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The Classics Companion

I have a (small) obsession with books and tv shows. Proud geek.

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde - Robert Louis Stevenson, Vladimir Nabokov, Dan Chaon

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was very different to what I expected. I guess I expected the length of the book to be about the internal struggle between good and evil. Instead, the majority of the book followed Mr Utterson, a friend of Dr Jekyll who strives to find out about the mysterious Mr Hyde. It wasn't until I reached the end of the short story that I really enjoyed it. Don't get me wrong, the whole story was wonderful, and definitely exceeded my expectations I just only really loved it when we reached the final letter from Dr Jekyll, detailing his descent into evil.

I've never read any Robert Louis Stevenson, and his writing style is excellent. It balances fines with fact, and you can tell every sentence and word is meant, not just placed there randomly. Although the start of the story disappointed me a little bit, only because it was not what I was expecting, the writing by far made up for it. 

I think Stevenson's exploration of good vs evil is fascinating, and I know many before me have highlighted on it. The question over whether evil is nature or nuture, is one that Stevenson almost sits on the bench for, or at least offers explanations for both sides. The evil half, Mr Hyde, only appeared out of the taking of the potion, which would suggest nuture. However, Jekyll frequently suggests, in his final letter, that Mr Hyde was part of him, the other half that he strived to open. Oddly, I have no strong belief either way when it comes to the breedings of evil, but reading Dr Jekyll's descent and fear of his other half has sparked me to question it. Even if someone is born evil, would they hate it? Would they be scared of part of themselves? Or would they not see themselves as evil?

To me, this short story opens many doors to questions that are perhaps too big for my puny little brain to answer. It does, however, open those doors a crack. While not a phenomenal book, it is one that I believe everyone should read. I'm sure all of you know the gist of the story, but the actual story is different, yet similar to what you believe you know.