illustration of a face with two separate halves, one good and one evil, located above the fumes of a potion

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

by Robert Louis Stevenson
Start Free Trial

What is the Major Conflict in Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In Robert Louis Stevenson's The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hydethe major conflict is the duality of man.

All human beings wear masks. There are emotions and capabilities within each and everyone of us. As social beings, we follow societal expectations by suppressing all that is instinctive...

See
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

In Robert Louis Stevenson's The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde the major conflict is the duality of man.

All human beings wear masks. There are emotions and capabilities within each and everyone of us. As social beings, we follow societal expectations by suppressing all that is instinctive and considered too innate. In front of others, we socially learn what is admitted or not accepted as propriety and we act accordingly.

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde deals with the duality of our nature. Our main character suppresses certain behaviors only to set them lose with Mr. Hyde for the sake of experiencing in grandiosity all the sensations that he denies himself when he acts according to the gentleman's rules. Would it not be easier to live in a society that does not pass judgement upon the actions of others, or upon the uniqueness of some individuals? That may sound like a question with an easy answer, but Stevenson's times were times of extreme social scrutiny, hypocrisy, and elitist snobbery.

Hence, the ultimate message that Stevenson sends through The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is that all people, rich or poor, have the same capability of lowering themselves to the depth of depravity for the sake of feeling liberated.

 

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team