Jekyll and Hyde Were Supposed To Be The Same Person
It is the year 1886, and Dr. Henry Jekyll has empowered himself to discover another side of his desires and necessities. Dr. Jekyll must uphold a status quo so without humiliating himself he successfully does so by transforming into a dwarf who is sadistic and hateful. An article by Charles Campbell of Sultan Qaboos University attempts to explain the following questions: “What does Hyde represent?” and “Why do women seem absent from the story?”. The article suggests that Hyde is a character who represents a “male sadist” (Campbell 310). The author of this article also attempts to discredit another critic who implied that there were no women present in the story when in fact, Campbell says otherwise. The women in the story are victims or witnesses of Hyde’s crime.
The author argues that understanding this is crucial because it allows the reader to see the “suppression of sexuality and the resulting sadistic behavior of men” (Campbell 310). Prior to reading this article, personally, the thought of sadistic men and the presence of women did not occur to me. However, it is my argument that these factors are important to acknowledge because it helps the reader see a different perspective of Robert Stevenson’s intentions for Hyde, women clearly serve a major role in this story, and the idea of sadism is an explanation to Hyde’s behavior. To begin with, I would like to review how this article made me look at a different perspective. When I read this story, I thought it was very interesting, and it had me hooked.
However, when I realized that Jekyll and Hyde were meant to be the same person, I was thrown completely off guard. After reading this article, I can say that the malicious activity in the story was completely insane, but now I realize it truly is all just sadism. Campbell suggests that the men of the story are all shown “as lawyers, doctors, scientists, and sadists; they are are associated with fog, lights, and interiors”. This is true as can be seen in the text as examples where it reads: “MR. UTTERSON the lawyer…”, “…Henry Jekyll, M.D., D.C.L., LL.D., F.R.S., etc.,”. In another section of the story, the fog was present when Hyde interacts with the maid who lives alone. The theme and presence of sadism exists when the story says “…he was trampling his victim under foot and hailing down a storm of blows, under which the bones were audibly shattered, and the body jumped upon the roadway.” The violence of this murder shows what kind of person Hyde is and what his significance is to Jekyll and Stevenson’s intentions.
Another significant acknowledgment that the article makes is that women are very much present in this story despite some critics claims that they are not. Campbell suggests that “women are the city as sexuality, innocence, sentiment, and victims; they are associated with street life, the outside of buildings and doors”. We see a theme of weakness in the women in this story. From my interpretation the women are the victims in the story. For example, when the maid witnesses the murder of the Carew, she faints at the horror site. Throughout the entire story there are no optimistic qualities or positive roles played by females only negatives. It is quite noticeable of the prominent male role in the story. It seems that in the Victorian era the position of women exists only to be prostitutes and maids who witness murders.
The central idea of sadism is exhibited in Hyde’s behavior throughout the story. In one example the text reads “then came the horrible part of the thing; for the man trampled calmly over the child’s body and left her screaming on the ground”. It is repeatedly noticed that Hyde is a violent character who inflicts pain on those who are innocent. Campbell’s attempt to explore the sadism presented in this story helps the reader understand why Hyde’s character was so malevolent. Stevenson represents an alternative personality of Dr. Jekyll through Hyde’s character. There are attempts to answer how the story aligns with the “id” or the “Freudian unconsciousness”. The id consciousness is solely powered by impulse where one feels zero regret for their actions.
In my opinion, Hyde is a great example of Jekyll’s id because he does not feel sorry for his actions, and he acts primarily off his own instincts. Sadism is driven by Jekyll’s id and for Hyde to be the id, he exhibits sadism. Overall, the article presents great points which I agree with. To reiterate, Campbell suggests that women indeed do play an important role in the story because they present innocence and are victims to the sadism. The article gave me a different perspective of Stevenson and why he chose to make women a minority which is normal in the Victorian era even though they are of importance to the themes. The idea of sadism is used to explain Hyde’s behavior throughout the article as well. All three of these components made this article worth reading into.