Every person has his or her bad and good side, and they can live as what they want to live. Some people do not care about what others think about them and act bad to other people, in contrast, some people really care about the people around them and try to be good to everyone. “The strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” by Robert Louis Stevenson demonstrates how a well-respected doctor like Dr. Jekyll has a horrible impulse. In order to avoid the remorse, he would feel like he split his good and bad side. However, in the end, he lost control to Mr. Hyde which leads to his tragic ending. The story is marked as a ‘shilling shocker’, which shows the talent of Stevenson by the way he describes the setting, the character, and the plot.
The setting of the story is around Dr. Jekyll’s normal life like where he lived and the people around him. Stevenson sets the story in the areas of London, but in two different sides. One is the bright side which is known with tea parties and flower garden visiting – a symbol of Western noble’s life in the past – or also known as Dr. Jekyll normal life. The other side is Mr. Hyde life – dark and dingy corner of London for people who ooze evil – which can be seen through himself.
Stevenson’s setting gives his reader a sense of the two personalities of Dr. Jekyll, one is Dr. Jekyll – the guy who always follows the rule, join in sociable parties and be friendly to the others, and the other is Mr. Hyde who is on behalf of evil and mystery secret. In addition, the time in the story moves fast, but the remarkable of the story is on a foggy day. ‘Although a fog rolled over the city in the small hours, the early part of the night was cloudless, and the lane, which the maid’s window overlooked, was brilliantly lit by the full moon.” (26) The fog can be seen as obscurity and the unclear in the identity of Mr. Hyde, which makes readers confused and curious from the beginning of the story.
The existence of Mr. Hyde is just like a nasty secret and the way Dr. Jekyll uses to escape from his high-view life. In his laboratory, Dr. Jekyll – a doctor as well as a scientist – does variety experiment with a number of portions trying to separate his identities, which he calls “the curse of mankind.” (75) As a result, he turns into Mr. Hyde and gets what he wants – “I felt younger, lighter, happier in body…” It can be seen that Stevenson creates Dr. Jekyll as a gentle respectful man with good personality and habit, and he has everything that people wish they had – reputation from people around him, intelligent and good friends, and wealthy prosperity.
Even when he has everything, it could not satisfy him because he still misses a thing – the freedom to do the bad things as what he always wants. At this point, Stevenson has done an excellent job to demonstrate the real face of humankind. Through the existence of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, it seems like Stevenson wants to tell his readers a truth that people never satisfied with their current lives, and they always wish to do what they want to while keeping what they already have.
On the other hand, the plot is an essential factor that marked the success of the whole story. From the beginning, Stevenson makes his readers curious about the appearance and the existence of Mr. Hyde. Collecting the story from each character from the story, there is a question which keeps appearing in every character or even the reader “Who is Mr. Hyde? And what is the real relationship between Dr. Jekyll and him?”
The point here is the way Stevenson makes the twist at the end of the story, Mr. Hyde is actually the evil personality of Dr. Jekyll, the respectable gentleman in the others’ eyes. The way Stevenson explains what happened from the different views of each character highlights the tragedy of Dr. Jekyll, and the story can be clear after the explanation of Dr. Jekyll through what he has experienced. In addition, there is one special point in the plot that makes the story, that is the end of the story when Mr. Hyde is found dead in the clothes of Dr. Jekyll. It is considered as a suicide, but actually it is not.
The truth can be seen as Dr. Jekyll killed Mr. Hyde as a way to bury his nasty secret from the public so that he can be still a good man in people’s eyes. He enjoys himself as Mr. Hyde, but his conscience does not allow him to keep doing as what Mr. Hyde do, and it must be a reason why he has to stop Mr. Hyde and put an end to what he does. Through the change in Dr. Jekyll’s mind in the complicated situation that he has experienced, Stevenson gets his readers’ attention until the end of the story – the good and evil personality of the main character – Dr. Jekyll.
In conclusion, “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” is the remarkable story which shows the talent of Stevenson by the way he creates the setting, the characters and the plot in his story. He tells his readers the complicated situation of Dr. Jekyll in the story of different characters, he makes the setting with the time and place to make his readers understand more about the main character – Dr. Jekyll’s life, and he makes an impression to his readers by the way the story comes to the end. That is the reason why “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” is so popular years by years.