Robert Louis Stevenson packed a lot of treasure in terms of life philosophy and intricacies of ‘dual’ human nature in this novella. Written ages ago in 1886, the contents of the book still hold true and always will! It’s on every must-read short books’ list of this century.
Dr Jekyll accidentally creates a chemical which transforms him into someone else physically. He lives a double life in the name of Edward Hyde and the second being brings out the beast in him. While Dr Jekyll is a well behaved socially respected person,Mr. Hyde is an epitome of barbarism and does hideous crimes.
It’s symbolic of the different shades of grey we all possess as human beings. Good & bad, Gentle & harsh, Love & hatred.. all of us are owned, sometimes driven by these contrasting emotions. Good side of us laments about the bad one and the bad side loathes the not-so-bad in us.
Most of the times, these may be blended so much into each other that we don’t even realise the split personalities. Stevenson has done the exact opposite, created two characters of the same person and made it so explicit. I loved the parts where the Dr Jekyll gets ashamed of the bad side and feels helpless. It’s just very beautifully written. Remarkable to put such profound thoughts into a story so short yet very well-knitted and strong! It’s a book which gives you some food for thought and is surely recommended.
“Quiet minds cannot be perplexed or frightened but go on in fortune or misfortune at their own private pace, like a clock during a thunderstorm. ”
“With every day, and from both sides of my intelligence, the moral and the intellectual, I thus drew steadily nearer to the truth, by whose partial discovery I have been doomed to such a dreadful shipwreck: that man is not truly one, but truly two.”
“You start a question, and it’s like starting a stone. You sit quietly on the top of a hill; and away the stone goes, starting others…”
“I had learned to dwell with pleasure as a beloved daydream on the thought of the separation of these elements. If each I told myself could be housed in separate identities life would be relieved of all that was unbearable the unjust might go his way delivered from the aspirations and remorse of his more upright twin and the just could walk steadfastly and securely on his upward path doing the good things in which he found his pleasure and no longer exposed to disgrace and penitence by the hands of this extraneous evil.”