Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894)
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886)
Things to Consider:
Discussion Questions (See link to more complex Q's ):
- Duality of Human Existence
- Victorian Morality
- Conditions in Urban London
- How, according to the editors, is Jekyll and Hyde "an expression of
quintessentially fin de sèicle
- How does the description of setting contribute to the
mood of the work?
- Explain: "He must be deformed somewhere; he gives a
strong feeling of deformity, although I couldn't specify the
- How does Utterson respond to his initial meeting with
- Why does Utterson call Poole Poole, but Poole calls him Mr.
- Why does Utterson say, "Things cannot continue as they
are" (2249)? Why doesn't he trust Hyde?
- How does Jekyll's will fit in here? (See also 2244-45)
- Why does Hyde kill Dr. Carew?
- How has Jekyll's "character" been "exposed" by Carew's
- Explain: "If I am the
chief of sinners, I am the chief of sufferers also" (2257).
Other Discussion Questions:
- How did Stevenson rebel against his conservative family
- Who exactly are Utterson and Enfield? How, if at all, are
their profession significant?
- Explain: "It is the mark of a modest man to accept
his friendly circle ready-made from the hands of opportunity"
- Why does Enfield conceal the name on the check?
- Explain the comparison of questions and stones.
- Explain: "Your tale has gone home" (2244).
- What is the significance of the fact that Utterson,
Lanyon, and Jekyll are all bachelors?
- Why would even "the most honest" experience "terror of
the law" (2252)?
- Explain the significance of the similarity in Jekyll's
and Hyde's handwriting.
- How does Hyde's "disappearance" affect Jekyll?
- Why does Lanyon suddenly look so death-like?
- Why does Jekyll suddenly get such a horrified look on his
- Why does Utterson say, "God
forgive us" (2259)?
- Is Mr. Hyde truly "wholly evil" (2274)?
- Is it true that "It was Hyde, after all, and Hyde alone,
that was guilty" (2275)? Explain.
- What is the significance of Hyde's clothes being too big?
- Why does Hyde ask Lanyon to watch his transformation?
- What does Jekyll mean by "the perennial war among my
- In what ways are Jekyll's discoveries incomplete?
- Why does Jekyll spontaneously become Hyde?
- Explain the significance of Jekyll's use of both 1st and
3rd person on this page (e.g. "He, I say,—I cannot say, I").
- Describe the different kinds of hate that Jekyll and Hyde
feel for each other.
- Explain: "It was that unknown impurity which lent
efficacy to the draught" (2282).
Other Discussion Questions:
- Why does Poole suspect that Jekyll has been murdered?
- Why does Utterson remain skeptical?
- Explain Jekyll's "response" to first "encountering"
- Explain: "While Jekyll would suffer smartingly in
the fires of abstinence, Hyde would be not even
conscious of all that he had lost" (2277).
- Explain the significance of Jekyll's use of 1st person in
describing Hyde's crimes.