Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a gothic novella by the Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson published in 1886. It is about a London lawyer (Utterson) who investigates strange occurrences between his old friend, Dr. Henry Jekyll, and the evil Edward Hyde. The appearances seen in this book are intriguing and at the same time, fanciful.
To begin with, we use to define an appearance as “the way a person or thing looks to other people” (Cambridge, dictionary, 2018). According to the book, Jekyll lives a life in which he cannot be himself, he has to be a perfect doctor who help sick people and his daily life is bored, without adventure and adrenalin. For that reason, appears Hyde, an evil, ugly, rude, and disrespectful man who lives an adventurous, risky and murderer life; Hyde doesn’t worry about what people think of him.
This book was made in the Victorian era, for that reason all people had to live in apparent of what they did and how they lived. The proletariat was seen as a lower class than the rich people, therefore, they thought that the working class could not acquire many luxuries and tastes that the upper class could. In this era, it was better to hide a bad side or problems in the home because a good reputation was important, and many advances in science and medicine were seen. Jekyll, who was a doctor, had the ability to create many poisons and new medicines with one goal: to create an independent life in which he could be an evil person. For that reason, Hyde appears, a man who changes Jekyll’s life and makes him lose control.
Stevenson explains to the reader that humans have lots of different sides and personal appearances to each other and not just one. Among the book, the appearances are in many scenes, not only in the characters, also in the settings of the chapters. One example, could be Jekyll´s house, in one side, the book tells that Jekyll´s house is “a large, low-roofed comfortable hall, paved with flags, warmed by a bright open fire, and furnished with costly cabinets of oak”. (Stevenson, 2000, chapter 2)
But on the other side, Hyde’s house is “It seems scarcely a house. There is no other door, and nobody goes in or out of that one. There are three windows looking on the first floor; none below; the windows are always shut, but they’re clean. And then there is a chimney, which is generally smoking; so somebody must live there. And yet it’s not so sure; for the buildings are so packed together about that court, that it’s hard to say where one ends and another begins.” (Stevenson, 2000, chapter 1)
The appearance of both lives are represented in one house with different descriptions.
To sum up, our society on a daily basis has many appearances of what we do, what we think or what we say. People judge people only by their appearance, and it is inevitable not to look and judge a person who wears dirty clothes or without a good presentation, but we must learn to see inside the person, and not just the appearance. Many questions are intriguing in this book, such as why is Dr. Jekyll so concerned with keeping up appearances? And what appearance is he trying to keep? Jekyll in this book, wants to free himself, discover a new side of him, and society at that time did not accept a person who showed badness and rude characteristics, therefore, he wants to hide Hyde’s side because life being Hyde not it’s so nice, the murders that he committed and the concern that this leads.