By TheAcidSkull 11 Comments
Was Dr. Jekyll The Victim Or The Villain?
Hey, recently i got to read on of my favorite books of all time, and i thought that the " strange case of Dr.Jekyll and Mr.Hyde" has some interesting topics to offer, and i though this was one of them
Earth acts as a host for many diverse and complex creatures, but when it comes to complexity, nothing is more intricate than the human mind and nature. Animals, unlike the common man, lack the intelligence to break away from their dependency to their instincts, while humans have a lot of opportunity to think things through before they make a decision. Someone might argue and say that beast’s are evil, but that would be untrue, because for someone or something to be truly malevolent, they must first acknowledge that what they are doing is bad. This is something the animals do not posses, they don’t know any better; they only kill to nourish their hunger, while humans, kill for their personal gain. Because of the complicated brain which humans undoubtedly poses, men are usually struggling between good and evil. Even the kindest of all men have a dark secret buried deep within their subconscious, making the desire to cut loose even stronger at times, but the law and society prevents people from becoming animals. This is exactly why some people drink or take drugs in the first place, to Shorty break away from the chains of regulation. The inner battle in which every human being goes through at one point of their lives is excellently expressed in Robert Louis Stevenson novella called “The Strange Case Of Dr.jekyll and Mr. Hyde”. The story revolves around a man who simply spent most of his life suffering and pleasing others, while he himself was left unsatisfied. Because of the fact that he wasn’t able to break away from societies shackles, Henry Jekyll Invented a drug which granted him the ability to become someone or something else, therefore he could have gone wild without anyone knowing. Unfortunately, there is no happy ending, because the poor doctor gets absorbed by his own darkness, leaving only a mere shadow of who he once was. When the reader finishes the novella, they would probably come to the question “was Jekyll really the victim? Or did he get what he deserved? “ .
Dr. Henry Jekyll was a troubled soul and a casualty in this unfortunate event, however, in the long run, once all the factors are taken into account, Henry was a victim of his own crime.
First of all, when one man feels cheated out of something, it becomes very important for him to somehow retrieve that which has been taken away from him. In this specific case, Henry Jekyll had been deprived, in many ways, of his freedom, meaning that that thirst for going wild was never silenced. Jekyll even confirms himself that he had concealed his desires frequently “Hence it came about that I concealed my pleasures; and that when I reached years of reflection, and began to look round me and take stock of my progress and position in the world, I stood already committed to a profound duplicity of me”. Nowadays, there are many ways to cut loose; drinking alcohol is one of the many ways to achieve this goal, however there is another problem which arises. Dr. Jekyll is a well respected man, if he were to start drinking and make a fool out of himself; he would ruin his name amongst the people. This might not seem much at first glance but regaining your name is a very difficult task. In Guy De Maupassant’s short story called “a Piece of String”, we see a man’s reputation completely diminish because of one petty incident. So it’s completely natural for someone of Jekylls status to be afraid to destroy his reputation by some foolish acts. Therefore, in some ways, it is understandable why he made the formula in the first place. However, as an intelligent man, and even further as a man of science, he should have considered all of the possibilities, this wasn’t some simple chemical reaction the doctor was conducting, this was a concoction that has never been made before, so not only was it irresponsible of Henry to use himself as a guinea pig, but it was also very careless of him to not consider the possibility of what would occur should he have taken an overdose of the drug, which brings up the next point.
When a patient is in extreme pain, the doctors have many times used certain drugs to soothe their agony, which sadly has led to these patients becoming drug addicts. What is the most important thing one has to remember when dirking or taking certain drugs for medical reason? Moderation. This is exactly the concept Jekyll simply did not understand, and while one must admit that he came up with an impressive way to deal with his problem, it still doesn’t change the fact that he wasn’t able to cut himself off from the drug when he saw that something was wrong and that Mr. Hyde was becoming much more dangerous. Because of his inability to control the dosage, Jekyll’s abuse of his chemical lead to his ultimate downfall, But then again, this is a general problem when it comes to drugs. Drugs tend to make you dependent on the thrill which you experience; it takes away all the responsibility to which every human being is entitled to, so it’s only natural that giving this feeling up would be extremely hard, especially for someone who has been oppressed his entire life. Also, drugs lead people into becoming delusional, they convince themselves that they can stop anytime’s they want, but that’s also the problem, they DON’T want to stop, and they can’t. No one can solve a problem if they can’t acknowledge the fact that there really is an issue to be dealt with, which is exactly why Jekyll was both the victim and the criminal in this case. It’s his fault that he ended up in this position but he didn’t really want to hurt anyone, he was not in charge of his actions most of the time.
And last but not least, one of the key points in the story is the concept of good Vs evil, so making a point about whether Jekyll was the victim or criminal cannot be done without mentioning Hyde’s role. When Jekyll first transformed, Hyde was born, but he was weak, he wasn’t strong enough to take over. Gradually jekylls Love for life was feeding Hyde, making him more powerful. This is a very complicated matter, on one hand, it can be argued that it was Jekyll who had ruined his life by not being able to stop taking the potion, but on the other, one can state that once Hyde was born, he was slowly urging Jekyll to take the serum over and over again, until inevitably Hyde became the dominant one of the two. If this is the case, Jekyll can’t really be accountable for what had taken place after Hydes growth in power. We see a little of Jekyll’s personality alive in Hyde, so it’s safe to assume that this spark of change happened vice-versa, meaning that Hyde’s influence was strong even when the doctor was himself. There are two notable examples of this. When Jekyll was stuck as Hyde, Poole had overheard him weeping like a woman, now considering Hyde’s stubborn and rigid personality, it is highly unlikely that he would have shed a tear. The other instance would be when Jekyll had Poole search for ingredients for his formula. When no one was able to provide him with what he needed, Hyde/Jekyll had sent a letter to one of the chemists to express his disappointment. In this letter, the change of tone and attitude was evident, even though Hyde had been in full from, Jekylls influence was still there. This indicates that even though Jekyll tried to give up the drug, at his weakest moment, Hyde was there to push him in the wrong direction, but then again, Jekyll isn't really completely innocent, it is his fault for forcing himself into this mess, and his lack of control was what gave Hyde his strength and ferocity.
In Conclusion, when it comes to the subject of Dr.Jekyll, he isn't really that much different from normal humans. Dr. Jekyll is both guilty and innocent in many ways, when he made the drug he could never have imagined what would have happened, and while it IS his fault for being stubborn and reluctant on giving up the serum, we can’t really know for sure if it wasn't Hyde’s influence to go back to using the chemical in the first place.