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Who Are You?
on 27 November 2015
First published back in 1886 Stevenson’s novella has even given the language a saying in the phrase Jekyll and Hyde. The story itself is told in a multiple narrative form as the lawyer, Utterson pieces together what has happened. Although nowadays as the story is so famous and even those who have never read it before know what it is about, we forget when it was first published this was also a mystery, as the first readers would not immediately know that the two characters of Jekyll and Hyde were the same person.
A success on both sides of the Atlantic it is quite easy to see why as this is gothic, it is horror, for the first readers a mystery incorporating sensationalist themes, and also a morality tale as well as being allegorical. Its influence on popular culture cannot be overlooked as this story has been used and adapted into numerous other stories and ideas. What for Stevenson was an interest initially in personalities and then inspiration coming from what we now call dissociative identity disorder, which most of us know by its pervious label of multiple personality disorder, led to this fantastic novella being written.
As we see here Jekyll loves the freedom that Hyde gives him to a certain extent and I suspect that this is one reason why this has always remained a popular tale, after all we all lose our temper at times and we all have dark thoughts, and the idea of Hyde gives our imaginations a chance to run free on things that we could do if we didn’t follow our moral constraints.