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

Student Question

Why is Dr. Lanyon estranged from Dr. Jekyll and what does this reveal about Lanyon?

Quick answer:

Lanyon's estrangement from Jekyll shows that he is a pretty conventional, and even conservative, kind of guy.

Expert Answers

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

Dr. Jekyll and Dr. Lanyon were once friends, but this is no longer the case during the course of the novel. The reason this is so is because Lanyon does not approve of Jekyll's scientific endeavors. He feels Jekyll is probing into a dark, even perverse, territory that goes beyond mere natural science. Jekyll's interest in the nature of good and evil within the individual are too metaphysical for Lanyon's tastes.

So what does this indicate about Lanyon? It shows he's pretty traditional when it comes to his idea of the purpose of science. He thinks scientific research should stick to what can be experienced through the normal senses.

So, if Lanyon represents traditional, conventional science, then his estrangement from Jekyll becomes something more than a lost friendship. His death of shock after Jekyll transforms into Hyde before his eyes also suggests that polite society cannot handle the greater implications of Jekyll's unconventional research project: that deep down, we are all capable of great evil that cannot be explained away by reason and logic.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial