Robert Louis Stevenson, Amazon Digital, 1886. 82 pages. Five of Five stars
In 1885 and at the age of 36, Robert Louis Stevenson published his third and most popular larger novel, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. It is a dark and complex tale about corrupt human nature.
In real life, Stevenson experienced a grim story of his own. Always tormented by poor health, Stevenson dropped out of his law profession, married a divorcée against his parent’s wishes and died suddenly of a brain hemorrhage at the age of 44.
The protagonist is Dr. Jekyll, an elderly scientist who has discovered how to change himself into the grotesque form of Mr. Hyde. It began as an innocent experiment by which Hyde could indulge in carnal delight by night and Jekyll could maintain his high social standard by day. It was the perfect life of two identities.
The doctor made systematic provisions for his evil nature, including his own quarters, wardrobe and bank account. Though Jekyll was confident that he could control Hyde, he soon found that his evil nature was gaining strength.
If each, I told myself, could be housed in separate identities, life would be relieved of all that was unbearable; the unjust might go his way, delivered from the aspirations and remorse of his more upright twin; and the just could walk steadfastly and securely on his upward path, doing the good things in which he found his pleasure…
But Hyde had energy and the will to be alive. One morning, Jekyll awoke to discover that he had transformed into Hyde without taking the potion. “My devil had been long caged, he came out roaring.” He then realized that a choice had to be made between the two. Continue reading