Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Study Guide

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde By Robert Louis Stevenson

Mr. Utterson and cousin Mr. Enfield pass by a mysterious basement door, and Mr. Enfield describes a story about the door in which a deformed man injured a girl, was caught, and paid off the girl's family with a check in the name of the respectable Dr. Jekyll, which surprisingly turned out to be legitimate. Utterson returns home where he gets out Dr. Jekyll's will, recently filed with Utterson. The will passes the entire estate on to one Mr. Edward Hyde, who Utterson assumes is the deformed man in Enfield's story. Utterson tracks down Hyde and questions him, but Hyde gets angry and drives him off.

One year later, Danvers Carew is beaten to death with a cane by none other than Mr. Hyde. Utterson helps the police find Hyde, but his apartment is torched and all traces destroyed. Utterson asks Jekyll, who says that he is done with Hyde forever.

More time goes by, and Dr. Jekyll becomes increasingly sociable. Utterson meets Dr. Lanyon at a party at Jekyll's home, and shortly afterwards, Dr. Lanyon falls ill and dies due to 'shock'. He leaves Utterson a letter, instructing him to read it only upon Dr. Jekyll's death or disappearance. Enfield and Utterson, walking by, see Dr. Jekyll suffer some sort of seizure and withdraw from view.

A week later, Jekyll's butler Richard Pool approaches Utterson and informs him that Jekyll has been locking himself into his cabinet, and only sends out notes asking for a specific type of medicine. The two go to Jekyll's home and break down the door, only to discover the corpse of Mr. Hyde, who evidently committed suicide minutes before they entered.

Utterson reads Lanyon's letter, which tells of Jekyll asking Lanyon to take some items out of his laboratory, and then have them picked up by Jekyll's ally. Lanyon thinks this is crazy, but obeys, only to meet Mr. Hyde, come to pick up the items dressed in clothes that are far too large for him. Hyde then concocts a potion from the items and drinks it, and turns into Dr. Jekyll right in front of Lanyon, causing the shock that eventually killed him.

Utterson proceeds to Jekyll's laboratory and reads Jekyll's own description of his experiment: in an attempt to distinguish the good and evil elements of his own nature, he created Mr. Hyde, his own evil side. He took potions, at first, to turn from one to the other, but after some time Hyde started coming out on his own. Finally, too consumed to overcome it any longer, he was forced to kill himself to contain Hyde's evil once and for all.

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