How does Stevenson paint a clear picture of Edward Hyde in “The Strange Case Of Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde?”explain the morality

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Jamie Wheeler eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Stevenson paints a clear picture of Edward Hyde for the reader by tapping into the baser parts of our human nature.   We recognize him as real for he is us.  (This notion is akin to the assertion Gustave Flaubert made of his own hopelessly flawed character Madame Bovary:  "Madame Bovary, c'est moi!")

Vladmir Nabokov, in his lecture on Stevenson's novella, addresses the character composite of Hyde:

Is Jekyll good?  No, he is a composite being, a mixture of good and bad, a preparation consisting of a ninety-nine percent solution of Jekyullite and one percent of Hyde -- thus, in a sense, Mr. Hyde is Dr. Jekyll's parasite... It follows that Jekyll's transformation implies a concentration of evil that already inhabited him rather than a complete metamorphosis.  Jekyll is not pure good, and Hyde (Jekyll's statement to the contrary) is not pure evil.

The warning Stevenson issues through the character of Hyde is that we must understand the duality of our moral and immoral selves.  When Jekyll proclaims, "I will tell you one thing:  the moment I choose, I can be rid of Mr. Hyde," he does himself a great disservice.  Denial, rather than embrace and control, dooms both Jekyll and Hyde, and anyone else who denies their conflicting nature.

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