Chapter 1 – Story of the Door

Summary:

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  • Utterson and Enfield are out for a walk when they pass a strange-looking door.
  • Enfield recalls a story involving the door. In the early hours of one winter morning, he says, he saw a man trampling on a young girl. He pursued the man and brought him back to the scene of the crime.
  • A crowd gathered and, to avoid a scene, the man offered to pay the girl compensation. This was accepted, and he opened the door with a key and re-emerged with some money and a large cheque.
  • Utterson is very interested in the case and asks whether Enfield is certain Hyde used a key to open the door. Enfield is sure he did.

Notes on Utterson:

  • NOT WILLING TO EXPRESS EMOTIONS:
    • ‘never lighted by a smile’
    • ‘embarrassed in discourse’ – doesn’t like talking to others
  • RESTRAINED BY REPUTATION:
    • ‘drank gin when he was alone, to mortify a taste for vintages’ – gin is an alcohol that was drunk by the lower classes, and so Utterson doesn’t want to taint his higher class position by being seen drinking it. As the gin was very harsh, it killed his taste buds, so restricted him from drinking vintage wines that he enjoyed. Could imply that he too has a darker side that he wants to hide, like Jekyll, and wants to live up to his standard as seen in society
    • ‘though he enjoyed the theatre, had not crossed the doors of one for twenty years’
  • DULL, BORING:
    • ‘lean, long, dusty, dreary’ – alliteration depicts monotone nature of Utterson
  • APPEARS TO HAVE A DUAL NATURE:
    • Enjoys theatre, but doesn’t go as it is seen as too frivolous for his class.
    • Drinks hard liquor at home so the public don’t see him do it.
    • So much like Jekyll, Utterson too has a persona that not everyone sees.
  • BRUTAL:
    • ‘It wasn’t like a man; it was like some damned Juggernaut’ – Hyde is described to be a man with a brutal nature. A Juggernaut is a Hindu god, whose worshippers are said to throw themselves in front of a car with a picture of the God in it. Enfield compares Hyde to this rite.
  • ANIMALISTIC:
    • ‘I gave a view-halloa’ – A view halloa is a shout made by a hunter seeing a fox break cover. This likens Hyde to no less than an animal
  • EVIL:
    • ‘I saw that Sawbones turn sick and white with the desire to kill him’ – The apothecary would have been an educated gentleman and at the time gentlemen didn’t show emotion and here he has visibly strong emotions. Therefore it reveals that Hyde brings out the worst in people no matter what status they hold due to his evil immoral behaviour.

Chapter 2 – Search for Mr Hyde

Summary:

  • That evening the lawyer, Utterson, is troubled by what he has heard. He takes the will of his friend Dr Jekyll from his safe. It says: in the event of Dr Jekyll’s disappearance, all his possessions are to go to Mr Hyde.
  • Utterson decides to visit Dr Lanyon, an old friend of his and Dr Jekyll’s. Lanyon has never heard of Hyde, and not seen Jekyll for ten years.
  • That night Utterson has terrible nightmares. He starts watching the door (which belongs to Dr Jekyll’s old laboratory) at all hours, and eventually sees Hyde unlocking it.
  • Utterson is shocked by the sense of evil coming from him. Utterson goes next door to warn his friend, Jekyll, against Hyde, but is told by the servant, Poole, that Jekyll is ‘out’ and the servants have all been instructed by Jekyll to obey Hyde.
  • Utterson is worried that Hyde may kill Jekyll to benefit from the will.

Notes on Utterson:

  • SUBJECTS TO VICTORIAN VIEW:
    • The immediate hate of Hyde by Utterson is an example of physiognomy, which in the Victorian era was important in determining the personality of a person
    • ‘and now I fear to begin it is disgrace’ – links to Victorian fear and obsession with reputation
  • CLOSE TO JEKYLL:
    • ‘O my poor old Harry Jekyll’ – Harry is a fond term of Henry (term of endearment), suggests his closeness towards Jekyll

Notes on Hyde:

  • ANIMALISTIC:
    • ‘a hissing intake of breath’, ‘snarled aloud’, ‘with extraordinary quickness’ – Hyde’s responses are animalistic, reminding us that he is sub-human
  • No one can really define what makes Hyde so evil, which allows us to put our worst fears and attributes in the place of Hyde to emphasise how evil he is
  • EVIL:
    • ‘he gave a number of an address in Soho’ – Soho was an area of London with a bad reputation (with opium dens and brothels), suggesting Hyde is a nefarious character
    • ‘Satan’s signature upon a face’ – Religion was considered to be very important in those times, so mentioning Satan himself goes to show how comparably evil Hyde is.
  • LINKS TO ORIGIN OF SPECIES:
    • ‘Pale and dwarfish… impression of deformity without any nameable malformation’ – language suggests he is not fully formed, links to Origin of Species (Darwin) – audience would’ve mistrusted Hyde as they would’ve made the link between him and the evolved species
    • ‘Troglodytic’ – Cave dweller, not fully human – again links to Darwin

Chapter 3 – Dr Jekyll was Quite at Ease

Summary:

  • Two weeks later, following a dinner party with friends at Jekyll’s house, Utterson stays behind to talk to him about the will.
  • Jekyll laughs off Utterson’s worries, comparing them to Lanyon’s ‘hidebound’ (conventional and unadventurous) attitude to medical science. The reader now sees why Lanyon and Jekyll have fallen out, and starts to understand that Jekyll’s behaviour has become unusual.
  • Utterson persists with the subject of the will. Jekyll hints at a strange relationship between himself and Hyde. Although he trusts Utterson, Jekyll refuses to reveal the details.
  • He asks him, as his lawyer not his friend, to make sure the will is carried out. He reassures him that ‘the moment I choose, I can be rid of Mr Hyde’.

Notes on Jekyll:

  • NOT ALL IS AS IT SEEMS:
  • ‘with something of a slyish cast perhaps’ – Even though he looks like a reputable gentleman, there is something furtive about the way he looks
  • ‘The large handsome face of Dr Jekyll grew pale to the very lips, and there was some blackness about his eyes’ – very changeable features, foreshadows later physical transformation into Hyde
  • Contrast between Jekyll having an ‘ever mark of capacity and kindness’ and his ‘certain incoherency of manner’ again highlights his changeability, foreshadowing changing into Hyde

Chapter 4 – The Carew Murder Case

Summary:

  • Nearly a year later, an elderly gentleman is brutally clubbed to death in the street by Hyde. The murder is witnessed by a maid who recognises Hyde.
  • A letter addressed to Utterson is found on the body and the police contact him. He recognises the murder weapon as the broken half of a walking cane he gave to Jekyll years earlier.
  • When he hears that the murderer is Hyde, he offers to lead the police to his house. They are told that Hyde has not been at home for two months.
  • But when they search the house they find the other half of the murder weapon and signs of a hasty exit.
  • HYDE’S ANIMALISTIC + VICIOUS BEHAVIOUR:
  • The description of Carew being an ‘aged and beautiful gentleman’ creates a representation of purity, which Hyde destroys
  • Repetition of ‘broke out’ implies animalistic nature, as animals break out of zoos and cages
  • Hyde’s attack is described in minute detail – ‘hailing down a storm of blows’, ‘bones were audibly shattered’, implying Hyde’s almost passionate love for violence
  • Hyde didn’t kill for money, as ‘a purse and gold watch’ was found upon Carew. Tells us the attack was illogical as people at the time killed for money, and that Hyde thrives off murder
  • As soon as we (the maid) see Mr Hyde, the mood immediately switches from calmness to terror – ‘he had in his hand a heavy cane’, compared to earlier sentences ‘the girl was pleased to watch it’
  • MAID’S ACCOUNT:
  • Only account of murder was maid’s account, and reliability comes into question as she is ‘romantically given’, implying she was fantasising
  • Maid’s reaction to murder sums up how we should be feeling also – she faints
  • DUALITY OF NATURE + ULTERIOR MOTIVES:
    • ‘his eye lighted up with professional ambition’ – police officer becomes excited at the fact that this murder will help progress his career, overriding empathy towards Carew
    • Utterson knows cane belongs to Jekyll but only mentions Hyde’s name – preserving Jekyll’s reputation
  • DESCRIPTIONS OF HYDE’S ABODE:
    • ‘some city in a nightmare’ – Hyde lives in the most evil part of London (Soho), whose disquietude cannot be described in a physical sense (nightmare)
      • Restaurants contain penny numbers, which was like cheap fiction
      • Was a French restaurant, and at the time French people were seen as carrying STDs and very low people who liked to cause trouble (French Revolution)
      • These are places connected to ideas of depravity, desire and lust, places with no refinement  – exactly what Hyde is
  • ‘furnished with luxury and good taste’ – Juxtaposition between the luxury of Hyde’s flat and the circumstances – emphasises Utterson’s belief that everything is out of place here

Chapter 5 – Incident of the Letter

Summary

  • Utterson goes to Jekyll’s house and finds him ‘looking deadly sick’. He asks whether he is hiding Hyde.
  • Jekyll assures him he will never see or hear of Hyde again. He shows Utterson a letter from Hyde that indicates this.
  • Utterson asks Guest, his head clerk, to compare the handwriting on the letter to that on an invitation from Jekyll. There is a resemblance between the two, though with a different slope.
  • Utterson believes Jekyll has forged the letter in Hyde’s handwriting to cover his escape.

Notes on Jekyll

  • JEKYLL’S SUSPICIOUS + AFRAID TONE:
    • ‘cried’, ‘feverish’, ‘I have lost confidence in myself’ – We feel very sorry for Jekyll, as he appears to be frightened and panicked.
    • Repetition of ‘I swear to God’ – many people in the Victorian era were religious, and so Jekyll repeating that he ‘swears to God’ would have an even more pronounced effect in those times. And being a man of science, it would be even rarer for him to mention God, showing he is truly disturbed and sorry.
      • We also assume Jekyll is speaking the truth as people at the time didn’t really lie to God
    • ‘mark my words, he will never more be heard of’ – the certainty by which Jekyll says this creates some suspicion
  • TOWN ALSO DEPICTS DEATH + CREATES SUSPICION:
    • ‘The fog still slept upon the wing of the drowned city’ – Personification of the fog (which is there due to industrial revolution) displays the gothic genre of the novel. The fog also serves as a metaphor for concealment, as Jekyll is concealing his true identities.
    • (same quote as above) – also creates sense of heaviness, and when you add that with the picture of the ‘drowned city’, you get connotations of death, which foreshadow Jekyll’s death.
  • UTTERSON IS AFFECTED TOO:
    • ‘he began to cherish a longing of advice’, ‘I have grounds for certainty that I cannot share with anyone’ – Utterson, despite being very self-reliant, wants advice, displaying how unsettled he is by his encounter with Jekyll
  • DUALITY:
    • ‘The letter was written in an odd, upright hand’ – oxymoron again creates sense of duality
READ:
Themes in Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

Chapter 6 – Remarkable Incident of Dr Lanyon

Summary

  • The police cannot find Hyde. Coincidentally, Jekyll seems happier and, for two months, he socialises again.
  • Suddenly, however, he appears depressed and will not see Utterson. Utterson visits Dr Lanyon to discuss their friend’s health, but finds Lanyon on his death-bed.
  • Lanyon refuses to discuss Jekyll who, he hints, is the cause of his illness.
  • Trying to find out what has happened, Utterson writes to Jekyll. He receives a reply which suggests Jekyll has fallen into a very disturbed state and talks of being ‘under a dark influence’.
  • Lanyon dies and leaves a letter for Utterson in an envelope marked ‘not to be opened till the death or disappearance of Dr Henry Jekyll’. Utterson, being a good lawyer, locks it away unopened in his safe.
  • Utterson tries to revisit Jekyll several times, but his servant, Poole, says he is living in isolation and will not see anyone.
  • JEKYLL’S RAPID CHANGES:
    • ‘a new life began for Jekyll’ – Jekyll is back to normal, as he has freed himself from Hyde
    • ‘on the 8th of January… the trio were inseparable friends… on the 12th, and again on the 14th, the door was shut against the lawyer’ – The use of the specific dates emphasises how quickly the situation turns around, possibly linking back to how quickly he can turn into Hyde.
    • ‘If I am the chief of sinners, I am the chief of sufferers also’ – shows Jekyll’s dual internal conflict with himself
  • LANYON’S ACTIONS:
    • ‘his death warrant written legibly upon his face’ – Lanyon has seen something so terrible, it is comparable to a death warrant. Use of ‘legibly’ shows that it is clear he will die, further increasing the sense of fear
  • UTTERSON’S INNER EMOTIONS/CHARACTERISTICS REVEALED:
    • ‘professional honour and faith to his dead friend were stringent obligations’ – Utterson is presented as a man who values his own honour over his curiosity for the truth of Jekyll and Hyde. Could represent Victorian obligations to their class, but could also show Utterson’s commendable loyalty.
    • ‘his thoughts were disquieted and fearful’ – we feel bad for Utterson, as he has just experienced the death of a friend and is caught in a conflict with another friend.

Chapter 7 – Incident at the Window

Summary

  • Utterson is on his usual walk with Enfield, and they discuss Hyde and Jekyll’s natures
  • They see Jekyll at a window, and ask him to come out. Jekyll seems very poorly, and refuses.
  • All of a sudden, Jekyll starts transforming into Hyde. Utterson and Enfield catch a glimpse of this and walk away.

Very short chapter – serves as the calm before the storm (where Jekyll/Hyde commits suicide) and gives us the start of the final unravelling of the story

Chapter 8 – The Last Night

Summary

  • One evening, Jekyll’s servant comes to Utterson and asks him to come to Jekyll’s house. They go to the laboratory, but the door is locked. The voice from inside does not sound like Jekyll’s and both men believe it is Hyde.
  • Poole says the voice has for days been crying out for a particular chemical to be brought, but the chemicals given have been rejected as ‘not pure’. Poole says that earlier he caught a glimpse of a person in the lab who looked scarcely human.
  • They break down the door and inside find a body, twitching. In its hand are the remains of a test tube (or vial). The body is smaller than Jekyll’s but wearing clothes that would fit him.
  • On the table is a will dated that day which leaves everything to Utterson, with Hyde’s name crossed out. There is also a package containing Jekyll’s ‘confession’ and a letter asking Utterson to read Dr Lanyon’s letter which he left after his death (see Chapter 6) and is now in Utterson’s safe.
  • Utterson tells Poole he will return before midnight, when he has read all the documents.

FEAR CREATED:

  • ‘Sir, I’m afraid… what are you afraid of?… I’ve been afraid for about a week’ – repetition of afraid emphasises fear, as does Poole’s lack of response – thing could be so bad it’s indescribable
  • ‘crushing anticipation of calamity’ – connotations of  huge forthcoming disaster – mounting fear suggests how all this weighs on Utterson, and us too as we are aligned with him.
  • ‘His face was white and his voice… harsh and broken’ – fear has affected Poole physically
  • ‘the whole of the servants, men and women, stood huddled together like a flock of sheep’ –fear has captured the entire household. Also, the specification of men too looking for consolation in an era where men were seen as more able to handle fear shows that the tension is too high for even them to handle
  • ‘They’re all afraid’ – very frank but true statement, summarising the mood of the entire room in a short phrase.
  • ‘That’s not Jekyll’s voice – it’s Hyde’s!… Down with the door, Poole’ – arguably the most climactic moment of the novella – are we really going to find out what has happened to Jekyll and Hyde, and will the whole situation be explained?
  • ‘blow… leaped… crashed, burst, wreck’ – violent adjectives and verbs suggest their fear and tension about finding out the truth and meet Jekyll/Hyde.

Chapter 9 – Dr Lanyon’s Narrative

Summary

  • Chapter 9 lists the contents of Dr Lanyon’s letter.
  • It tells of how Lanyon received a letter from Jekyll asking him to collect a drawer containing chemicals, a vial and a notebook from Jekyll’s laboratory and to give it to a man who would call at midnight.
  • Lanyon says he was curious, especially as the book contained some strange entries. At midnight a man appears. He is small and grotesque, wearing clothes that are too large for him.
  • The man offers to take the chemicals away, or to drink the potion. Lanyon accepts and, before his very eyes, Hyde transforms into none other than Dr Jekyll.
  • In horror at what he has witnessed, Lanyon becomes seriously ill.

STORY IS FRAGMENTED:

  • Gothic counterfeit – we can never be 100% sure of what is the truth, as the text is written by different people (in this case Lanyon)
  • The fragmentation is effective because the reader does not yet have the complete story, because the shocked Lanyon is too stricken by the implications of Jekyll’s story to even write any of it down 

 FEAR CREATED THROUGH BUILD-UP:

  • The reference to the ‘blood-red’ chemicals has major connotations of evil and bloodlust, which is representative of Hyde. As Lanyon, being a doctor, can make ‘no guess’ as to what they are, it must be even darker than what it seems to be. This would’ve emphasised the fear the audience at the time would’ve felt, as they were already unsure of science.
  • ‘the knocker sounded very gently on the door’ – could be seen as anticlimactic, as Hyde is known for his violent outbursts. Could also be seen as increasing the tension, as his quietness is unnatural
  • The fact that Hyde knocks on the door at precisely 12 could imply that he was waiting outside the door, waiting, making the situation all the more eerie
  • ‘O God!” I screamed, and “O God!” again and again’ – links back to religion. A rational doctor turns to God in his darkest times
  • ‘pale and shaken, and half fainting, and groping before him with his hands, like a man restored from death—there stood Henry Jekyll!’ – Description of transformation is incredibly vivid, and we can truly imagine Lanyon’s view and thoughts as this is taking place
  • Readers at the time would be shocked by the transformation as it breaks things like physiognomy, reputation and religion. It attacks many things Victorians strongly believe in.

Chapter 10 – Henry Jekyll’s Full Statement of the Case

Summary:

  • Jekyll tells the story of how he turned into Hyde. It began as scientific curiosity in the duality of human nature (or the good and evil), and his attempt to destroy the ‘darker self’. Eventually, however, he became addicted to the character of Hyde, who increasingly took over and destroyed him. The novel does not return to Utterson.
  • DETAILED SUMMARY:
    • Recounts Jekyll’s life, his privileged upbringing and his internal struggles between his inner desire and social pressures. He eventually develops a way to release his evil side through scientific means, and experiments on himself, transforming into Hyde, a man of evil who had no regard for these pressures. Though he understands what he does is morally wrong, Jekyll begins leading a double life, between the pressures of Jekyll and the freedom of Hyde. As with all double-lives however, one takes over the other and Hyde becomes literally uncontrollable. After Carew’s death Jekyll vows himself to a life of virtue, but Hyde is unable to be repressed leading to the incident of the previous chapter. His supplies of chemicals run out and he is left a hollow man, unable to enjoy the pleasures of Hyde but stuck with his character and slowly turning mad (and dead).

Notes

  • “alone in the ranks of mankind” links to the theme of isolation; suggests Jekyll felt isolated in his role as the stereotypical Victorian gentleman
  • The final voice we hear is Jekyll’s, where we understand what truly happen from his own words and perspective. This fills in blanks that we’ve had over his intentions and motivations for creating Hyde, his behaviour, etc.
    • Ties up information about Jekyll which we have been drip-fed throughout the novel
    • We receive most of the plot from the perspective of Utterson, who Jekyll is very secretive to – leading to a distrust of Jekyll generally. His honesty in the statement gives us more faith in his character, and while I find some parts of his character obnoxious, i think we gain a new respect for him as a man of many sides
  • Shows how damaging Victorian idea of reputation is
  • Tells us how far people are willing to go just to keep up their façade of looking and behaving as they should in front of others
  • Some people aren’t good just because they are good people – they are good just because of the pressures of society. As soon as the pressures are released, they can unleash their true evil, like Hyde.
  • Jekyll is deliberately vague on what the ‘sins’ are.
    •  as he still wants to protect his reputation even after he is dead
    • As he wants to allow the audience to compare their sins to Jekyll’s sins and wonder whether they too share the views of Jekyll inside.
  • Possible views on Stevenson’s portraying of Jekyll:
    • A victim who made a mistake that haunts him for the rest of his (short) life, or
    • Someone meddling with powers beyond their control and that therefore the repercussions dealt to him are deserved? 

Cite this article as: William Anderson (Schoolworkhelper Editorial Team), "Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde: Chapters 1-10 Summary," in SchoolWorkHelper, 2019, https://schoolworkhelper.net/dr-jekyll-and-mr-hyde-chapters-1-10-summary/.
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