Robert Louis Stevenson's
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a great story about the good and evil inside all of us. Though it was written a long time ago, the great thing about this book is that its concept is able to be used in any time period, in any culture. The concept of an evil living inside each of is something that scholars have debated ad infinitum. This book, or at least the concepts that it touches on, are able to be relevant in every culture. People understand that each living person has some sort of evil inside them and all it takes is a trigger to unlock that evil. In Dr. Jekyll's case, it was a potion that transformed him from a proper upstanding gentlemen into a hunched-over trouble maker named Mr. Hyde. In addition to the concept of evil inside all of us, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde touches on the concept of drug addiction, as Dr. Jekyll is addicted to the potion that transforms him into Mr. Hyde. G. K. Chesterton touches on the concept of an evil inside of us with his essay in the back of the book entitled "The Real Stab of the Story." It pointed out a few extremely clever points that I hadn't previously thought of, and so I wrote this short response and analysis of his essay.
Analysis of G. K. Chesterton's Essay
The critical essay I chose in the back of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was “The Real Stab of the Story,” written by G. K. Chesterton. It is essentially an essay that describes, from Chesterton’s point of view, that the book isn’t about one man with two men (good and evil) inside him; rather, it is the story of how two men (good and evil) are inside every one man. Chesterton puts it best when he says: “Jekyll and Hyde are not twin brothers. They are rather, as one of them truly remarks, like father and son.” This is what he declares as the real point of the story. This observation made me rethink my initial views of the book. I, as most people, saw Dr. Jekyll as one man plagued with the combination of an evil entity and a good entity in the same body. When I looked at it through Chesterton’s point of view, however, it became clear to me that the combination of good and evil entities living within is what actually what defines each human. Over the course of his essay, he further argues the two sides of man, evil and good, are not equal. According to Chesterton, the good side must always look over and control what the evil side is plotting and scheming, whereas the evil side has total and complete disregard for what the good side does. I found this to be another interesting thing that I had never thought of before, but now that Chesterton pointed it out, it makes total sense. Digging deeper, Chesterton addresses the issue of God and religion as it applies to his theory of good and evil. He mentions that God represents the good inside all of us, and so, when applied to his theory, God must look over and control what we are plotting. Furthermore, God cannot leave man, because as Chesterton explained earlier, it takes good side and evil side to create one man. In conclusion, I think that this critical essay made some extremely good points about the book and the topic of good vs. evil, and I found it highly interesting to read.