The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson is a classic, I confess that I had never read before and upon seeing the mere 88 pages which this story is told upon; I thought I knew the story. Doesn’t everyone? Jekyll and Hyde are the same person and the result of some lab experiment.
Whilst this is true, I found out there was a lot more to this story. The book follows a lawyer – Mr Utterson as he slowly gets dragged into the affairs of his dear friend Doctor Jekyll via the appearance and behaviour of Mr Hyde. With growing concern for his dear friend Mr Utterson tries in vain to get Doctor Jekyll to open up about what is weighing on his mind. Unfortunately this is only met with answers of riddle proportions and the Doctor withdrawing more and more.
On the surface this book is a Victorian horror story with Hyde being a mixture of religious satanic fear, a circus freak and a night stalking murderer.
However – particularly in the last chapter – it is evident that it is about so much more. About scientific advances – and the fear of them, about drug use, the contrast between good and evil – and how one cannot exist without another. It’s about a man’s struggle with temptation, his conscience and curiosity.
For a mere 88 pages – there is a lot packed into it and I suspect one would have to read it more than once to pick up on all the themes coming through.
It took me a couple of pages to get used to the archaic language – not so much the words, but the sentence structure but it’s not overly different and it’s certainly not difficult to read once you’ve read a few pages.
It’s a quick but deep and enjoyable read. I definitely recommend it and I actually think it would make great material for a literacy essay – I certainly know I could write a lot about this book.