Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a novella that has different levels of interpretation. Let’s check one of them on our website == experts from have prepared an awesome sample of this masterpiece analysis. 


Ethics and Its Consequences in the Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

One of the most popular Stevenson’s novels, Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, appeared at the end of the 19th century, highlighting the principles of this epoch. That is why when reading this text nowadays, a modern reader can have different ethical questions, which are based on the difference in moral values back then and nowadays. One such question is the ethical code of gentleman, which significantly defines the destiny of the main heroes. It was gentlemanly ethics that prevents Utterson from early intervention into the problems of his friend and what actually made Jekyll raise his second personality. 

Unlike nowadays, people in the 19th century were much more dependent on public opinion. That is why the story appeared to be so mysterious in the beginning: neither Utterson’s cousin nor he revealed all they know about the case of an ugly man pushing an innocent girl on the street. It was natural for men to avoid gossip and secrets, discussing only those things that can be available to everyone. At the same time, Utterson could not eliminate his interest and attention to the life of his friend, which made him intentionally look for the mysterious Mr. Hyde and the details of his life. At this point, Utterson ignores the ethics of that time as what he should have done was let this case go as he was not able to ask his friend directly. However, this violation of gentleman morale was nothing compared to the second part of the novel, where Utterson and his cousin see Dr. Jekyll in danger, but what they do is run away. Two gentlemen were so scared that they did not even come back to Jekyll’s house, deciding to check the case over some time. Of course, it was too late.

Utterson was too late in helping Dr. Jekyll as well. Respecting his friend’s right to privacy and still having a fear of meeting the unknown, he waited for the right moment or invitation. It took him several weeks to get to the house of Jekyll once again and do something. However, upon entering Jekyll’s laboratory, he understood that it was too late. Even though he did not see the body of Jekyll and even tried to look for his friend, which a small hope of finding him alive, he already felt what happened. Even so, he did not check the letters he had immediately and preferred to come back home and read everything there. It seems quite strange for readers nowadays; however, impatience is not a trait of a gentleman. It is also possible that Jekyll did not want other people, especially those with status, to see his emotions once he reveals the truth. No wonder, that Utterson waited until the evening to discover an explanation of the whole situation. 

Despite his strange morale, Utterson is still perceived as a positive character, while his friend Dr. Jekyll is too ambiguous. Even at the beginning of the novel, Utterson mentions that his friend had an ethically questionable life when he was young; however, he blamed his age. At the same time, his relationship with Mr. Hyde, who had nothing positive neither in his behavior nor in his appearance, made Utterson think that Dr. Jekyll still has something serious to hide. So, on the one hand, gentlemen had to keep their immoral life private and secret; however, even if they are accused of living such a life, they will unlikely be punished. Still, public opinion was the most severe judge at that time, which made Dr. Jekyll create and frequently use his second personality. Mr. Hyde let Jekyll do everything he wanted without the risk of being uncovered. Unfortunately, such freedom led to dramatic results: being unlimited in his desires and possibilities, Mr. Hyde each time made more and more horrible actions, while Dr. Jekyll developed more and more negative traits himself. As a result, his dark twin appeared to be so influential that Dr. Jekyll began to turn into him without his will, being kept in such a body longer than usual. 

Among many other questions, the novel by Stevenson puts one interesting issue: could this tragedy be avoided if Dr. Jekyll was not restricted by his good name and public morale? Judging by the case of Jekyll, public morale was actually a necessary tool as it can potentially keep people with dark thoughts from actualizing their desires. If there was no Mr. Hyde, Dr. Jekyll would not do all the awful things and definitely would not kill one of his peers. Therefore, such a case proves that society needs to rely on general moral values and guidelines as they help people in living decent lives with respect to each other. Otherwise, people could just turn into animals that blindly follow their desires.

Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a complicated, yet easy-to-read novel that raises many ethical and psychological questions. However, almost all these questions are answered at the end of the story. Regarding ethics described in the book, it is ambiguous and not always obligatory; however, it creates a necessary framework that makes it possible for people to live in a peaceful and safe society. 


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