The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Posted on November 13, 2011 by Jack Kelly
Tags: readings

One of the things I enjoy most about voyaging is the amount of reading I can get done in the downtime. After finishing the Sherlock Holmes Omnibus, I decided to attack something smaller: Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

As I read, I was reminded of my experience reading Dracula: the case of Jekyll/Hyde is well known in pop culture, so I knew what was going on a lot earlier than any of the characters did. While writing this post, I just realised that it’s probably what inspired Dr. Bruce Banner/The Incredible Hulk as well. I feel a bit stupid for not noticing that sooner.

The story is a morality tale about the importance of self-restraint. The mental image I had of Mr. Hyde when I started reading was mainly based on the movie The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: a man who becomes a hulk-like monster by means of a potion. Stevenson’s original is a lot more subtle: Hyde is a man like any other, except that he gives off an impression of unwholesomeness despite having no obvious deformity.

The original story is surprisingly sad. I’d recommend reading this one: it’s short and there are subtleties in the original that have been lost in the popular image of the character.

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