Jekyll and Hyde

Jekyll and Hyde


The novel Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by R. Stevenson describes the dualism of human personality and a very serious case of psychopathic disease suffered by the main hero of the novel, Dr. Henry Jekyll. The novel starts with a strange murder in London and a number of strange issues in the life of Dr. Jekyll who bequeathed all his property to the unknown person Mr. Hyde, who he called his friend. All these events looked very strange for the good friend of Dr. Jekyll and his lawyer Mr. Gabriel Utterson. Understanding that all of these events have a very strange and mysterious character and that murders may have direct or indirect relationship to his client and friend Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Utterson was keeping all the investigated information in his mind and didn’t share it with anyone in order to find the truth first. The relations of the characters in the novel and the way of their behavior tell us much about the epoch of the nineteenth century: Victorian age, which was also characterized by the dualism of human personality and by hidden arrogance.
From this point the friendship of Utterson and Mr. Jekyll will look very strange by today standards but in Victorian England of the nineteenth century it was common practice. Neither Doctor Jekyll nor Gabriel Utterson shares their views frankly about the strange events, which took place in London. Utterson, even accusing Jekyll, nearly does nothing in order to help him and find out what is going on in his personality. From this point the friendship of these two persons looks typical for Victorian Epoch: reserved according to the ethics of noble society. Even the description of Gabriel Utterson outlines it: “Mr. Utterson the lawyer was a man of a rugged countenance, that was never lighted by a smile; cold, scanty and embarrassed in discourse; backward in sentiment; lean, long, dusty, dreary, and yet somehow lovable…”
In addition we find out that he suppressed his passions and desires, representing the superiority of reason over emotions: “He was austere with himself; drank gin when he was alone, to mortify a taste for vintages; and though he enjoyed the theater, had not crossed the doors of one for twenty years.”
That’s why we can conclude that the friendship of Utterson and Jekyll was based only on reason and common sense of two men from the aristocratic society; neither their talks nor their behavior was fully emotional and alive. But at the same time Utterson posses a very rare quality of devotedness and faithfulness to his friends, which was not in many respects typical for Victorian ethics of arrogance. Utterson remains in friendly terms with his friends whose reputation had suffered from some sorts of accidents or scandals. He remains faithful to his friendship with Dr. Jekyll despite a number of suspicions which live in his mind and which give him sufferings. Utterson suspects Dr. Jekyll in blackmailing activities and murder.
Utterson’s suspicions derive from the change in the behavior of Dr. Jekyll as he broke up with his other old friend Lanyon and now seeks solitude and loneliness, which cannot be understood by lawyer. As the scientific views of both Lanyon and Jekyll diverged, Jekyll decides to continue his experiments in full alienation from his close friends and people whom he knows and respects. He says Utterson that his behavior and decisions should not be discussed, but only understood and approved: “I have to go my own dark way” and the lawyer should not try to follow him. From this point lawyer Utterson, being a reserved and restrained person, appears to be a very generous and noble man, as he remains faithful to his friend and is able at least to be a good listener, which is often more important than any other kind of help. Jekyll also confesses to Utterson that he has to handle a terrible punishment which on not be imagined by anyone else, as it turned him into “a chief of sinners” because of his own guilt. As we can see later in the novel his guilt is explained in his arrogant ambitions to achieve superiority, neglecting simple morals and ethical rules. Mr. Utterson continues his investigation, as he understands there is something else than simple human madness, but his other friend Lanyon dies leaving him an envelope, which has the key to the mystery of Dr. Jekyll. Utterson cannot open envelope, as it has to be opened only after disappearance or death of Jekyll, from the other side he torments as Dr. Jekyll left the similar will, which has to be given to Mr. Hyde after his death. These two envelops even look very strange for Utterson, yet he makes his mind leave things as they are as he first of all has to keep the duty given to his friend. Such feature of faithfulness distinguishes Utterson from other characters; in addition it outlines his professionalism and tact of a good lawyer. We can assume that such qualities supplemented his reserved and restrained nature and otherwise he would be a different person, but nevertheless his deeds show that first of all Utterson was a man of honor.
Making a conclusion I would like to say that attitude to friends and actions of lawyer Utterson are worth admiration as he was able to keep the very secrets of hi close friends and was devoted to them till the last minute, despite scandals and other accidents which shacked their reputation.