Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a gothic novella by the Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson first published in 1886. It is about a London lawyer (Utterson) who investigates strange occurrences between his old friend, Dr. Henry Jekyll, and the evil Edward Hyde. In this book, is evident to see how the appearances are present in the Victorian era. For many people, keep a bad appearance was important, to hide a judgement.
To begin with, an appearance is “the way a person or thing looks to other people”(Cambridge Dictionary University, 2018). In this book, we see many appearances not only in humans, in settings too. At we can see, Jekyll is a respected, given, helpful, kindful and professional doctor who likes to help sick people, which is the face all society see of him, and for that reason everyone admire him. But the reality is that his life was bored, sad, serious and monotone. On the other hand, Jekyll brings to life to Hyde, an evil, ugly, rude and disrespectful man, who doesn’t matter the appearance he was trying to show, he lives his life adventurous, risked, and murderer.
This book was made in the Victorian era, in which people must hide problems, ills, and evil sides of themselves, the people were only interested of what they can say, can think, or can show to the public. The proletariat were seen as the low class and therefore they could not acquire luxuries or benefits than rich people could. At that time, were advances in medicine and science. As we know, Jekyll was a good doctor who was always investigating and searching new pills, medicines, or treatments for people. Despite this, Jekyll used his intelligence and abilities for other purposes. He mixed many chemicals to créate a monster in himself, Edward Hyde.
As the beginning of this essay, we talked about the appearances in things and places, that are present in this book. On one hand, appears Jekyll’s house “…a large, low-roofed comfortable hall, paved with flags, warmed by a bright open fire, and furnished with costly cabinets of oak.” (Stevenson, 2000, chapter 1), in which many servants specially Poole were working to Dr. Jekyll and nobody of them have suspicions of the macabre experiment he was making. On the other hand, Hyde’s house was quite different of Jekyll, “it seems scarcely a house. There is no other door, and nobody goes in or out of that one. There are three windows looking on the first floor; none below; the windows are always shut, but they’re clean. And then there is a chimney, which is generally smoking; so somebody must live there. And yet it’s not so sure; for the buildings are so packed together about that court, that it’s hard to say where one ends and another begins.” (Stevenson, 2000, chapter 1). As Jekyll has two personalities and appearances, his house has two appearances too, in which the reader knows this at the end, when the climax was revealed. In our society, actually, we can see that people appears to be a person, but inside, they are totally different.
To summarize, we always live in appearances and hiding our real person. Many questions intrigue this book, like what is the relationship between physical buildings and the events that take place in or near them? As in this essay is presented, the setting is important according to both personalities, because a “clean” and bright Street represents Jekyll’s life, and a dark and dirty Street is the representation of Hyde’s life. Many people after reading the book could say, why is Dr. Jekyll so concerned with keeping up appearances? And what appearance is he trying to keep? As we know and if you read the story, at the end, Jekyll decides to finish with both lives because the frequently use of these strong chemicals cause an out of control in him, and before that, he was worried about what to do with Hyde “the murderer”, he was trying to keep Hyde’s appearance away from society.