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Friendship is a key theme in Jekyll and Hyde, driving the plot forwards. Utterson's friendship with Jekyll compels him to investigate Hyde, whilst Jekyll and Lanyon's deteriorating relationship shows how easily friendships can be ruined by differing opinions.
In Jekyll and Hyde, Utterson's friendship with Jekyll leads him to investigate Hyde. From the exposition of the novella, Utterson's positive attributes of loyalty are foreshadowed, as he is "inclined to help rather than reprove" and is "the last good influence in the lives of down going men", suggesting that Utterson will stand by his friends even if they are social outcasts or criminals. As a result, we view him as a reliable character. Utterson states that he is "uneasy about poor Jekyll" who appears to be manipulated by Hyde and must "rise and do its bidding", illustrating a tone of jealousy as Utterson wants the best for his friend who holds a "sincere and warm affection" for him in turn. Though Utterson eventually realises that Jekyll is involved in the murder of Carew, Utterson keeps this from the police to protect his friend and uphold his reputation as a Victorian gentleman. Stevenson may be criticising loyalty to friends, suggesting that good intentions may cause corruption and disrupt society.
Similarly, Poole's loyalty to Jekyll results in him pleading for Utterson's help. Pool believes that there has been "foul play" for Jekyll who has "shut himself in the cabinet". Despite the difference in class, Poole is still faithful to Jekyll and views him with high regard. Perhaps Stevenson intends to illustrate the positive attributes of friendship which results in the attempts of Poole and Utterson to save their friend.
However, Stevenson also illustrates problematic friendships, such as that of Enfield and Utterson. It is suggested that Utterson and Enfield do not enjoy their Sunday walks together, as "it was a nut to crack for many, what these two saw in each other". Their differing opinions in curiosity when "the more it looks like Queer street, the less I ask" also suggest that the pair have little in common. Similarly, this is seen in the relationship between Jekyll and Lanyon. Their estranged relationship is clearly depicted when Lanyon deems Jekyll's work "unscientific balderdash" which would have "estranged Damon and Pythias". Perhaps Stevenson intends to show that friendship is a precious commodity which could have prevented the downfalls of Lanyon and Jekyll, who realises he preferred being "surrounded by friends" as friendship gives life meaning.