Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

by: Robert Louis Stevenson

Dr. Henry Jekyll Quotes

Quotes Dr. Henry Jekyll Quotes
“My poor Utterson,” said he, “you are unfortunate in such a client. I never saw a man so distressed as you were by my will; unless it were that hide-bound pedant, Lanyon, at what he called my scientific heresies.”

Utterson is growing uneasy with Jekyll and his relationship to Hyde—Utterson doesn’t understand why Jekyll would include such a disreputable character as Hyde in his will, and questions Jekyll. Jekyll brushes off Utterson’s concern, saying that Utterson shouldn’t be so distressed by his will. Jekyll then takes a shot at Dr. Lanyon. Jekyll is trying to maintain composure, but he is struggling.

“At that time my virtue slumbered; my evil, kept awake by ambition, was alert and swift to seize the occasion; and the thing that was projected was Edward Hyde.”

Jekyll explains in his letter that when his moral code wasn’t engaged, Hyde came out. Jekyll describes how his evil side was always alert, waiting in the background to project itself. The idea here is that Jekyll’s evil side was a constant impulse that Jekyll had to actively suppress.

“Utterson, I swear to God,” cried the doctor, “I swear to God I will never set eyes on him again. I bind my honour to you that I am done with him in this world. It is all at an end. And indeed he does not want my help; you do not know him as I do; he is safe, he is quite safe; mark my words, he will never more be heard of.”

When Utterson confronts Jekyll about Hyde, who murdered a man, Jekyll frantically tries to reassure Utterson that Hyde will never be heard from again. Jekyll is desperate to convince Utterson that he will have nothing more to do with Hyde, foreshadowing his struggle to terminate his Hyde entity.

“And indeed the worst of my faults was a certain impatient gaiety of disposition, such as has made the happiness of many, but such as I found it hard to reconcile with my imperious desire to carry my head high, and wear a more than commonly grave countenance before the public.”

Dr. Jekyll’s final letter reveals that even before taking the potion, Dr. Jekyll had two sides: an exuberant, pleasure-seeking side, and a reserved, position-achieving side with a need to keep up appearances. Dr. Jekyll deplored his tendency to an easy-going temperament that might hold him back in Victorian society. His position as a doctor required a superior attitude, fully in control of his impulses.

“To cast in my lot with Jekyll, was to die to those appetites which I had long secretly indulged and had of late begun to pamper. To cast it in with Hyde, was to die to a thousand interests and aspirations, and to become, at a blow and forever, despised and friendless. The bargain might appear unequal; but there was still another consideration in the scales; for while Jekyll would suffer smartingly in the fires of abstinence, Hyde would be not even conscious of all that he had lost.”

In his final statement, Jekyll describes how he was finally forced to make a choice between Jekyll or Hyde. To go with Jekyll would mean killing his natural desires. To go with Hyde would mean to kill his professional life and forever be alone. Jekyll says the decision isn’t as clear-cut as it seems, for at least with Hyde, there would be no conscience interfering with his peace of mind.