I had heard much about the book Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Lewis Steveson, so when I purchased it, I thought I was fairly certain on what I was getting into. It was published in 1886, so I was expecting older language, which is what I got, but I was also expecting a fairly straightforward story. I did not expect such a dark plot line to emerge, but that fact made the story even more fascinating.
The story is told from the perspective of Gabriel Utterson, a lawyer and dear friend to Dr. Jekyll. Mr. Utterson also openly despises the character Mr. Hyde whom Dr. Jekyll seems to have close relations with. Mr. Utterson makes it very clear that he does not approve of Dr. Jekyll associating so closely with Mr. Hyde, but as the story unfolds with a series of dark twists it is made clearer to Mr. Utterson why their relationship is so close.
The reader takes the perspective of Mr. Utterson, so as he discovers the truth behind the relationship of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the reader is also discovering with him. This allows the reader to make their own guesses as to what the uncovered clues mean. I’ve described it as a sort of mystery story, which it is in a way, but the story also focuses on human nature. Dr. Hyde states in a l letter that “when I reached the years of reflection, and began to look round me, and take stock of my progress and position in the world, I stood already committed to a profound duplicity of life. (p. 40)” It causes the reader to think about their own position in life and how they either foster or restrain the sort of monster within them.
While being a short story, it makes a number of large profound statements. While the language makes it hard to follow sometimes, the author makes it fairly clear what he is inferring about the nature of man.