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Diagnose The Character Dr Henry Jekyll English Literature Essay

1429 words (6 pages) Essay in English Literature

5/12/16 English Literature Reference this

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This classic tale of good versus evil tells the story of two men, the respectable Dr. Henry Jekyll and the malevolent Mr. Edward Hyde. The story starts when Dr. Jekyll’ friend and solicitor, Gabriel John Utterson, and Utterson’s distant kinsman, Mr. Enfield, takes a walk one Sunday. Mr. Utterson listens as his friend Enfield tells a gruesome tale of assault. The tale describes a sinister figure named Mr. Hyde who tramples a young girl, disappears into a door on the street, and reemerges to pay off her relatives with a check signed by a respectable gentleman. Then, they no longer speak further about this matter as they disapprove gossip. And as it so happens that one of Utterson’s clients and close friends, Dr. Jekyll, has written a will transferring all of his property to this same Mr. Hyde. Being fairly confused, lawyer visits Jekyll and their mutual friend Dr. Lanyon to try to learn more. Lanyon reports that he no longer sees much of Jekyll. Curious, Utterson stakes out a building that Hyde visits which, it turns out, is a laboratory attached to the back of Jekyll’s home. He then asks Dr. Jekyll, Dr. Jekyll refuses to comment, and there the matter rests until “nearly a year later.”

Almost a year later, a maid looking out her window sees a man club an elderly man to death. The maid recognizes the murderer as Edward Hyde. The victim is Sir Danvers Carew, who is also Mr. Utterson’s client. After the murder, Mr. Utterson accompanies a police inspector to Hyde’s residence. Hyde is no where to be found. Time passes and to Mr. Utterson’s relief, Dr. Jekyll returns to his former self, hosting parties and helping out with many charities. Then suddenly, Dr. Jekyll refuses to see people. One night, Poole and Utterson hears Hyde’s voice in the laboratory and forces themselves inside finding Hyde’s dead body, fitted in Dr. Jekyll’s oversized clothes. Inside, they find a letter written by Dr. Jekyll. Finally, Mr. Utterson reads Dr. Jekyll’s confession letter. Dr. Jekyll was developing the drug to test his theory that man has a dual nature. He was successful in separating the good and evil sides of himself. As Hyde, Dr. Jekyll lived the free and fleshly life of his evil side. But the effects of the drug became unpredictable. Discovering that he cannot get hold of a crucial type of salt, Dr. Jekyll realized that he could no longer continue in this double life. In the laboratory, unsuccessful at recreating the drug, Dr. Jekyll killed himself before Poole and Mr. Utterson could break in.

Background of the Character

Dr. Henry Jekyll is a well-respected doctor and a friend to Lanyon the physician, and Mr. Utterson the lawyer. He is a seemingly prosperous man, well established in the community, and known for his decency and charitable works.

The cheque had been signed-Henry Jekyl; a name that Richard, and most of London, knew very well indeed. The great Dr.Jekyll was famous in the city, and his name was often in print.-Richard Enfield (Chapter 2).

Dr. Jekyll undergoes extreme changes in his behavior, unspecified dissolute and corrupt behavior since his youthful days.

“I thought, at first, that Jekyll was mad,” he said, as he returned the document to the safe,” and now I begin to fear it is disgrace.”- Richard Enfield (chapter 4)

Jekyll finds this dark side a burden and undertakes experiments intended to separate his good and evil selves from one another. He invented a chemical formula that can turn a person into his alter ego. Through these experiments, he brings Mr. Hyde into being, finding a way to transform himself in such a way that he fully becomes his darker half.

Enough, then, that I managed to produce a drug by which the evil powers within me took complete control of my mind and had so marked an effect upon my body, because they were still the expression of a natural part of me, that my features and outward form became changed beyond recognition.

Mr. Hyde is being described as a strange, repugnant man who looks faintly pre-human. Hyde is violent and cruel, and everyone who sees him describes him as ugly and deformed and no one knew exactly why.

There was, he was sure, a glint of cruel satisfaction in the eyes. The face was in no way out of the ordinary; the dark hair grew rather low upon the forehead; the eyebrows were heavy and arched; the mouth large and full-lipped. But there was something in the eyes-something wicked and forbidding- some inner power that burned with a brilliant light. And the power was evil!- Richard Enfield (Chapter 1).

“He is not easy to describe. There is something wrong with his appearance-something hateful,and rather horrible. I never saw a man I so disliked and yet I scarce know why. He gives a strong feeling of being deformed-but he is sound enough in body. It’s as if there was something bad-something evil-which one can feel all the time one is near him. -Richard Enfield (Chapter 3).

Mr Hyde was short and pale; he gave one the feeling that he was deformed, and yet was sound of body; he had an ugly smile; he had carried himself with a strange mixture of the timid and the daring ; and he spoke with a whispering and somewhat broken voice.( Chapter 5)

In the end, Mr. Utterson finds out that Mr. Hyde is a physical manifestation of Dr. Jekyll’s evil alter ego. And it all ends when Dr. Jekyll finally ends his life.


The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition, Text Revision (DSM -IV-TR) classifies Dissociative Identity Disorder under dissociative disorders due to medical conditions Axis II and the code is 300.14. This is the diagnosis I have for the character Dr.Jekyll in this novel.

Dissociative identity disorder (DID) is the existence of more than one identity or personality within the same individual. DID is a major form of dissociation which is a mental process that disconnects a person’s thoughts, feelings, memories, actions or sense of identity from themselves. It is a condition in which the identities will take over the persons’ body at different times. At various times, and according to the mood of the hour, I was either completely bad, or wished to do only what was good and right.-Henry Jekyll (chapter 13).

The major dissociative symptoms experienced by DID patients are amnesia, HYPERLINK “”depersonalization, derealization, and identity disturbances. In this novel, Dr. Jekyll has the symptoms of depersonalization, derealization and identity disturbances. Depersonalization is persistent or recurrent experiences of being detached from one’s mental processes or body. In chapter 13, Henry Jekyll’s full statement of the case explains about how he began to look around and saw that he had lived not only one life, but two.

Derealization is like feeling unreal or feeling like they are watching themselves move through life rather than living it. It seemed to me that, although all men are made up of good and evil parts, in my own case the dividing line was most clearly marked.-Henry Jekyll ( chapter 13).

Identity disturbances is like feeling like there is more than one person inside of them. This can be seen throughout the novel when Dr Jekyll, a well- known doctor changes into a horrifying man named Hyde who is a murderer during the night.

DID also causes depression. This can be seen in chapter 9, during Mr Utterson and Richard Enfield usual Sunday walks together. They both happen to see Jekyll sitting beside the middle half-opened window in the wall of Jekyll’s laboratory building. His face was so sad and gloomy-almost like a prisoner.

Suicidal tendencies are also very common in DID patients. In chapter 10, Mr Utterson and Poole finds Jekyll’s body laying dead right in the middle of the laboratory room. Jekyll had poisoned himself just before Poole and Utterson breaks into the laboratory.


I personally feel if Dr Jekyll wouldn’t have given up hope and killed himself instead persisted on seeking different treatment other than his own research, he would have had an improvement in his disorder.

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