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English Literature

Character

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Although we eventually discover that Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde are the same person, for most of the novel we are led to believe they are different characters, so we will discuss them separately.

Dr Henry Jekyll

  • Jekyll is a doctor and experimental scientist.
  • He is wealthy and respectable.
  • He has been a sociable person in the past, with a circle of friends including the lawyer, Utterson, and another doctor, Lanyon.
  • During the course of the novel his behaviour becomes increasingly erratic [erratic: Unpredictable, lacking in consistency or regularity. ].
  • His will states that if he disappears he leaves everything to Hyde. His oldest friend, Utterson, knows nothing of Hyde and urges Jekyll to change his will. He fears Hyde has a mysterious, perhaps criminal, hold over Jekyll, and that Hyde might murder him to benefit from the will.
  • In the last chapter we learn that Jekyll has been carrying out experiments to separate his personality (the 'evil' part embodied in Hyde) from his higher nature. Hyde eventually becomes more powerful and takes over.

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