Dr. Henry Jekyll
Dr. Henry Jekyll, a well-known London physician who was born into a wealthy family. He is a large man, fifty years old, with a smooth face with something of a sly cast to it. His primary personality characteristic is that although he appears grave and serious in public, he has always felt an inner gaiety that he conceals. Although he does not characterize himself as a hypocrite, he calls himself a double-dealer, insisting that both sides of his dual self are in earnest. Jekyll says that he is no more himself when he labors in the light of day at the furtherance of knowledge and the relief of suffering than he is at night when he lays aside restraint and plunges into what he calls shameful behavior. Realizing that, like himself, all human beings are dual in nature, he seeks a chemical method of separating these dual personalities in order to allow one side to seek pleasure without guilt and the other side to remain steadfast and not be tempted by the pleasure-seeking half. He discovers that once the two personalities are separated, the pleasure-seeking side dominates and the socially responsible side cannot control it. In Freudian psychoanalysis, Dr. Jekyll is the superego, that part of the human personality that represents social order.
Edward Hyde, Dr. Jekyll’s evil side. Richard Enfield says there is something wrong with his appearance, something detestable that is hard to explain. Although Hyde gives a strong feeling of deformity, no one can specify the point of deformity. Although characters describing Hyde say that they can see him in their mind’s eye, they cannot find the words to account for his appearance. Gabriel John Utterson describes him as pale and dwarfish, with a smile that is a “murderous mixture of timidity and boldness.” Utterson says there is something troglodytic about Hyde and that he seems hardly human. Whereas other human beings are commingled out of good and evil, Hyde is the one person in the world who is pure evil. Dr. Jekyll begins to turn into Hyde even without the chemical he has created; moreover, he finds it more difficult to return to being Dr. Jekyll again. In Freudian psychoanalysis, Hyde is the id force, the human drive that knows only “I want.”
Gabriel John Utterson
Gabriel John Utterson, a good friend of Dr. Jekyll, a lawyer with a rugged face that seldom smiles. He is a cold man of little sentiment. Although he is “lean, long, dusty, dreary,” he is somehow lovable. His central personality trait is a kind of sardonic tolerance for others; as he says, he is content to “let my brother go to the devil in his own way.”
Richard Enfield, a distant kinsman of Utterson and a well-known man about town. The two men often take walks together, but they are so unlike each other that no one can imagine what they have to talk about. Enfield is the first one to witness Hyde’s brutal behavior; on one of their walks, he tells Utterson about seeing Hyde knock a child down and trample her.
Sir Danvers Carew
Sir Danvers Carew, a well-known nobleman and client of Utterson who is killed brutally by Hyde.
Poole, Dr. Jekyll’s butler. He helps Utterson break down the door to discover Hyde’s body.
Dr. Hastie Lanyon
Dr. Hastie Lanyon, a well-known and highly respected physician and the oldest friend of Utterson and Dr. Jekyll. Having seen the transformation of Jekyll into Hyde, he is shocked beyond recovery and dies soon after.
Mr. Guest, Utterson’s head clerk, who notes the similarity between the handwriting of Dr. Jekyll and Hyde.
The principal character is Dr. Jekyll (Stevenson pronounced it JEE°kil), although Hyde could be seen as a separate and perhaps equally important character. A vital aspect of the story that dramatizations usually overlook (as well as the fact that there is very little sexual material in the text) is that Jekyll knows that he is unleashing the immoral element of his personality — he is not simply experimenting in...
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