Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

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Bachelorhood and Friendship Theme Analysis

Themes and Colors
Science, Reason and the Supernatural Theme Icon
The Duality of Human Nature Theme Icon
Reputation, Secrecy and Repression Theme Icon
Innocence and Violence Theme Icon
Bachelorhood and Friendship Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.
Bachelorhood and Friendship Theme Icon

Like many stories of Robert Louis Stevenson’s era, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde shows a world dominated by men and most of the featured characters are male. The streets of London, where all this violence takes place, are painted by the writer as a masculine society, particularly full of academic, well-educated men who keep in each other’s confidence and entertain a certain level of professional respect. Utterson and Jekyll are old friends, for example, and see each other often socially, but Jekyll also entrusts Utterson with his financial affairs, and so the relationship is both personal and professional. Lanyon and Jekyll are also old friends and dine together, but are first and foremost important to each other as professional rivals.

But though the male oriented society is perhaps not surprising for the time period, all of the main male characters are single bachelors. Traditional family life is unexplored in the book. This gives the personal lives of Utterson, Jekyll and others a lonely, isolated feeling. They live alone. They visit each other and then depart, but even their social calls have something that feels official about them. It is implied that the social constructs for these men, who have to deal with money, law, and science, may be taking them away from the communal traditions of family and friendship, and perhaps even religion, so that these men must relate to each other in a different, distanced way rather than talking face to face.

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Bachelorhood and Friendship ThemeTracker

The ThemeTracker below shows where, and to what degree, the theme of Bachelorhood and Friendship appears in each chapter of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Click or tap on any chapter to read its Summary & Analysis.
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Bachelorhood and Friendship Quotes in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Below you will find the important quotes in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde related to the theme of Bachelorhood and Friendship.
Chapter 1 Quotes

"I feel very strongly about putting questions; it partakes too much of the style of the day of judgment. You start a question, and it's like starting a stone. You sit quietly on the top of a hill; and away the stone goes, starting others…”

Related Characters: Mr. Enfield (speaker)
Page Number: 52
Explanation and Analysis:

In the first chapter of the novel, Mr. Enfield proceeds to tell Mr. Utterson about his impressions of a mysterious, violent man named Mr. Hyde. Enfield has had some limited interactions with Mr. Hyde, but he's very reluctant to talk about them--indeed, he protests to Utterson that to answer questions about Hyde is a "slippery slope." Enfield would prefer to ignore Mr. Hyde and Hyde's violent behavior altogether.

Right away, Stevenson suggests that Enfield and Utterson are repressed and reserved--in short, they're stereotypical Victorian gentlemen. Rather than root out evil and violence in their society, they'd prefer to sweep it under the rug. This theme of repression and secrecy is crucial to the novel, as Stevenson draws an important connection between Dr. Jekyll's own repressed evil and Jekyll's friends' willingness to repress their knowledge of Jekyll's evil. In such a way, Stevenson could be said to criticize the repressive Victorian society that allows evil to survive as long as it's just out of sight.


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Chapter 2 Quotes

“He began to go wrong, wrong in mind; and though of course I continue to take an interest in him for old sake's sake, as they say, I see and I have seen devilish little of the man. Such unscientific balderdash," added the doctor, flushing suddenly purple, "would have estranged Damon and Pythias."

Related Characters: Dr. Hastie Lanyon (speaker), Dr. Jekyll
Page Number: 57
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Dr. Lanyon, one of Dr. Jekyll's oldest friends, complains that Dr. Jekyll has changed greatly in recent months. Where once Jekyll was calm, rational, and kind, he's become deeply "unscientific," experimenting with strange chemicals and potions and disappearing for days at a time. ("Damon and Pythias" alludes to a famous Greek story about two close friends--Lanyon is saying that he's a good friend to Jekyll, but Jekyll's behavior is trying their friendship.)

Lanyon fails to respect the near-magical nature of Dr. Jekyll's experimenting. Lanyon dismisses Jekyll's current work as "unscientific," and indeed, Jekyll's potion is almost magical in its power (it's capable of transforming Jekyll into Hyde). In short, Lanyon could be said to embody the 19th century spirit of enlightenment and logic, while Jekyll, via his experiments, embodies the "dark side" of the era--emotion, violence, and cruelty.

Chapter 6 Quotes

The death of Sir Danvers was, to his way of thinking, more than paid for by the disappearance of Mr. Hyde. Now that that evil influence had been withdrawn, a new life began for Dr. Jekyll. He came out of his seclusion, renewed relations with his friends, became once more their familiar guest and entertainer…

Related Characters: Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde
Page Number: 80
Explanation and Analysis:

After the death of Sir Danvers, Dr. Jekyll begins to change his ways. Instead of being unreliable and constantly secluded, he becomes outgoing and social once more (unbeknownst to Utterson, Jekyll has become social again because he's not transformed into Hyde half the time).

Jekyll is operating under the naive belief that he can control Hyde forever, or just quit him "cold turkey." Jekyll is so confident that the good, rational part of his soul is in control that he surrounds himself with friends and well-wishers again as if nothing happened. In reality, Mr. Hyde hasn't gone away at all--on the contrary, Hyde is lurking just below the surface, waiting for the right time to strike. As we've heard, sin has no statute of limitations--once Mr. Hyde, always Mr. Hyde.

Chapter 9 Quotes

“Think of me at this hour, in a strange place, labouring under a blackness of distress that no fancy can exaggerate, and yet well aware that, if you will but punctually serve me, my troubles will roll away like a story that is told. Serve me, my dear Lanyon and save

Your friend, H.J.”

Related Characters: Dr. Jekyll (speaker)
Related Symbols: Letters and Documents
Page Number: 103
Explanation and Analysis:

In this long letter, Dr. Jekyll--who, we'll see, has been transformed into Mr. Hyde unexpectedly--begs his old friend Dr. Lanyon to go into his house, obtain some chemicals and test tubes, and bring them to Mr. Hyde so that Hyde can have a way of transforming back into Jekyll and avoiding arrest.

It's important to note that Dr. Jekyll himself doesn't say anything about why he needs Lanyon to follow his instructions--instead of explaining himself, he invokes his long, close friendship with Lanyon. Furthermore, Lanyon complies with Jekyll's wishes, recognizing that their friendship is more than enough reason to obey. Jekyll's letter is important because it clarifies the relationship between good, evil, and trust. As Lanyon has said (see quotes above), the truth is often too horrible to bear--therefore, there are times when truth must be concealed or repressed, as we often see with the characters of this novel. It's precisely because the truth must be concealed that friendship and trust are so important--because Lanyon has been friends with Jekyll for a long time, he goes along with Jekyll's requests, no questions asked.