ATTENTION CHALLENGE PARTICIPANTS

2015 Editions of the Color Coded , Mount TBR and Vintage Mystery Bingo Challenges--as well as Read It Again, Sam (due to popular demand)-- have been posted. I am also introducing my newest brain-child: Super Book Password. Please check it out!

As in the past, I will post sidebar links for sign-up posts as well as review headquarters once the new year begins.


Some of Bev's Favorite Quotes...



Sunday, June 3, 2012

Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde: Encore, Encore!

Thanks to Man of La Book's League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Challenge, I have now read The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde three times in as many years. [Most of my previous thoughts on Jekyll & Hyde can found HERE and HERE.]  I'm not complaining....I love this late Victorian Gothic morality play about the division of good and evil that lies in every person.   It's just that I'm not sure I've got much that's fresh to say about this one on my third go round.  That being the case, I may not be able to do this review without spoilers--so beware!

As I mention in a previous review--the story tells us all too well that if we are not very careful, then evil can overtake us. Once started down the road, lesser sins can soon lead to bigger until finally it becomes near impossible to turn back and become what we once were. It is particularly difficult for those with addictive personalities--one looks for bigger and better thrills and that is part of what leads one further down the road.  

I think what strikes me most this time around is a very tiny moment in Jekyll's final days.  It's a point that I didn't really take note of before.  After the murder of Sir Danvers, he is determined not to let Hyde loose again.  He spends a good two to three months suppressing the "child of Hell" and begins to feel very good about himself.  He has used his time trying to repay good for the evil Hyde has done.  He has been immersing himself in spiritual studies.  He begins to compare himself to other men--"comparing [his] active good-will with the lazy cruelty of their neglect."  And you know what they say about pride...it goeth before a fall.  Jekyll is setting himself up for a doozy.  In almost every list of the seven deadly sins pride is considered the most serious.  It represents the primary fault that led to Lucifer's fall.  The moment when Jekyll begins to feel prideful about how well he's done in suppressing Hyde and making reparations for his behavior is his point of no return.  From that time on the potion no longer works as well--he finds himself turning into Hyde with very little effort and with no notice, right there in a public park.  

Image Source
The only other thoughts I have are in connection with the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.  In the original story, Hyde is depicted as much smaller than Jekyll--a shrunken, "little" man; pale and dwarfish; "particularly small and evil-looking."  And, yet, the League graphic novel (and movie, for that matter) portrays him an almost-giant, an Incredible Hulk type (less the green skin) with immense strength.  If we allow that Jekyll/Hyde actually survived (rather than committing suicide as Stevenson's story relates), then, for Hyde to have become as large and strong as he is in League I see no way for him to ever appear as Jekyll.  Hyde would have to have completely subdued his original persona to grow to such proportions. Stevenson mentions towards the end that Jekyll feels as though Hyde had grown--but even at that, Jekyll's clothes still hang on him, many sizes too big.


4 comments:

Marce said...

I think you love this..........

This is one I have been intrigued by but never truly considered, I will add to the list.

Man of la Book said...

Excellent post and good job on the challenge. I also liked the story (my thoughts: http://manoflabook.com/wp/?p=4424) but thought that the pat­tern of com­men­tary on Vic­to­rian Eng­land was something that most people miss, especially the parts where they don't help one another.

Unfortunately, we're still missing that part.

Man of la Book said...

Excellent post and good job on the challenge. I also liked the story (my thoughts: http://manoflabook.com/wp/?p=4424) but thought that the pat­tern of com­men­tary on Vic­to­rian Eng­land was something that most people miss, especially the parts where they don't help one another.

Unfortunately, we're still missing that part.

Man of la Book said...

Hi Bev,

in response to your comment on my post (http://manoflabook.com/wp/?p=4424).

I remem­ber Utterson's act but that was part of Stevenson's com­men­tary I believe because Hyde was forced to do so even though he had the means.
I also thought that it was very neat that Steven­son didn't make Hyde look like a bad guy, the movies botched up the story using the same actor as Jekyll and Hyd