The Strange Case of Dr

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde took place in Victorian era, when

upper-class people were expected to follow the strict codes of society in order to

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keep good public images. Jekyll and Hyde are good examples for showing how the

Victorian society determines a person’s quality based on its own codes. Through

Jekyll and Hyde, we are able to see the differences between a so-called properly

behaved Victorian gentleman and a man who is considered to be beast because his

behavior is against the Victorian social values.

The most obvious difference between Jekyll and Hyde is their appearances,

Jekyll is described to be tall and good- looking, with his face being shaved and clean”

a large, well-made, smooth faced man of fifty, something of a slyish cast perhaps, but

every mark of a capacity and kindness” (Stevenson, 1886, p. 1686). On contrary,

Hyde’s appearance is described to be short, deformed, horrifying and hairy,” there is

something wrong with his appearance, something displeasing, something downright

detestable.” (Stevenson, 1886, p.1680) Moreover, Hyde is even described to be more

like a beast than a human being” God bless me, the man seems hardly human”

(Stevenson, 1886, p.1685)

The key differences between Jekyll and Hyde is the attitude toward facing the

hypocrisy of Victorian society. Jekyll is a typical Victorian gentleman, he represents

the public self, who always repress his inner desire and follows the strict rules of

Victorian society so as to keep his honorable images. On the other hand, Hyde is

completely the opposite, he represents the private self of Dr. Jekyll, who is careless

about the codes and his own public images, he is also anti- social, who always

behaves against the social values.” Through Hyde, the respectable Dr Jekyll is freed

from the restraints imposed by society” (Buzwell, 2014)

The other important difference between Jekyll and Hyde is their personality, Dr.

Jekyll possesses two selves, the good self and the lurking evil self. The good self of

him, Dr. Jekyll, is a charitable man, a doctor who devotes himself in healing and

helping others, while Hyde is brutal, he shows no sympathy for others, he tramples

an innocent girl and beat an old man to death. As Mr. Utterson describe Hyde to be”

O my poor old Henry Jekyll, if I ever read Satan’s signature on one’s face, it is on that

of your new friend.” (Stevenson, 1886, p.1685)

The other difference between Jekyll and Hyde is their social status, the author

implies it by providing them the different settings in the places they live and the

servants they hire. Although they live in the same place, their dwellings are depicted

in different ways and they actually leave from two separate doors. The place Jekyll

lives is described to have luxurious hall with warm fires and expensive furniture,

which “wore a great air of wealth and comfort” (Stevenson, 1886, p.1685), and

Jekyll’s servant, Poole is described to dress properly. While the place where Hyde

lives is described to be filthy, shabby, with clothes and ashes all over the floor, and

the servant of Hyde is an old woman with evil face.

In conclusion, Jekyll is a typical Victorian gentleman, an upper-class man who is

handsome, properly- behaved with good manners and kindness, a man who follows

the rules and represses himself to maintain good public images. Unlike Jekyll, Hyde is

a lower-class people, who is horrifying, brutal, beast- like, a man who shows no

interest in following any rules of society and beholds nothing but evilness.

By contrasting the differences between Jekyll and Hyde, we not only can see the

duality of human, but also the importance of being a properly- behaved people in the

Victorian society. Moreover, we are able to see how the great stress of living in a

hypocritic Victorian society forces people to find an escape through creating another

identity, which finally lead to self- destruction that turns a decent gentleman into a



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