The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

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In the first part of the novel, Dr. Jekyll is in control of Mr. Hyde. However, Mr. Hyde gains control of Dr. Jekyll by the end. How does this reversal come about?

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Felicita Burton eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Dr. Jekyll's transformation has a chemical aspect, in that he develops and drinks a potion that removes his moral inhibitions. However, the reader cannot be sure if it is the potion itself, or simply Jekyll’s belief in its effectiveness, that actually causes the change. It may be Jekyll’s desire to reduce his inhibitions that initiates his ultimate transmogrification into his evil alter ego. As he indulges in his formerly suppressed desire to commit evil deeds, the desire grows increasingly strong; ambition fuels the evil within him. The turning point comes when he commits a murder; after that, there is no returning to his pure, uncorrupted state. Jekyll realizes that “the balance of my soul” has been destroyed. Even though he returns to some of his virtuous pastimes, such as charitable works, he is insincere, so the mere performance of those actions has no positive effect: he is already lost.

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D. Reynolds eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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As the divide between Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde widens, Mr. Hyde increasingly takes...

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