Jekyll and Hyde

Robert Louis Stevenson’s dark novella tells of a scientist’s haunting search for the truth of human nature. People are ‘commingled out of good and evil,’ says Dr Jekyll. But his attempts to separate the two cause him to be consumed by a devilish, murderous alter-ego called Mr Hyde. The idea that pure darkness could lurk beneath the most civilised personality was particularly chilling for straight-laced Victorian readers.

Human nature

In his search to understand the depths of human psychology, Dr Jekyll comes to view humanity as having a dual nature, capable of both good and evil. Is this still how we see ourselves?

Evil

Mr Hyde is a manifestation of evil — but he is unleashed from within the morally upstanding Victorian citizen, Dr Jekyll. Over a century has passed, but the problem of evil still haunts modern society.

Murder

The novella features two acts of brutal violence: first, a small girl is trampled under Mr Hyde’s feet. Later, he beats the innocent Sir Danvers Carew to death in the middle of the street. Why do we remain fascinated by murder?

Science

Dr Jekyll’s ambitious, philosophical approach to science causes a rift between him and his rational friend, Dr Lanyon. Science continues to push boundaries — and to create some of the most complex ethical dilemmas.

London

The twisting metropolis of Britain’s capital has its own duality to contend with throughout the story: the lively centre of a wealthy empire by day, it transforms into a dangerous, nightmarish city at night.