As critic Jenni Calder points out, by the time Stevenson wrote this novella,
The was deeply concerned with sending "a message about individual moral responsibility." Certainly, the author intended the tale to suggest the folly of toying with nature (as innumerable later works and motion pictures have done — and, especially as was to be done in Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray, five years later) and the grim consequences of doing so.
In the present day, when so much is known (and dramatized) about multiple personalities, the allegorical aspects of Dr. jekyll and Mr. Hyde are obvious. Stevenson believed in the likelihood that there exists in even the most virtuous of persons a dark side. When he wrote the first draft of the text and was soon persuaded by his wife to make it a more allegorical work, he quickly agreed — the result turned what could have been a slender piece of science fiction into a classic. Some readers have gone so far as to find allegorical, symbolic significances in the names: ]e=je in French; kyll could indicate kill (suggesting "I kill"); Hyde suggests concealment, as of one's identity. In any event, Stevenson was surely setting forth the notion that every person can be two persons. Freudian psychologists might well agree that the "dark" person is the one that people often encounter in their dreams.
The fact that the outline for the plot came to Stevenson in a dream is not only relevant but,...
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