Characters Discussed (Cyclopedia of Literary Characters, Revised Third Edition)
Dr. Henry Jekyll
Dr. Henry Jekyll, a well-known London physician who was born into a wealthy family. He is a large man, fifty years old, with a smooth face with something of a sly cast to it. His primary personality characteristic is that although he appears grave and serious in public, he has always felt an inner gaiety that he conceals. Although he does not characterize himself as a hypocrite, he calls himself a double-dealer, insisting that both sides of his dual self are in earnest. Jekyll says that he is no more himself when he labors in the light of day at the furtherance of knowledge and the relief of suffering than he is at night when he lays aside restraint and plunges into what he calls shameful behavior. Realizing that, like himself, all human beings are dual in nature, he seeks a chemical method of separating these dual personalities in order to allow one side to seek pleasure without guilt and the other side to remain steadfast and not be tempted by the pleasure-seeking half. He discovers that once the two personalities are separated, the pleasure-seeking side dominates and the socially responsible side cannot control it. In Freudian psychoanalysis, Dr. Jekyll is the superego, that part of the human personality that represents social order.
Edward Hyde, Dr. Jekyll’s evil side. Richard Enfield says there is something wrong with his appearance, something detestable that is hard to explain. Although Hyde gives a strong feeling of...
(The entire section is 618 words.)
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