Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: Character Analysis
Characters Analysis Dr. Jekyll Mr. Hyde
This character analysis guide supports teacher lesson plans on a unit on Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. This short story is composed of a primarily all-male cast, with brief appearances by weak nameless women.
Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a novella by Robert Louis Stevenson. The story is set in Victorian nineteenth-century London, England, and tells the story of the respectable Dr. Jekyll, who lives a life of utmost propriety during the day; but by night, he conducts secret experiments transforming himself into the evil Mr. Hyde.
Utterson and his Connections
The narrator, Mr. Utterson, is the devoted loyal friend of Dr. Jekyll. A lawyer by profession, Utterson tries desperately to solve the enigmatic mystery by using logic to make the facts fit some reasonable conclusion. He protects Dr. Jekyll to the point of concealing from the police Jekyll’s association with Hyde.
Richard Enfield, Utterson’s cousin, makes a brief appearance at the beginning of the story, but turns out to be a minor character. His chief contribution to the story is as the witness to Hyde’s trampling of a servant girl.
Mr. Guest is Utterson’s quick-witted law clerk. He distinguishes himself in the story by discerning the similarity in handwriting between Jekyll and Hyde.
Sir Danver Carew is a respectable gentleman who is murdered by Hyde. Hyde bludgeons him to death with a cane while a nameless maid watches in horror.
Dr. Lanyon is an estranged friend and colleague of Dr. Jekyll. The two men have disagreed over a scientific point. Lanyon is a reputable man of propriety, a lover of truth and goodness.
Dr. Henry Jekyll and His Connections
Dr. Jekyll is a handsome wealthy doctor. Living a life of the favored upper class, he has everything Hyde lacks; a palatial home, riches, privilege, and esteem. In spite of his status, he deceives Utterson about Hyde and is self-deluded about his ability to control Hyde. He conceals Hyde’s identity from others as well as from himself.
Edward Hyde is the deformed, depraved secret side of prim and proper Dr. Jekyll. What does he do for a living? What is his means of support? No one knows or dares to ask. The sight of him repulses others; Utterson regards him as half-human, half-animal; and Jekyll calls him “evil.” A murderer many times over he kills Sir Danvers Carew, Dr. Jekyll, and himself.
Richard Poole is Jekyll’s devoted butler. Unable to help his master, he turns to Utterson for help. He and Utterson discover Hyde’s body and a letter of confession from Dr. Jekyll.
This tightly connected cast of characters provides a wealth of literary symbolism, dialogue, and interactions to hold the attention of even the most reluctant reader. The mystery of Jekyll and Hyde and their symbolic representation of the duality of good and evil in the nature of men is a classic read for high school students.