He wanted to respect him. Mr. Poole was his loyal servant continuously until Dr. Jekyll’s death. Although propriety was extremely important, his faithfulness and devotion towards Jekyll was more prioritized. “Poole, my butler, has his orders; you will find him waiting your arrival with a locksmith” (36). At times like these, even friendship and loyalty can outshine and be more valuable than having proper behavior.
Stevenson emphasizes the good people strived for, as well as the evilness some could contain and desire. The author’s usage of this idea of duality in The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was published within the nineteenth century by Robert Louis Stevenson. It was written during the period where Victorian society had a lot of powerful ethical values. These beliefs were very rigid and controlled every facet of the Victorian way. Hostility and struggle was looked down on and debates were often chosen to be settled verbally. Antagonistic behavior was seen as a sin; for example, the maid at the beginning of the story expresses her agony and disgust seeing Mr. Hyde trample over a little girl. She faints at the sight of this horrific scene she witnesses “At the horror of these sights and sounds, the main fainted” (15).
From the very beginning of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, a heavy emphasis is placed on one’s appearance and status within the society. However, these seemingly perfect appearances the men give off soon become questionable as it become apparent that they are upheld by deceit. In the novella, secrecy is used to maintain one’s reputation and identity as an upstanding and respectable member of society. Dr. Jekyll tells Utterson he enjoys the silence, “..to lighten this destiny, and that is to respect my silence” (23). Repression is also used in an effort to maintain a positive image, however, it can often render worse results than honesty.
The strange but interesting story relates to the study of the human mind, good versus evil, and the Victorian moral pressure. Stevenson addresses both of these, and how everyone can have evil in them but it is just up to the person to either pursue that side or remain proper and good. Subdoing in Victorian England meant no sexual appetites, no violence, and no great expressions of emotion, at least in the public sphere. Stevenson makes it clear within his book that everything is sober and dignified to focus on morality. The more Dr. Jekyll’s forbidden appetites are repressed, the more he desires the life of Mr. Hyde, and the stronger Mr. Hyde grows. This is clearly demonstrated after Dr. Jekyll’s two-month hiatus from coming out like Mr. Hyde. Dr. Jekyll finds that the pull to evil has been magnified after months of repression.
Robert Louis Stevenson concludes the book by exploring the ways and attitudes Victorians reacted towards the nature of humans. The challenge the main character portrays, Dr. Jekyll, between himself and Mr. Hyde was an complex and unmanageable battle. For instance, “Between these two, I now felt I had to choose. My two natures had memory in common, but all other faculties were most unequally shared between them. Jekyll (who was composite) now with the most sensitive apprehensions, now with a greedy gusto, projected and shared in the pleasures and adventures of Hyde.” (48). Each pairing has a stronger and weaker in the combination, and usually one outlived the other.
Many consequences of Victorian culture code are recognized within Robert Louis’s gothic story. An example would be when Mr. Hyde tripped over the little girl, “Blackmail, I suppose; an honest man paying through the nose for some of the capers of his youth. Blackmail House is what I call that place with the door, in consequence. Though even that, you know, is far from explaining all,’ he added, and with the words fell into a vein of musing” (4). The normality was a defined by a specific behavior that the people were required to show. Compliance was a common characteristic of these codes, as well and clothes and manners. Dr. Jekyll personifies society’s views of the perfect middle-class person in his manner of dress, job, outwardly and more. On the other hand, Mr. Hyde counteracts Dr. Jekyll and represents the society’s fear of revolting against societal norms. The mysterious pair is a very strange, mysterious, and abnormal case.
Overall, the concern of being devolution is apparent in this story. Stevenson conquers these concerns and experiences this danger of growing into a different vicious person. Society’s needs had Jekyll seperate himself in two, whereby Hyde was his savage different. This experiment was successful at first, but after several usages of the tincture being inserted into the body, its act subsequently destroyed Jekyll. In conclusion, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde are typical characters who discover the risk of limiting cultural code.