How does Dr. Jekyll interpret his relationship with Hyde?

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William Delaney | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Dr. Jekyll does not repudiate his kinship with his alter ego Mr. Hyde. He seems to have a certain feeling of affection for this other individual because he recognizes him as a kindred spirit. This is not uncommon in human relations. A man who is honorable, civilized, public-spirited and law-abiding might be attracted to another man who is entirely different, who rejects conventional morality and lives to please himself. This kind of hedonistic, irresponsible man can lead an otherwise sober, industrious and trustworthy man astray, and even eventually lead that man to his utter ruin. The same thing can happen to women who are led astray by men or by other women.

In Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, the greedy, crafty, selfish, and miserly Cassius says to himself after his interview with the noble Brutus:

Well, Brutus, thou are noble; yet I see

Thy honorable mettle may be wrought

From that it is disposed. Therefore it is meet

That noble minds keep ever with their likes;

For who so firm that cannot be seduced. (I.3)

Dr. Jekyll may be naive, like Brutus, or schemeing, like Cassius. They are easy to victimize by inferior men. Both come to tragic ends.


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