In "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde", what type of friends did Mr. Utterson attract?

Expert Answers
parkerlee eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As Utterson was a lawyer, the people he rubbed elbows with were probably wealthy people in need of his services. Although a relatively mundane character with no real charisma of his own, he seemed to have the knack for appealing to marginal, eccentric people such as Dr. Jekyll (a stereotype of "the mad scientist" profile). His rather insipid personality mirrored a certain restraint associated with the values of his times:

Readers first get a glimpse of one of these ideologies, Evangelicalism, in the character of Dr. Jekyll's friend and attorney Gabriel John Utterson. Stevenson describes him as "dry, cold, scanty and embarrassed in discourse," and "dusty, dreary," and notes that his face was "never lighted by a smile." His friends and acquaintances "liked to sit a while in his unobtrusive company, practicing for solitude, sobering their minds in the man's rich silence after the expense and strain of gaiety." Utterson's repressed personality and his friends' appreciation of it provide a good example of the rigid patterns of conduct followed by many middle-class Victorians who were influenced by the tenets of utilitarianism.

Note that the neutrality of the character Utterson makes him an ideal narrator in that his own personality doesn't interfere with his observations of others, even though he shows true concern for his friend.

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question