Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Important Quotations Explained
Utterson the lawyer was a man of a rugged countenance, that was
never lighted by a smile; cold, scanty and embarrassed in discourse;
backward in sentiment; lean, long, dusty, dreary, and yet somehow
lovable. . . . He was austere with himself; drank gin when he was
alone, to mortify a taste for vintages; and though he enjoyed the theater,
had not crossed the doors of one for twenty years. But he had an
approved tolerance for others; sometimes wondering, almost with
envy, at the high pressure of spirits involved in their misdeeds;
and in any extremity inclined to help rather than to reprove. .
. . [I]t was frequently his fortune to be the last reputable acquaintance
and the last good influence in the lives of down-going men.
is not easy to describe. There is something wrong with his appearance;
something displeasing, something downright detestable. I never saw
a man I so disliked, and yet I scarce know why. He must be deformed
somewhere; he gives a strong feeling of deformity, although I couldn’t specify
the point. He’s an extraordinary-looking man, and yet I really can
name nothing out of the way. No, sir; I can make no hand of it;
I can’t describe him. And it’s not want of memory; for I declare
I can see him this moment.”
put the glass to his lips, and drank at one gulp. A cry followed;
he reeled, staggered, clutched at the table and held on, staring
with injected eyes, gasping with open mouth; and as I looked there
came, I thought, a change—he seemed to swell—his face became suddenly
black and the features seemed to melt and alter—and at the next
moment, I had sprung to my feet and leaped back against the wall,
my arm raised to shield me from that prodigy, my mind submerged in
“O God!” I screamed, and “O God!” again and again; for there before my eyes—pale and shaken, and half fainting, and groping before him with his hands, like a man restored from death—there stood Henry Jekyll!
was on the moral side, and in my own person, that I learned to recognise
the thorough and primitive duality of man; 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 . . . I had learned to dwell
with pleasure, as a beloved daydream, on the thought of the separation
of these elements.
I was still cursed with my duality of purpose; and as the first
edge of my penitence wore off, the lower side of me, so long indulged,
so recently chained down, began to growl for licence. Not that I
dreamed of resuscitating Hyde; . . . no, it was in my own person
that I was once more tempted to trifle with my conscience. . . .
[However,] this brief condescension to my evil finally destroyed the balance of my soul. And yet I was not alarmed; the fall seemed natural, like a return to the old days before I had made discovery. It was a fine . . . day. . . . I sat in the sun on a bench; the animal within me licking the chops of memory; the spiritual side a little drowsed, promising subsequent penitence, but not yet moved to begin. After all, I reflected, I was like my neighbours; and then I smiled, comparing myself with other men, comparing my active goodwill with the lazy cruelty of their neglect. And at the very moment of that vainglorious thought, a qualm came over me, a horrid nausea and the most deadly shuddering. . . . I began to be aware of a change in the temper of my thoughts, a greater boldness, a contempt of danger, a solution of the bonds of obligation. I looked down; my clothes hung formlessly on my shrunken limbs; the hand that lay on my knee was corded and hairy. I was once more Edward Hyde.
Readers' Notes allow users to add their own analysis and insights to our SparkNotes—and to discuss those ideas with one another. Have a novel take or think we left something out? Add a Readers' Note!