Questions From Reading “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” by Robert Louis Stevenson

1)Dr. Jekyll said of his quest and experiments towards distilling the good from the bad more completely in himself: 

“I saw that, of the two natures that contended in the field of my consciousness, even if I could rightly be said to be either, it was only because I was radically both; and from an early date, even before the course of my scientific discoveries had begun to suggest the most naked possibility of such a miracle, I had learned to dwell with pleasure, as a beloved daydream, on the thought of the separation of these elements. If each, I told myself, could be housed in separate identities, life would be relieved of all that was unbearable; the unjust might go his way, delivered from the aspirations and remorse of his more upright twin; and the just could walk steadfastly and securely on his upward path, doing the good things in which he found his pleasure, and no longer exposed to disgrace and penitence by the hands of this extraneous evil. It was the curse of mankind that these incongruous fagots were thus bound together — that in the agonized womb of consciousness, these polar twins should be continuously struggling. How, then, were they dissociated?” 

While the purely evil, less than full stature side of Dr. Jekyll manifested itself incarnate as Mr. Hyde, a purely good, more than full stature side never manifested itself. Nor could Dr. Jekyll himself, despite his vain illusions to the contrary be as fully divorced from the evil as the Mr. Hyde manifestation of himself was from the good. Why was this the case? As Mr. Hyde he was fully unrestrained and “plunged in shame” yet free of remorse. In contrast as Dr. Jekyll, while he labored to better the world and serve others kindly he still had to restrain and conceal his darker side. Did the better half of him struggle under the dichotomous propensity to both assume responsibility for and yet harbor and safeguard the evil within himself? Can a shadow define a space solely dark while light cannot exclude regions of night? What role did his conscience play in this whole affair?

2)The powders that Dr. Jekyll originally procured from a chemical supply company differed from the later supplies which didn’t have the same effects to Dr. Jekyll’s dismay.  There was almost something otherworldly,different and potent  about the original supply and its effects.  The original potent powders had both good and evil effects: on the one hand bringing the Mr. Hyde out of Dr. Jekyll for evil, and on the other restoring Mr. Hyde to the restraints of Dr. Jekyll’s conscience.  Could these powders symbolize the worldly and otherworldly struggle between good and evil (e.g. god and satan for religious persons) that men can’t fully comprehend?  What else might they have represented (e.g. the diminishing power of repentance to a soul that returns to the same sins again and again like a dog returning to his vomit (Bible, New Testament: 2 Peter 2:13-22))?

Other sources of questions:
Note: one of these sources asks who narrates the story and gives the answer as Utterson, the lawyer.  However in rereading some of the book I didn’t notice Utterson as speaking in the first person, although the story seems to be mostly framed from his perspective.  So is this source then inferring that Robert Louis Stevenson wrote the story as if Utterson was narrating his own story in the third person?


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