's morning". this suggests the broader nature of middle class men- enfield may have been a brothel or somewhere shameful, particularly as he chooses to be deliberately vague about the place he went to (i'll analyse this more in the quote/symbolism section).
utterson is perfectly happy not to reveal any connections between jekyll and hyde when carew is murdered. he is complicit in the crime as he knows that hyde is the murderer. he would rather side with his friend and turn a blind eye to the fact that both hyde and jekyll are very closely linked.
questioning the role of god and christianity
while the differing appearances of jekyll and hyde play upon the theories emerging from charles darwin, their different personalities explore debates about moral behaviour and the potential plurality of human consciousness.
is consciousness a product of the brain or society?
hyde is what a man would be like without a consciousness- he acts on impulses and instincts without caring for the consequences. this may be partly due to his identity.
jekyll on the other hand, has a conscious and is a respectable christian. it may be possible that in the absence of all these christian beliefs, we all become hyde. the only things that are controlling jekyll are social conventions as this forces him to behave in a certain way. this thought, however, is debatable.
stevenson is able to explore a battle by splitting the consciousness into two. there is the 'good' side that mainly succeeds to repress desires which go against society's dictation and the immoral side which runs riot to fulfill its animalistic desires. despite hyde being the final form it could be questioned who actually won. hyde killed himself because of his fear of being discovered showing that although he represents a powerful suppressed evil he dies with these fears of society's dictation.
"i saw that, of the two natures that contended in the field of my consciousness, even if i could rightly said to be to be either it was only because i was radically both"
a christian pov could be that every man has sin inside them- god made us that way but it's also down to free choice. a common misconception is that jekyll is fully good/moral etc when he's not. because of his consciousness and society's conventions he chooses to repress these desires. through hyde, the respectable jekyll is freed from the restraints as his personna is unknown.
in his confession at the end of the book, jekyll observes that ultimately he'll have to choose between being jekyll or hyde forever. to become hyde would mean giving up on noble aspirations and being "forever despised and friendless" whereas to become jekyll would mean giving up all the appetites he could indulge in as hyde. though his case is not a common one jekyll observes that this debate has become as "old and commonplace" as man- the battle between good and evil is constant as well as historic.
hypocrisy and duality of londoners
london is a metaphor for society at the time. there's many juxtapositions throughout the story; respectability + degradation, abandonment + restraint, honesty + duplicity. even the physical aspects of london have a dual nature; respectable streets existing side to side with areas known for their squalor violence.
soho in the 19th century was an area where a rich would go to indulge in corrupt pleasures, though it had a spectacular and grand facade. between 1890 and 1939, industries that thrived on dance, music, food and fashion were transformed by commercial sex from an artisan (skill workers etc) area to a tourist area. soho was an area where to be 'foreign' was the norm- only about 40% of londoners were foreign born in 1990 whereas a single parish in soho had nearly 40% foreign born residents. thus, soho became foreign and english, safe and dangerous etc.
"it was about nine in the morning, and the first fog of the season. a great chocolate coloured pall lowered over heaven, but the wind was continually charging and routing these embattled vapours, so that as the cab crawled from street to street, mr utterson beheld a marvellous number of degrees and hues of twilight; for there it would be dark like the back-end of evening, and there would be a glow of rich, lurid brown, like the light of some strange conflagration; and here, for a moment, the fog would be quite broken up, and a haggard shift of daylight would glance in between the swirling wreaths"
"fog" is hiding the true nature of london as well as reflecting londoners' restraints at suppressing their dark side- eg. it's not always clear as to what a londoner's true nature is.
"chocolate coloured pall lowered over heaven"- a pall is a cover for a coffin- this could be the showing that good is to 'die' or be overpowered by the staining effects of evil. in this case, the colour is described as chocolate- chocolate's seen as attractive thus imagery is cleverly used here. soho attracts people to indulge in sinful things.
"wreaths" is an arrangement of flowers, typically used as decoration or in funerals. describing the fog like this could symbolise the fact that it makes london look pretty because it's hiding so much. or again, it could be linked to the 'death' of good.
"shaft of daylight would glance in" could be symbolising something coming out of hiding or another reference to dual nature. jekyll was supposed to be the good man but still turned into hyde because of the temptation.
"a glow of a rich, lurid brown"- lurid is a negative adjective which means something unpleasantly bright in colour as to create a harsh or unnatural effect. it contrasts with the more positive verb, "glow". this again could be symbolising the darker side of london, which is also presented as attractive through said verb. could it be considered concerning that utterson didn't seem to notice all these darker things, despite them 'glowing'? he's likely turning a blind eye.
the cab "crawled" suggests that the presence of evil is overpowering in soho thus it's weaker as a result.
"the fog lifted a little and showed him a dingy street, a gin palace, a low-french eating house, a shop for the retail of penny numbers and twopenny salads, mnay ragged children huddled in the doorways, and many women of different nationalities passing out, key in hand, to have a morning glass"
there's a focus on women here because of the high levels of prostitution- they resorted to sex when poor. it also shows that women have loose morals or are desperate; they're going to get drunk to sell their bodies. the fog lifting means the true london is revealed.
"the next moment the fog settled down again upon that part, as brown as umber, and cut him off from his blackguardly surroundings. this was the home of henry jekyll's favourite; of a man who was heir to a quarter of a million sterling"
utterson is cut off from what's horrible, foreshadowing his ignorance for jekyll's misendeavours. hyde lives in this area, implying his corruptive nature and the fact that it could be possibly influenced by his environment.
dr jekyll's house
"round the corner from the by-street, now for the most part decayed from their high estate and left in flats and chambers to all sorts and conditions of men: map-engravers, shady lawyers and the agents of obscure enterprises"
his house is in a street that's already becoming less reputable- the description of the house mimics his character. "high estate" is mentioned but jekyll's moral high ground has now decayed. the above quote is attacking men- all hypocrisy is male.
"one house, however, second from the corner, was still occupied entire; and at the door of this, wore a great air of wealth and comfort, though it was now plunged in darkness except for the fanlight, mr utterson stopped and knocked. a well dressed, elderly servant opened the door."
jekyll has become morally dark; this description gives us an impression of his wealth. the duality of jekyll is reflected in soho, london and his property. the fanlight may be showing that there's still hope for jekyll- perhaps he's fighting hyde?
cavendish square is where lanyon lives. jekyll has deliberately chosen somewhere which has become much less respectable. soho had very narrow streets, with houses next to each other- people are drawn to criminality, immorality and pleasure seeking.
stevenson is scottish but the story was set in london- many of his readers were londoners and he knew where the majority of corruption lay- in big, bustling cities.
evolution + christianity; are we animals?
a deeper comparison of jekyll and hyde would be evolution vs degeneration rather than good vs evil.
hyde's physical appearance provokes disgust- he's described as "ape-like" and "hardly human"- mr enfield also observes that "there is something wrong with his appearance, something displeasing, something downright detestable". a possible reason as to why he looks so displeasing may be because he's an early form of the evolution of mankind- the evolution theory is that man evolved from apes.
"it's not the strongest of species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change"
- charles darwin
hyde is the most responsive to change- this could be considered rather strange because jekyll is the more intelligent personna yet he doesn't survive. perhaps adapting is the best way of survival? as a species, we could be getting worse in terms of our morality and intelligence.
15 years before the strange case of jekyll and hyde was published, darwin published 'the descent of man'. the title already suggests that mankind is getting worse- 'descending'. he concluded that mankind had "descended from a hairy, tailed quadruped". it's possible that we are not fully human, but made up of sub animal like characteristics.
the idea of evolution and not human-like people is a common element in gothic novels, eg. dracula was able to turn into a wolf or bat.
is it possible that we can be saved?
next in the course of their review of the chamber, the searches came to the cheval glass, into whose depths which they looked with an involuntary horror. but it was turned as to show them nothing but the rosy glow playing on the roof, the fire sparkling in a hundred repetitions along the glazed front of the presses, and their own pale and fear countenances stooping to look in.
"this glass have seen some strange things, sir," whispered poole
the glass here is a mirror- poole and utterson are looking into it; the metaphor here is when we look into ourselves we'll see an evil character. when we're looking into jekyll and hyde, we see both characters present- they're the same person.
cheval is french for horse, which could be highlighting the animalistic nature of hyde. another argument is that we do have souls; poole and utterson are horrified by the evil acts that have taken place.
the actual physical description of the place could also reflect victorian gentlemen at the time.
"rosy" could be linked to them presenting rose-tinted, respectable version of themselves, in this case, jekyll putting on a respectable front.
the fire burning could represent the 'fire' of hyde. the fact that it's 'sparkling in a hundred repetitions" represents its power and the uncontrollable danger it inflicts.
poole's statement shows that the mirror is symbolic, could also be representative of one counterpart of man observing the evil, darker side.
another thing that utterson and poole find is the blasphemies written in a holy book (likely the bible). a blasphemy is the act of insulting or showing contempt to a religious/holy persons or something considered holy or sacred. to sum it up, it's attacking religion. it's possible that jekyll wrote the blasphemy disputing or disregarding god because in a way, him creating hyde was playing god; he created another being, another human. the fact that he was able to do this may have meant that he no longer believed in god especially as what he created was so evil.
he may have turned to religion as a resort because what he created was so evil and he was unable to control it- maybe whatever he called on help for showed no sign so he gave up on religion.
suppression of homosexuality
in an early draft of jekyll and hyde, stevenson has dr jekyll confess “from an early age, i became in secret the slave of certain appetites.”
these appetites are not described/explained- it’s likely that the victorian reader would have disapproved of it. “early age” suggests that homosexuality happens to us from an early age.
he cut the line from his final copy because the support for homosexuality needed to be more subtle in the novel.
the reason we find out so late that jekyll and hyde are the same person is that it allows the readers to build a suspicion that jekyll has a homosexual relationship with hyde which involves blackmail, money etc.
context of homosexuality:
1871- ernest “stella” boulton and frederick “fanny” park were two victorian transvestites and suspected gays who appeared as defendants in the boulton and park trial in london. a large group of males were charged with “conspiring and inciting persons to commit an unnatural offence”; one of the males accused was lord arthur clinton, who killed himself before the trial.
he was clearly a respectable/first class man judging by his name, meaning he had to put a respectable front on- homosexuality was such a taboo subject at the time but it would have severely affected clinton’s reputation.
homosexuality and blackmail were frequently linked in this period. section 11 of the criminal law amendment act 1885, the year when stevenson was writing his novel, made “gross indecency” a criminal activity. the term was not given a precise definition but it was this act that was primarily used to prosecute homosexuals. very little evidence was often needed to arrest them- you could do so by even thinking that they’re gay.
four years after the strange case of dr jekyll and mr hyde was published, the cleveland street scandal occurred. a homosexual male brothel on cleveland street was raided by police after they discovered telegraphy boys had been working as prostitutes. a number of aristocratic clients were also discovered, including the prince of wales’s son prince albert victor and lord euston. homosexuality remained a taboo and scandalous subject- attitudes of victorians didn’t change.
the disgust with hyde’s appearance- “ape-like”, “troglodytic” and “hardly human” could be linked to how they see homosexuality as unnatural. they may not also consider it humane, degenerated etc or their homophobia makes them see him in that way. hyde is never given a physical description as disgusting- that’s likely their homophobia that causes them to see him as disgusting (perhaps internally or emotionally?).
it’s also strange that jekyll granted hyde free access to his house- after his death, hyde’ll inherit the will. for mr enfield, he believes that “blackmail” is at work between them. stevenson could not specifically refer to homosexuality but the plot may be initially hinting at hyde blackmailing Jekyll because of the doctor’s unorthodox sexual preferences.
If it was revealed to the public that he was gay, there would have been a massive public scandal, so this in a way, could be criticising victorian society- things like blackmail would not have occurred if they did accept homosexuality and didn’t repress any of their own desires. an argument could be that it’s wrong regardless, thus blackmail ensured it remained a taboo subject even though the act of blackmail is wrong.
jekyll doesn’t describe in detail any of the acts he or hyde did- he suppresses them due to social conformity, which could lead to us to believe that some of the things were homosexual. repeatedly characterising hyde as animalistic may not be for emphasis that he’s an animal- but questioning whether these evil, unleashed desires including homosexuality are actually animal-like. they could be natural.
repression and silence are constant themes in the novel- for example, mr enfield, when he saw hyde for the first time, did not ask about who he saw, he responds with “...no sir, i make it a rule of mine: the more it looks like queer street the less i ask”. similarly, jekyll asks utterson several times to not bring up the issue of the will.
there are many unmarried men in the novel- including jekyll. it’s possible that some of them may have been homosexual.
mr utterson’s comment “it turns me cold to think of this creature stealing like a thief to harry’s bedside”; it’s possible that hyde was “sexually attacking” jekyll- standing by his bedside could indicate that. another interpretation is that utterson’s jealous of hyde- he calls jekyll by his first name, making the scene seem slightly more personal and that hyde could essentially be taking what is meant to be his space on the bedside, thus called “thief”. the use of the noun “creature”, however may mean he seems homosexuality as wrong, if that’s what he’s doing- again, a reference to degeneration. however, he has an animal-like nature so it’s likely that his homosexuality could be natural and uncontrollable because he’s animalistic.
furthermore, sir danvers carew meets his death after "accosting" (approaching someone boldly or aggressively) hyde "with a very pretty manner" late one night- this is particularly interesting because a female is recounting the incident from her point of view, so it’s likely whatever manner he was in, it appealed to her. carew's feminine manner could mean that he’s homosexual; this whole scene could be seen differently if people are aware of the possible undercurrent of homosexuality. nobody is quite what they appear to be- duality.
hyde's violent reaction could mirror a victorian’s reaction to homosexuality- again even though he is meant to be animalistic, he is somehow relatable to readers at the time.
i cannot use any of the 2018 gcse papers for obvious reasons right now, however i've looked at all the exam boards and used what was available to compile a list of questions
all the extracts have been spoiler'd!
question one (aqa)
‘stevenson’s presentation of dr. jekyll allows the reader to feel sympathy for him.’
starting with this extract, explore how far you agree with this opinion.
• how stevenson presents dr. jekyll in this extract
• how stevenson presents dr. jekyll in the novel as a whole.
question two (aqa)
starting with this extract, how does stevenson present mr hyde as a frightening outsider?
• how stevenson presents mr hyde in this extract
• how stevenson presents mr hyde as a frightening outsider in the novel as a whole.
question three (edexcel)
a) explore how stevenson presents jekyll’s request for help in this extract. give examples from the extract to support your ideas.
b) in this extract, jekyll asks lanyon for help. explain how characters try to help others elsewhere in the novel.
in your answer, you must consider:
• who needs, gives or offers the help
• how help is accepted or rejected.
ALTERNATIVE Q3 (non-edexcel style)
starting with this extract, discuss how stevenson presents friendship.
• how friendship is presented in the extract.
• how friendship is presented in the novel as a whole.
question four (edexcel)
(a) explore how stevenson presents the atmosphere of victorian london in this extract. give examples from the extract to support your ideas.
(b) in this extract, a strong impression of victorian london is created. explain why the setting is important elsewhere in the novel.
in your answer you must consider:
• the different locations
• how important they are.
starting with this extract, explore how stevenson creates atmosphere.
• how atmosphere is created in the extract.
• how stevenson creates atmosphere in the novel as a whole.
question five (ocr)
explore stevenson's presentation of horrific events here (extract) and elsewhere in the novel.
"the novel shows that no person can be completely good"
how far do you agree with this view?
explore at least two moments from the novel to support your ideas.
question six (ocr)
explore how stevenson presents ‘evil’ through the presentation of mr hyde, in this extract and elsewhere in the novel.
‘mr utterson’s behaviour and attitudes contribute to the suspense in the novel.’ how far do you agree with this view?
explore at least two moments from the novel to support your ideas.
question seven (wjec)
write about how tension is created at different points in the novel.
in your response you should:
• refer to the extract and the novel as a whole;
• show your understanding of characters and events in the novel;
• refer to the contexts of the novel.
question eight (wjec)
write about mr hyde and how he is presented in the novel.
in your response you should:
• refer to the extract and the novel as a whole
• show your understanding of characters and events in the novel
• refer to the contexts of the novel
here i'll list lots of quotes- you can look at my quote a day thread to see if i've analysed it (it's linked in the intro post) or feel free to ask about it on this thread
ps- you don't need to memorise a huge amount of quotes! i've just put lots down for variety
from jekyll/hyde's pov:
"promise me that you will bear with him and get his rights for him"
"it was the curse of mankind that these two incongruous ******s were bound together"
incongruous def. - not fitting in with the surroundings
"he is quite safe... i was thinking of my own character which this hateful business has rather exposed"
"i was still cursed with my duality of purpose"
"though so profound a double dealer i was in no sense a hypocrite"
"comparing my active good-will with the lazy cruelty of their neglect"
"my first supply was impure"
"the moment i choose, i can be rid of mr hyde"
"the balance of my nature might be permanently overthrown"
"jekyll has more than a father's interest, hyde had more than a son's indifference"
"for while jekyll would suffer smartingly in the fires of abstinence, hyde would not even be conscious of all he lost"
"he, i say- i cannot say, i. that child of hell had nothing human"
"i am painfully situated utterson, my position is very strange"
"my devil had long been caged, he came out roaring"
"he had an improved tolerance for others... sometimes wondering with envy at the high pressure of spirits involved in their misdeeds"
"this document had long been the lawyer's eyesore"
"something eminently human beaconed from his eye"
"inclined to help rather than reprove"
"your sight shall be blasted by a prodigy to stagger the unbelief of satan"
“that unknown impurity which led efficacy to the draught”
“i let my brother go to the devil in his own way”
"god forgive us, god forgive us"
“i sometimes think if we knew all, we should be more glad to get away”
"the man seems hardly human"
"why did he cry like a rat?"
"if i am the chief of sinners, i am the chief of sufferers also"
"between these two, i felt i had to choose"
"that ugly idol... i was conscious of no repugnance- this too was myself”
"he, i say- i cannot say, i. that child of hell had nothing human"
"jekyll had more than a father's interest, hyde had more than a son's indifference"
"... a very great interest in that young man"
"strip off these lendings and spring headlong into the sea of liberty"
"but the temptation of a discovery so singular and profound at last overcame the suggestions of alarm"
"i was thinking of my own character, which this hateful business has rather exposed"
"... scandal out of this"
"i was coming home from some place at the end of the world, about three o'clock of a black winter's morning"
"comparing my active good will with the lazy cruelty of their neglect"
"who do they call good"
“my devil had long been caged, he came out roaring”
“instantly the spirit of hell awoke in me and raged”
“i am done with him in this world”
a tip from Lemur14 : jot down a few quotes/points before starting your answer- it can help you decide what to put in your next paragraphs and jog your memory.
i tell you, as someone who has sat the gsce paper; panicking will not help you at all. gcses aren't the end of the world and it's ok if you don't find them ok.
a lot of y'all will panic once reading the exam question especially if it's on a rather peculiar topic because you think you won't be able to incorporate what you've learnt into the answer. you can, it's about a matter of nailing your exam technique and the way you approach the question. of course you can't chuck all your knowledge into there but if you know how to word things correctly, you'll be able to add stuff to the answer.
this is why practicing the exam questions, particularly the harder ones, will help you improve your thought process.
for example, if the gcse question was to ask about friendship, you could link duality to it; eg. how would you, as a reader view the relationship between jekyll and hyde? is it a friendship? what's the state of friendships at the end of the book? how does their dual nature have consequences on other people's friendships; could this be implying something about the author's views? it's being able to break down a question, looking at the key words and having a quickfire brainstorm about things/questions to do with that word that may help you give the edge.
writing your essay
quality matters, not quantity but avoid rambling as you could go completely offtopic from the question.
an intro can be helpful just to address the question and can in some cases make it easier to write the rest of the essay. it's not necessary though. you may want to try including context in the intro also.
in your essay, aim to talk about different aspects of the novel.
start with the thing you find easier to analyse first as the essay will likely flow better and give you ideas as you're writing!
language analysis is good but consider other things too; sentence structure, narration, themes. include alternative interpretations when possible as this shows you have really have a deep consideration of the novel and have been able to look at something in more than one way. context is important also but unless it makes up the same amount of marks as lang/structure (aqa for example, allocate a lower amount of marks to context compared to lang/structure); basically, include it when you can and make sure it's relevant.
that leads me to another point; try not to ramble. always link the end of the paragraph back to the question so if you do end up rambling, it seems somewhat justified.
i did aqa for gcse english, so the anything i'm about to say is linked to my experience sitting the aqa exams.
UTILISE the extract. don't spend ages annotating it (ten minutes tops), even if it's an unseen extract; you don't get marks for annotation and really the extract is just meant to guide you a little when writing your answers. you'll find that as you start writing, the flow of writing the answer tends to come to you naturally and you'll find it easier to write.
try to memorise quotes from across the book so you're not caught out if you're given a piece of text that you've memorised quotes from. but don't try to predict or guess anything either
highlight, scribble all over it if you need to. if it's an extract you can find a lot in, great! you can base the majority of your answer off it. make sure to include a paragraph or two off somewhere else in the novella too though unless the question asks you to only use the extract (it can vary among exam boards).
if it's not a good extract given, don't panic. you have knowledge of the rest of the text. just analyse one or two things in the extract then talk about the rest of the text for the rest of your answer. it might not be as bad as it seems once you've got a second read over.
so you're going need to look at the choices he makes; he chooses to transform into hyde knowing full well of his 'negative' or evil traits- the reader may not be sympathetic for jekyll due to this reason. however, the reader may be sympathetic for him due to the fact that he's likely forced to put up a facade as a good and respectable doctor thus he needs another personna where he can indulge in the things he want without worry- hyde allows him to do this. and as the novella goes on, we see jekyll losing power to hyde and struggling to control him; another reason perhaps to have sympathy for him or a warning for others as what would happen if you make such choices; soon the temptation will be too much.
Also, if you don't mind, what grade did you get?