Other than the Chapter 1 reference to Cain, what other biblical allusions are in The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde?

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Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Chapter 10 of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Hyde utters the Biblical allusion "...like the Babylonian finger on the wall, to be spelling out the letters of my judgment...." This is an allusion to The Book of Daniel (Chapter 5) in the Jewish Tanakh, also know as the Christian Old Testament, in which Belshazzar, King of Babylon, is warned of his imminent (rapidly upcoming) death and the victory of Persia over Babylon. Belshazzar was slain that very night.

Daniel 5 tells that Belshazzar was banqueting at a great feast when suddenly a hand appeared that wrote a mysterious message on the wall in an unknown language or code. In English, the message literally meant, "numbered, numbered, weighed, divided." Daniel, a Jewish exile living in captivity in Babylon, was sent for and interpreted the message sent to Belshazzar from the Jewish God. The words meant, "Thou art weighed in the balance and art found wanting."

When Jekyll spoke about this, it was in his letter to Dr. Lanyon, which was being read by Mr. Utterson after Lanyon's death and following Jekyll's disappearance. In the letter, Jekyll had just explained how the duality of personages, Jekyll and Hyde, had reached the crisis in which Jekyll went to sleep safe and secure in his own identity and awoke in the identity of Hyde--a spontaneous transformation without the inducement of the drug. Jekyll used the allusion to point out that he foresaw his impending utter doom. Stevenson used it as foreshadowing to foretell of Jekyll's ultimate death.

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