Monday, January 21, 2013

A Review of 'The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde' by Robert Louis Stevenson

"Stevenson's famous exploration of humanity's basest capacity for evil, 'The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,' has become synonymous with the idea of a split personality.  More than a morality tale, this dark psychological fantasy is also a product of its time, drawing on contemporary theories of class, evolution, criminality, and secret lives."

This is a classic horror story, so I was very excited to read this book for my Irish and Scottish Literature course.  However, I wasn't as impressed as I thought or hoped I would be.

I liked the general plot line.  A man with a split personality-- one is a perfect gentleman who never does anything wrong while the other is a loose cannon, a menace to society, the unleashed form of Dr. Jekyll.  I liked how Dr. Jekyll just decided to due away with his 'good' persona and give in to the 'bad.'

I didn't like how Robert Louis Stevenson seemed to assume that one must be completely good or completely bad.  Maybe it was just simpler to tell the story this way, but I really hated the separation of these two major aspects of a being.  One cannot be completely good without a little bad, because otherwise, what would they be?  We can't know good without the bad.  They're relative terms.

This could partially be a personal problem, but I was having trouble keeping up with minor characters.  I don't think that I was really given a reason to care about them and they weren't particularly memorable.  I'm a reader who thrives on well-written characters, and this story just didn't have them to the degree that I was hoping for.

This wasn't an altogether unpleasant read, but it's not a book that I would like to read again.  I feel really guilty saying this about a classic read...

I give 'The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde':
Thanks for Reading!


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