Jekyll and Hyde
Robert Louis Stevenson’s dark novella tells of a scientist’s haunting search for the truth of human nature. People, says Dr Jekyll, are “commingled out of good and evil”. But his attempts to separate the two sides 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 Victorian readers.
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?
Violence is a thing of the past, says professor
In a major new book, Harvard professor Steven Pinker says that when it comes to violence, we've never had it so good. Is killing part of human nature?
Chimps are natural born killers study shows
Our closest animal cousins used to be thought peaceful and only rarely aggressive. But new research shows that they are naturally bloodthirsty. What does this reveal about human nature?
Humanity going nowhere, claims top philosopher
In a controversial new book, John Gray argues that the human race should accept its animal nature, and stop striving for an idealised vision of the future. Is progress a dangerous myth?
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.
Halloween fun trivialises evil, say Christians
But does it? For most of us, Halloween is a time of fun and fancy dress, but the Church of England says it is an “uneasy celebration of the dark side of life”. Is something sinister going on?
Study reveals shame of Hitler’s tame philosophers
Adolf Hitler called himself the ‘Philosopher Fuhrer’ and was backed by some of the greatest minds of the 20th Century. How did supposedly wise thinkers fall under the dictator’s evil spell?
‘Monster of Syria’ Assad shows his human face
As violence in Syria worsens and Western leaders talk of arming the rebels, President Assad has given a rare interview to The Sunday Times. The murderous dictator is a surprisingly mild man.
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?
Fans of hit true crime podcast turn detective
Tomorrow, the podcasting phenomenon ‘Serial’ will conclude its investigation into a 16-year-old murder case. Fans are on tenterhooks. But is it wrong to turn tragedy into entertainment?
Notorious terrorist mastermind in the dock
For decades, Carlos the Jackal was the world’s most feared terrorist – he boasted of having killed thousands. Now, on trial for bomb attacks in France, he retains his deadly charisma.
‘Insane’ mass murderer may escape prison term
Anders Breivik killed 77 people, mostly teenagers, in a horrifying shooting spree in July this year – but psychological evaluators say he was insane, and needs treatment, not punishment.
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.
Scientists build ‘complete’ bionic man for TV
He may not be much of a looker, but Rex walks, talks and moves much like a human being. Every inch of his ‘body’ is artificially engineered. Will we soon build humans from scratch?
Fear and celebration at first ‘edited’ embryo
Chinese scientists have changed the genes of human embryos for the first time. Using the technique could lead to major advances in combating disease — but can it overcome ethical objections?
Mammoths one step closer to resurrection
Advances in genetic science have allowed researchers to create living mammoth genes for the first time. Is so-called ‘de-extinction’ a legitimate goal for scientists to pursue?
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.
London celebrates 150 years of the Tube
On January 9th 1863, the London Underground opened for the first time. An ambitious venture in engineering and social vision, the Tube is now a central part of life in the British capital.
‘Social cleansing’ feared as London poor priced out
A London council has asked 500 of its poorest residents to uproot themselves to cheaper houses up to 160 miles away. With mayoral elections approaching, what does this say about the city?
Europe’s tallest skyscraper opens for business
For three years, Londoners have watched as a giant structure of concrete and glass rises above the skyline. It is the Shard, Europe’s tallest skyscraper, and tonight it officially opens.