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

Editor's Choice

In Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, what does the phrase "Pede Claudo" mean?

Quick answer:

The phrase "Pede Claudo" in "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" is an abbreviated version of the Latin phrase "pede poena claudo," which means "punishment comes limping." It is used in the context of the novel to suggest that no one, including Dr. Jekyll, can escape retribution, regardless of how long it takes to arrive.

Expert Answers

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

"Pede Claudo" is an abbreviated reference to the Latin phrase "pede poena claudo" which translates to "punishment comes limping." This can be attributed to Quintus Horatius Flaccus (or more simply, Horace), the Latin lyric poet and satirist who wrote under the reign of Augustus. 

This phrase arrives in chapter two of the novel, as Mr. Utterson walks home with "a very heavy heart" and considers what information Mr. Hyde must have in order to be able to blackmail Dr. Jekyll. Mr. Utterson comments that, "in the law of God, there is no statute of limitations." It, thus, must be some old disgrace or sin that Mr. Hyde is dragging up, resulting in the "punishment coming, PEDE CLAUDO." No one—not even Dr. Jekyll—may escape retribution, no matter how slow it may be to arrive.

Approved by eNotes Editorial
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

I believe it has more to do with the punishment coming. There is a latin expression "Pede poena claudo" which means that punishment comes limping.

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