Soooo.. not sure about anyone else, but I was ecstatic to finally read a text that was not written by a philosopher. After many weeks of focusing on philosophical texts, reading Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was definitely a healthy alternative. Now prior to reading this text, I have heard quite about it. I always knew the basic concept of the story, with the split personalities, but reading this piece was long over due for me. I thought it was really interesting, and the huge contrast between both personalities just kept me glued to my book.
I’d say that perhaps one of the main things that I particularly enjoyed about this book, were the two characters (well, one technically). Before actually reading this story, the only “split” personalities I’ve ever really been familiar with are the ones we see in graphic novels. Spiderman and Peter Parker, Iron Man and Tony Stark… a seemingly normal individual with a completely, contrasting, alternate life. And this is basically the same case with Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. This duality portrays the battle between an age-old debate: good and evil. It shows how balancing both and trying to keep up with both immensely contrasting views can work for a while but in the end, one side will prevail. Now I obviously wasn’t shocked upon reading that the seemingly harmless Dr. Jekyll exhibits satanic and monstrous traits. However, in spite of his character being an obvious one to every reader, reading this text made me dig deeper and ponder what I believe is one of the underlying messages from Stevenson. The emphasis on dual personalities tells the reader of the evils that lie within each of us. That malevolent voice that lurks within our souls, which at sometimes, and in some instances, prevails over the good in us. That temptation, that desire to give in…. and the man who is Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde exposes this struggle to us.
Anyways, in a nutshell, I found Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde to be both a (very very) refreshing as well as enticing read. I completely loved the whole thing and it shined light on a disorder that people struggle with in reality as well. By reading this, I got a better understanding of just how problematic and serious of a condition this is as well. Reading Dr. Jekyll Mr. Hyde reveals to us, that without a strong sense of will and self-assurance and strength, we have the potential to easily give in to negative influences. But yeah… Can’t wait to hear what everyone else thinks tomorrow!
Though I do enjoy the philosophy books, I agree that after Nietzsche this was a nice, less confusing (though equally as thought-provoking) text. Also, interesting point about the super heroes! It’s true, that in their “double lives” they also sort of portray different personalities of either submissive bystander or brave hero. Though they’re not exactly as extremely different as Jekyll and Hyde, it does seem that there’s pressure from society to force them to hide elements of their true nature, which results in them leading two completely different lives. We all feel the need to hide certain characteristics about ourselves that we fear revealing to the public. And I like that you brought up that the Jekyll/Hyde situation is easy to relate to multiple-personality disorders, as well as, to a lesser extent, Bi-polar disorder. Though I don’t think the text was commenting much on these disorders, they definitely come to mind. Nice post : )