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The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

by Robert Louis Stevenson

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Why is Dr. Jekyll’s will disturbing to Mr. Utterson in "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde"?

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Mr. Utterson is quite bothered by Dr. Jekyll's will as a result, as explained in the following section:

in case of the decease of Henry Jekyll, . . . all his possessions were to pass into the hands of his "friend and benefactor Edward Hyde," but that in case of Dr. Jekyll's "disappearance or unexplained absence for any period exceeding three calendar months," the said Edward Hyde should step into the said Henry Jekyll's shoes without further delay . . . .

In other words, if Jekyll dies or mysteriously disappears for longer than three months, it is provided that Mr. Hyde will receive all of his property and goods and can assume any and all of his possessions immediately and without question. Most people try to plan for their death, as death is inevitable, but most people do not make provisions in case they just happen to mysteriously disappear; it is quite a strange line. Further, Utterson does not know Hyde, and he finds it strange that Jekyll would leave all to this man (about whom he has recently heard terrible things from Mr. Enfield). This document "offended him both as a lawyer and as a lover of the sane and customary sides of life, to whom the fanciful was the immodest." He now fears that Hyde is a fiend and has, perhaps, coerced Jekyll into making such provisions. He resolves to go and see a mutual friend of his and Jekyll's, a Dr. Lanyon, in order to see if he can shed any light on the situation.

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