The law and the unknown

Utterson, the lawyer, represents the standards of society and the law. Like Lanyon he does not have the imagination to understand what Jekyll is up to.

Even though they are old friends, Jekyll cannot confide in Utterson as he knows that Utterson would not understand. This is also why Utterson jumps to the wrong conclusions about Jekyll's situation.

Utterson's profession as a lawyer also causes him to be suspicious of the situation and he constantly suspects that Jekyll is being blackmailed or that there is some other criminal purpose at play. What is happening to Jekyll is so new and different that Utterson cannot spot it until the very end. This highlights how the law can only deal with known problems, not new ones.

The ultimate failure of Utterson (and therefore the law) is built into the structure of the novel.

At the end of Chapter 8, Utterson promises Jekyll's servant Poole: "I shall be back at midnight, when we shall send for the Police." But neither he nor the Police are heard from again. Their silence is like the death of Lanyon; they have no power to deal with the unexplained events that Jekyll has unleashed.

"I shall say nothing until I have seen the body".Utterson is serious and professional in matters of law. This does not help him ultimately.
"and perhaps you could help us to the man".The Police seek Utterson's help to find Carew's murderer. Jekyll withholds the information that he knew Hyde to protect his friend Jekyll.
"I shall be back before midnight, when we shall send for the police".We do not hear from Utterson or the Police again in the novel showing the reader that neither branch of the law is able to deal with the situation effectively.

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