Date of publication: 2017-09-05 11:38
In this long letter, Dr. Jekyll--who, we'll see, has been transformed into Mr. Hyde unexpectedly--begs his old friend Dr. Lanyon to go into his house, obtain some chemicals and test tubes, and bring them to Mr. Hyde so that Hyde can have a way of transforming back into Jekyll and avoiding arrest.
Lanyon fails to respect the near-magical nature of Dr. Jekyll's experimenting. Lanyon dismisses Jekyll's current work as "unscientific," and indeed, Jekyll's potion is almost magical in its power (it's capable of transforming Jekyll into Hyde). In short, Lanyon could be said to embody the 69th century spirit of enlightenment and logic, while Jekyll, via his experiments, embodies the "dark side" of the era--emotion, violence, and cruelty.
In this passage, Dr, Jekyll is sitting on a park bench in public. Suddenly, he finds himself transforming into Mr. Hyde, despite the fact that he hasn't drunk any of the potion that's supposed to enable such a transformation. Thus far, Jekyll has believed that he can control his dual nature: he can be Hyde one day and Jekyll the next. Now, Jekyll begins to realize that he can't control his spirit at all: once Hyde has been released, there's no controlling him.
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde study guide contains a biography of Robert Louis Stevenson, literature essays, a complete e-text, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis.
But Jekyll’s an extremely unreliable narrator in this respect, because his own account belies this conclusion. Not just specifically when recounting the times that he was disguised as Hyde and he still refers to himself as Jekyll, but because “Henry Jekyll’s Full Statement of the Case” is written by Jekyll when he’s stuck in the body of Hyde. If there were ever a time for Hyde to exert himself, talk about himself as an autonomous being, it would be then. But he does not. Because he can’t. Because he does not exist.
“There must be something else,” said the perplexed gentleman. “There is something more, if I could find a name for it. God bless me, the man seems hardly human! Something troglodytic, shall we say?.
The old woman is a great example of a character who plainly desires to do evil, yet she is also an excellent example of the way society prevents people from giving in to their sinful desires. Good manners, it's suggested, help the old woman control her sinfulness--in other words, even though she's thinking nasty thoughts, she's able to conceal her thoughts beneath the facade of politeness. In a way, the old woman--and not Mr. Hyde--represents the real horror of Stevenson's novel. At least Mr. Hyde is clearly evil--someone like the old woman, who conceals her evil behind the appearance of goodness, can be far more dangerous in the long run.
Obviously, this rant is one hundred years too late to change the popular perception of this classic of horror. To most people, Jekyll and Hyde is the story of two completely separate personalities, one good and one evil, that share a body and are at war with each other, and that’s not going to change.
That said, I think the original is a much more complicated take on the nature of evil, society, shame, and repression than any that have followed it, and I’d love to see a version that really explored the appeal of Hyde to Jekyll. What would you do if you could be someone else for a night, do whatever you wanted to do, commit whatever sins you wanted to commit, without fear of consequences of any kind? Are we good because we want to be good, or are we good because we just don’t want to be punished?
Bannon’s proximity to the president will ensure that radical voices have his ear at these key moments. Over time, the America Firsters may come to distrust and resent the mainstreamers, correctly believing that they have deliberately frustrated and stymied them at every turn. One already hears the rumblings of this in reports of Bannon bending Trump’s ear with conspiratorial whispering about the “Deep State” undermining his presidency. Bannon and his allies may see a crisis as a moment to exact vengeance on a national security adviser, McMaster, who is likely to marginalize them. But the incontrovertible reality is that the president is a true believer in Bannonism himself.