Monday, October 27, 2014

Review: "The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde" Classic a Month #10.2014

The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
2 out of 5 stars

This was another disappointing read for my classic horror month. I think I am just too familiar with these stories (Jekyll & Hyde, Frankenstein, Poe) from pop culture references. They don't surprise and shock me like they are supposed to. The biggest plus to this read was that it was a short story, only 92 pages on my Kindle. If you've never read it and don't know the story at all, then by all means, read it and you will probably enjoy it. Also, stop reading this review now, because there will be tons of spoilers. :)

The basic story, that man is not truly one, but truly two, is told thru different narratives and is more of a dry science report than a story of good and evil. Dr Jekyll is the "mad scientist" who tries to come up with a solution to his impatient gaiety of disposition. Basically, he wants to be able to do bad things and get away with it. He creates a formula that transforms himself into a hideous, pure evil creature, Mr Hyde. As Hyde, he goes and does as he pleases and as Jekyll, he is still the good, respectable doctor.

If each...could be housed in separate identities, life would be relieved of all that was unbearable; the unjust might go his way, delivered from the aspirations and remorse of his more upright twin; and the just could walk steadfastly and securely on his upward path, doing the good things in which he found his pleasure, and no longer exposed to disgrace and penitence by the hands of this extraneous evil.

Jekyll's friends, Utterson and Lanyon, have a few confrontations with the abominable Hyde and begin to question his relationship with Jekyll. They fear that their friend is being blackmailed for something, as Jekyll has made over his will to leave everything to Hyde. (In case he disappears.) Utterson, being Jekyll's lawyer, obviously seriously questions this but gets no answers from the doctor.

Time goes on and Hyde kills a man and goes into hiding. Jekyll strives to keep the evil under check and go about his normal life, but he soon begins to slip. "I was slowly losing hold of my original and better self, and becoming slowly incorporated with my second and worse." After Lanyon dies and leaves Utterson a strange account of his last visit with Jekyll and an even stranger account of meeting Hyde, Utterson determines to go to Jekyll's home and figure things out once and for all.

Utterson arrives at Jekyll's laboratory and only finds the twisted body of Mr Hyde and a thick letter addressed to him in Jekyll's handwriting. Jekyll gives the full account of all that has transpired and how he finally succumbed to Hyde. "My devil had been long caged, he came out roaring." Jekyll refuses to let Hyde carry on living though and kills himself/themselves. (Would that be a murder/suicide?)
(This is the best thing ever and 
you will have it in your head for days!)

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