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How does Stevenson explore the character of Utterson in Jekyll and Hyde.
Throughout, the novel ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ Stevenson imbodies Utterson in order to expose the minacious secrets of Jekyll, and to exhibit the Victorian society. Utterson gradually unveils the deep and ghastly desires of the Victorian society and highlights their flaws and detrimental bond with religion.
In chapter 2, Stevenson introduces the theme of science vs religion through the use of Utterson. Utterson’s competent urge to unravel Jekyll’s diabolical actions in order to save his friend, goes to expose Jekyll’s epitome of despair when it comes to religion as Dr Lanyon portrays Jekyll’s beliefs as being “unscientific balderdash”. This depicts an allusion of Jekyll being a man of dishonour and satanism in the Victorian era, due to the potent beliefs that Victorians shared about God and Gods omnipotence and omnibenevolence. The Christian reader is evoked with a great sense of repulse due to Lanyon’s strong opinions on Jekyll and Utterson’s lack of closure towards Jekyll, as he was demonstrated as being religious due to his description of Hyde carrying “Satan’s signature”. The adjective “unscientific” could be a way for Stevenson to foreshadow the gradual gap, which is formed between Utterson and God, as Jekyll opens Utterson’s eyes on the flaws of God and how Victorians hide behind God just to carry their perfect image of a noble and honourable man or woman.
Conversely, Stevenson has perhaps employed Utterson to illustrate his lack of belief in religion and God. Utterson could be Stevenson and his gradual shift in religion, as Utterson begins as being a man of God and honesty but goes on to adopt the theme of hypocrisy. This undertone of Stevenson’s message continues as Jekyll felt a sense of respect and curiosity towards Hyde as he emphasised how “it would be a face worth seeing”. An absurd mood is evoked as even though Utterson highlights himself to the outside as being a man who wants no involvement with such immoral people, he still goes onto show Hyde a great extent of respect. This indicates that perhaps a part of him has the craving and urge that Hyde has and so he can relate and bond with him, similarly to every Victorian. Stevenson goes on to utilise dialogue creating a small interaction between Utterson and Hyde, as Utterson courteously asks “will you let me see your face?”. The verb “will” and noun “let” has been utilised by Stevenson to imply how attracted Utterson is to Hyde. To contradict, the Christian reader could portray a double meaning emphasising that the reason for Utterson’s respect and serenity towards Hyde, is to gradually become close to him in order to destroy him a seek vengeance.
Moreover, even though Utterson has many flaws which Stevenson tries to conceal, it is unarguable how loyal he is to his friends and the ones he adores. This is exposed by Stevenson in the chapter ‘the carews murder case’ which is when Utterson first begins to uncover Jekyll’s menacing secret, “is this Mr Hyde a man of small stature?”. Even though, Utterson knows that it is Hyde he still asks perhaps because he finds it too hard to believe. Stevenson has perhaps adopted the sibilance “small stature” to indicate the sinister presence of Hyde, and his destructive nature. Even after finding out about such a devastating truth and possibility, Utterson risks his reputation in order to save his friend. This could be because Utterson feels magnanimous respect towards Jekyll or perhaps Hyde because they are doing things which every Victorian craves but can’t in the possibility that their reputation will be wrecked.
To conclude, Stevenson has imbodied Utterson in order expose many lies which Jekyll and the Victorians tried to hide. The distance that Utterson gradual puts between him and Christianity also emphasises the gap that Stevenson has places as he is an atheist.