In The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, by Stevenson, what evidence would support the statement that Mr. Hyde is a monster?  And is there a counter example that shows or demonstrates that...

In The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, by Stevenson, what evidence would support the statement that Mr. Hyde is a monster?  And is there a counter example that shows or demonstrates that Hyde is not a monster?

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booboosmoosh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There seems to be more evidence to convince the reader that in Stevenson's The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Hyde is a monster, though in Jekyll's mind there is some compassion for Hyde, but not because of positive actions on Hyde's part. It seems to rest more on Jekyll's sympathy for Hyde's enforced imprisonment, and inability to ever have his own life.

The case against Mr. Hyde is a strong one. We know that he is a murderer. In Chapter Four, a maid from her window, recognizes Hyde and witnesses his murder of another man:

He had in his hand a heavy cane, with which he was trifling...And then all of a sudden he broke out in a great flame of anger, stamping with his foot, brandishing the cane, and carrying a madman. The old gentleman took a step back with the air of one very much surprised and a trifle hurt; and at that Mr. Hyde broke out of all bounds and clubbed him to the earth. And next moment, with ape-like fury, he was trampling his victim under foot and hailing down a storm of blows, under which the bones were audibly shattered and the body jumped upon the roadway.

Hyde's behavior, unprovoked, proves him to be a dangerous "entity" without any self-control. When Jekyll reveals that Hyde is his alter-ego—brought on my Jekyll's experiments—the doctor notes...

...[Hyde's] every act and thought centered on self; drinking pleasure with bestial avidity from one degree of torture to another; relentless like a man of stone.

A sense that Hyde's evil is not his fault is seen as Jekyll describes his own feelings paralleled with his perceptions of his "other self:"

I began to be tortured with throes and longings, as of Hyde struggling after freedom...

With the understanding that Hyde is Jekyll's alter-ego, I am reminded of another creature created and loathed by his creator: the monster Victor Frankenstein creates in Mary Shelley's novel entitled, Frankenstein. In that story—as in this one—we begin to understand the story from a perspective other than that of the creator—the monster never asked to be created and simply wanted to find happiness in life. Hyde's circumstances of his creation are similar; in this case, however, he is allowed no freedom at all.

My devil had been long caged, he came out roaring.

Regardless of how different Hyde and Jekyll are, both have a desire to have a chance to live and to experience personal freedom.

Jekyll hates the "Hyde" side of himself, but Hyde hates his lack of freedom—how his very existence rests in Jekyll's hands. He is held captive at Jekyll's every whim—even Jekyll sympathizes with Hyde and his circumstances:

...[Hyde] resented the dislike with which he was himself regarded. ...and indeed, had it not been for his fear of death, he would long ago have ruined himself in order to involve me in the ruin. But his love of life is wonderful; I go further...when I know how he fears my power to cut him off by suicide, I find it in my heart to pity him.

Jekyll recognizes the suffering Hyde must deal with, as Jekyll must also suffer:

Half an hour from now...I shall again and forever reindue that hated personality...Will Hyde die upon the scaffold? or will he find courage to release himself at the last moment?

Hyde is a monster—he is the uncivilized side of Jekyll's ego. Never asking for life, he seems less monstrous and more victimized. However, it is impossible (for me) to see Hyde as anything but an anathema based on society's rules of civilized behavior.

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