Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson Analysis
Repressing an individual’s desires may serve as effective temporary concealment, however, an individual’s inclinations further take over their suppressor the farther they are pushed down. As Jekyll describes his case in his letter to Utterson, he dictates the final release of his built-up feelings as a “devil [that] had been long caged, he came out roaring”(49). Jekyll’s comparison of the liberation of his brewing emotions to that of a long caged devil emphasizes the inhumane situation which he created for himself. His choice to use the word “roaring” once again stresses how animalistic Hyde had been. Rather than calm and peaceful, Hyde’s emergence was loud and destructive. Just as a bloodthirsty lion being held in captivity would be quick to roar and kill upon its release, Hyde’s powerful built-up desires doomed him for trouble. But even the most vicious animals are a part of nature, so at the same time, the comparison acknowledges that Hyde's passions are a natural part of life. People, however, are traditionally capable of disregarding their sadistic urges, or dealing with them in a steady and timely manner, before they become dangerous. Therefore for Jekyll to constantly muzzle his ambitions as they continue to grow, rather than express them fully, brings him closer to that of a wild beast than of a human. Since Jekyll’s suppression had reached the point of no return, Hyde’s “roaring” emergence from his own metaphorical cage was so colossal that it was practically inhumane, ultimately leading to his demise. Yet even before the devil burst out, its wicked inclinations began to take control over Jekyll. Hyde’s internal assault of Jekyll prospered even when Jekyll had sworn off Hyde. in such a period of withdrawal, Jekyll recalls being “once more tempted to trifle with my conscience; and it was as an ordinary secret sinner that I at last fell before the assaults of temptation”(130). In this instance, Hyde overtook Jekyll without the aid of the potion, just by way of mere thought. To fall to the hands of a single urge emphasizes the horrific effects of Jekyll’s censorship. His once friendly and generous persona has now been made completely subordinate to his darker alter ego. In each moment of Jekyll’s true expression of Hyde, each after a period of powerful suppression, Hyde’s true colors burst through, but then quickly came to a stop. However this time Hyde could not be contained and bottled up again; his cravings finally boiled over the lid that was forced on top of him and he gained complete control of Henry Jekyll.
Through his impact on Jekyll, Hyde demonstrates how, if unchanged, dark desires prevail over that of ethics, as he slowly begins to gain more control and become the dominant side of Jekyll. In dealing with a situation of grappling desires, the earlier an individual expresses them, the better the result. Stevenson’s novel serves as a lesson to his audience about the importance of maintaining both positive physical and mental health. The moments of Jekyll’s greatest happiness and well-being were amidst his friends, conversing and spending time with them. Opposingly, the doctor’s lowest moments of seclusion and surrender occurred when he was alone. This comes to teach that finding an outlet for one’s desires is crucial in dealing with them successfully.