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date: 18 September 2019

Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, The Strange Case of 

Source:
The Oxford Companion to English Literature
Author(s):
Dinah BirchDinah Birch

A short novel by Robert Louis *Stevenson, published 1886. Dr Jekyll, a physician conscious of the mixed good and evil in his own nature, and fascinated by the idea of the advantage that would arise if these two elements could be separated, discovers a drug by means of which he can create for himself a personality that manifests all his base instincts. This persona, repulsive in appearance, he assumes from time to time and calls Mr Hyde, and in it he gives rein to his vicious impulses. Hyde is an embodiment of pure evil. It gradually gains the greater ascendancy, and commits a horrible murder. Jekyll now finds himself from time to time involuntarily transformed into Hyde, while the drug loses its efficacy in restoring his original form and character. On the point of discovery and arrest he takes his own life. The novel's vivid exploration of the duality of human nature made it an immediate success, and its popularity has endured. Stage, film, and television adaptations have been numerous, and the phrase ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ has entered the language as an expression of a divided personality.... ...

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