College Papers

The term “To be a Jekyll or a Hyde”

The term “To be a Jekyll or a Hyde”, meaning a person marked by dual personality, one aspect of which is good and the other bad, originates from this nineteenth century novel. The concept of good and evil is prevalent throughout the book and specifically targets how each of the two are treated.
The curiousness Dr. Henry Jekyll experienced towards the duality of people, encouraged him to create a potion which allowed a person to be able to drink it, and morph into the evil side of themselves. It would not only change one’s physical appearance, but also their mentality and their behavioural ways. This potion would allow the world to see the good and evil in one another, and especially in themselves. As the potion is being created and tested on Jekyll, he successfully creates the alternate “evil” version of himself, Mr. Edward Hyde. Hyde becomes a feared character in the book as he “must be deformed somewhere”*(10) because his physical appearance is described as “something displeasing”*(10). To the Lawyer’s disbelief, Hyde is suspiciously never seen with Jekyll, despite Jekyll referring to him as “his friend and benefactor Edward Hyde”*(12).
As Hyde is representing all the evil Jekyll sees in himself, he is described to be much smaller than Jekyll is as “He was dressed in clothes far too large for him”*(58). Ultimately, this implies that the evil in Jekyll only began to be present in the later years of his life, however, as the novel continues, Hyde develops more power which leads to Jekyll taking his own life, alluding to the idea that the evil in himself gradually destroyed the good.
As the book progresses, it is evident to the reader that “he was slowly losing hold of his original and better self and becoming slowly incorporated with his second and worse”*(84). When Jekyll loses who he originally was in the beginning, the end reveals that the potion is no longer required to transform Jekyll into Hyde as it now occurs when Hyde commands it to.
This book displays how if one hides away the “evil” characteristics of themselves in an attempt to be more “good”, it may end in the development of a “Mr. Hyde” like aspect in their personality.