Compare and contrast Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde from The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde are alike in being the same person split into two parts, but the similarities end there. Dr. Jekyll's tall and kindly outer appearance reflects his overall moral goodness, though something "sly" in his looks suggests he is hiding a secret. In contrast, Mr. Hyde is dwarfish and deformed, reflecting his evil character. Today, we would probably find it offensive to associate such physical stereotypes with moral evil or goodness.

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Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde are the same person broken into two men: Dr. Jekyll represents the socialized, restrained, morally informed ego and superego, while Mr. Hyde represents the primitive, atavistic desires let loose without ethical restraint.

Form follows function in this novel, and the appearance of the two men reflects the moral character of each figure. Mr. Hyde is degraded by his barbarous impulses; this is reflected in the way he becomes physically smaller than his counterpart. Mr. Utterson, "perplexed" as he thinks about Mr. Hyde, describes him as "dwarfish" and deformed looking. His appearance is unhealthy. He is pale with an unpleasant smile. He is both cringing and aggressive. Utterson thinks:

God bless me, the man seems hardly human! Something troglodytic, shall we say?

Dr. Jekyll, in contrast, is a tall, expansive, and kindly looking man, the kind of gentleman who fits into his society easily. Utterson sees in him "something of a slyish cast perhaps," suggesting that Harry Jekyll has secrets, but overall he appears as a solid and respectable member of his social class, fully human. He can socialize and have drinks with his friends in a way Hyde never could.

Today, we might critique having outward appearance so closely aligned with inward moral worth, rejecting the idea that being small or seeming deformed might be the manifestation of inner evilor conversely, that being tall and large connotes moral goodness.

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The narrator describes Dr. Jekyll as

a large, well-made, smooth-faced man of fifty, with something of a stylish cast perhaps, but every mark of capacity and kindness—you could see by his looks that he cherished for Mr. Utterson a sincere and warm affection.

In contrast, Mr. Enfield tells Mr. Utterson that he "had taken a loathing" to Mr. Hyde on his very first sight of the man:

But the doctor’s case was what struck me. He was the usual cut and dry apothecary, of no particular age and colour, with a strong Edinburgh accent and about as emotional as a bagpipe. Well, sir, he was like the rest of us; every time he looked at my prisoner, I saw that Sawbones turn sick and white with desire to kill him. I knew what was in his mind, just as he knew what was in mine . . .

Even more than that, Enfield describes Hyde as possessing a "black sneering coolness" and "carrying it off, sir, really like Satan." While Jekyll is kind, handsome, and warm, Hyde is cruel, odious, and unfeeling. Jekyll enjoys people and their company, especially the company of people he cares for (like Utterson), but Hyde seems to care for nothing and no one but himself. In fact, he is so hateful that he inspires the doctor—a man who has taken an oath to do no harm—to seem to want to murder him.

Further, after Utterson meets Hyde himself, the narrator describes Hyde as

pale and dwarfish, he gave an impression of deformity without any nameable malformation, he had a displeasing smile, he had borne himself to the lawyer with a sort of murderous mixture of timidity and boldness, and he spoke with a husky, whispering and somewhat broken voice; all these were points against him, but not all of these together could explain the hitherto unknown disgust, loathing and fear with which Mr. Utterson regarded him.

Jekyll, of course, is described as being rather tall and handsome. Hyde seems cramped and deformed, by contrast. He seems incredibly unnatural, which, of course, he is, and this sense of his unnaturalness seems to impact everyone who meets him. Human beings are by nature, in this text, comprised of both good and bad parts—capable of being both kind and wicked—and yet this person is only bad and wicked. People seem to sense this right away.

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Dr. Henry Jekyll is a man with a deeply divided sense of his private self and public self. In his public persona, he is a benefactor, a doctor, a long-time and good friend, and a scholar. In his private persona he yearns for more liberty (defined as freedom from restraint, control, obligation, interference or restriction) to indulge in activities that would bring him reprimands or even public disgrace if his actions were to be known.

Utterson describes him as being about fifty years old; a large, tall man without facial hair ("smooth-faced"). He also says Jekyll is devoted to charities and to his religion.
Mr. Hyde is an individual with only one part to his nature: He is only self-serving and destructive, although there is a contradicting duality consisting of self-serving brutality coupled with self-serving fear. He has unwarranted anger. He is callous and indifferent to such an extent as to be violent in his loathing of the existence of others.

He has no conscience, so he can harm and murder without a pang of feeling or a flash of restraint. He is also imbued with fear of retribution because he fears being executed for the murder he committed so earnestly that he becomes as a weeping child. [This might present a bit of an inexplicable paradox between being brazenly brutal and yet tremblingly fearful if Stevenson had not introduced the duality of viciousness and fear in the incident with the little girl in the street.]

Those who have seen Hyde assert that they feel a deformity to his person or nature though they can't define a physical cause for it. Hyde inspires a raging feeling in people who have to deal with him for any reason. It's a point of debate as to whether Stevenson is suggesting by this reaction that a Hyde-like duality lurks just below the surface of everyone's character or whether he is suggesting that Hyde's inhumanity inspires humanely protective rage in those who possess humanity. The incident with the little girl might suggest the latter (second) suggestion.

Hyde has gnarled hands. He is so small in stature that when the transformation occurs turning Jekyll into Hyde, the clothes on Jekyll's body overwhelm Hyde. His face is unlike Jekyll's in all respects. He walks and acts with a vigorous speed and energy. All in all, Hyde presents a repulsive sight and persona.

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