Stevenson’s use of contrast heightens the tension in the already mysterious tale of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Unsure of their relationship, Utterson seeks to ask Jekyll about it out of friendly concern. Chapter three highlights the distinctions between the luxurious and warm setting of the doctor’s dinner party—"one of his pleasant dinners to some five or six old cronies, all intelligent, reputable men and all judges of good wine"—when Utterson, as the last remaining guest, sits by a cozy fire with his comrade. This is contrasted with the chill that comes with Hyde as a conversation topic, in which Jekyll’s face becomes pale and his eyes dark. Tension is increased with Jekyll’s request that Utterson care for Hyde in the event of his absence—a mysterious request which affects the lawyer’s scruples.
Contrast between the expected state of Hyde’s living arrangements and their reality bring more mystery to the tale. Following Carew’s murder, Utterson arrives at Hyde’s residence “the dismal quarter of Soho” to find the expected, dingy exterior, complete with a surly landlady to let them in the door. The interior, though it is clear its owner has run through it in a hurry, is unexpectedly lovely:
Mr. Hyde had only used a couple of rooms; but these were furnished with luxury and good taste. A closet was filled with wine; the plate was of silver, the napery elegant; a good picture hung upon the walls, a gift (as Utterson supposed) from Henry Jekyll, who was much of a connoisseur; and the carpets were of many plies and agreeable in colour.
The surprising contrast between Utterson’s expectations for the apartment and their true interior only serves to confuse the lawyer further and heighten the mystery of the full extent of the relationship between the two men—one now a murderer, and the other a well-known and amiable doctor.