The Strange Case Of Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde

After taking an elixir created in his laboratory, mild mannered Dr Jekyll is transformed into the cruel and despicable Mr Hyde.
Rated: PG
Category: Suspense
Image Credit: Matheus Augusto

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I’ve always been curious about this classic suspense. I knew well the strange relationship of the elderly Dr Jekyll and young Mr Hyde. With many sorts of intriguing story covers, I had expected plenty of "Incredible Hulk" moments in this classic.

What surprised me instead was that the story was told by Dr Jekyll’s esteem lawyer. I had expected to immerse myself as the doctor and his 'friend', Mr Hyde. Yes, was disappointed but kept going. It wasn't long before we meet Mr Hyde already attacking a child. Really, Mr Hyde! It surprised me further that he was actually quite intelligent. I had to stop all my Hulk references from then onward.

Reading classics can sometimes be tedious for me, coming from a non-English speaking background. I had to refer to the dictionary several times. And also sometimes classics aren't structured like today’s modern novel. People really talked differently back then. So even as this was only a novella of ten chapters, it took me a while to grasp the story. The suspense was eventually lost on me. Just as one could get lost in the thick fogs of London and unexpectedly meet Mr Hyde and get beaten to death.

It was interesting to learn about the theme of duality in the story. It exists in everyone - the good and evil in us. But no matter how liberated one might feel giving in to those dark desires, in the end, evil doesn’t win. Evil will always bring about cruel tragedy and such was the fate of Dr Jekyll.

In the end, Dr Jekyll tried to justify his reasons for creating Mr Hyde, and ultimately viewed in disgust by our lawyer. Yet I sympathized with the old bugger. All the doctor had wanted was to be free of society’s expectations and perhaps be who he truly was. But having to keep up with standards and piled them all up with envy, regret and guilt of not living his youth, he desired to re-create himself. And me, now maturing into my years, I connected well with Dr Jekyll then. But to poison myself to be young again? Never.

Classics difficult as they are, I did enjoy its description of the London streets, allowing me to traverse along with the lawyer as he investigated the strange Mr. Hyde and the reclusive behaviour of the once sociable Dr Jekyll. However, being only a novella, the plot and characters weren’t well developed. But perhaps this was done deliberately to allow space for the readers' imagination to grow. For me, I did wonder about Mr Hyde and his terrible mishaps. Strangely, those scenes actually unfold themselves in my mind.

Perhaps that’s why this classic remains infamous to this day. The author laid out the basics and now it's up to you to imagine the rest of the story, based on your own Mr Hyde!

What do you think? Did you expect a Bruce Banner vs Hulk kinda story just as I did?

From Book Depository
By (author) Robert Louis Stevenson
Format Paperback | 128 pages
Collins Classics English

'All human beings, as we meet them, are commingled out of good and evil.'

After taking an elixir created in his laboratory, mild mannered Dr Jekyll is transformed into the cruel and despicable Mr Hyde. Although seemingly harmless at first, things soon descend into chaos and Jekyll quickly realises there is only one way to stop Hyde. Stevenson's quintessential novella of the Victorian era epitomizes the conflict between psychology, science and religious morality, but is fundamentally a triumphant study of the duality of human nature.

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