A distant relative of Mr. Utterson, Mr. Enfield appears briefly in the novel as a firsthand witness of Hyde’s violent character and of the struggle Jekyll endures. His significance as a witness comes from the fact that, relative to many of the novel’s other characters, he does not have a direct connection to Dr. Jekyll. This position allows Mr. Enfield to observe these strange occurrences from a more neutral point of view, making him the perfect character to represent how the general London public might perceive Jekyll’s discovery. Using Mr. Enfield’s character in this way allows Stevenson to further emphasize the preoccupations with public identity and reputation that appear elsewhere in the novel.
Mr. Enfield responds to watching Hyde run over a little girl and seeing the beginning of Jekyll’s transformation in the window with silent judgement and concern, a reaction that the broader public would be likely to share. Although he tells Mr. Utterson the story of the loathsome man and the girl in full, he refrains from using any names until explicitly asked. This approach allows him to make some judgements without fully verbalizing them, thus maintaining his public persona as an honorable gentleman and protecting Hyde’s identity from social humiliation. Keeping in line with his rule that “the more [that something] looks like Queer Street, the less [he] ask[s],” Mr. Enfield also maintains a level of silence as he watches Dr. Jekyll’s face begin to change in the window. He clearly experiences shock and bewilderment, but he keeps his concerns to himself.
The reason that Mr. Enfield’s reactions to Jekyll and Hyde work as a substitute for the general public’s point of view is because he is an ideal embodiment of Victorian values. Qualities such as dignity, respect, and restraint characterized the Victorian Era’s moral code and appear quite clearly in Mr. Enfield’s character. In Chapter 1, Stevenson describes him as “the well-known man about town,” which emphasizes his respectability, and “singularly dull,” which suggests a sense of self-discipline. Combining these attributes with his lean toward reason and disinterest in the unusual offers an image of Mr. Enfield as someone deeply committed to the social standards of his time.