Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

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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.
Innocence and Violence Theme Icon

Utterson and Enfield’s Sunday walk is a comforting, habitual practice of theirs, but as they pass the fateful street with the strange facade jutting out before them, their quiet is ended. This begins the pattern in the novel of innocence being rudely interrupted by violence. First, the little girl is trampled by Hyde. Then the maid witnesses and is shocked into a faint by Hyde's murder of Carew. The maid also effusively describes the goodness of Hyde’s victim, the old man, whose hair glows like a halo.

The innocence of all of the characters, as they learn more about the awful truth of Jekyll’s condition, is tarnished. They see Hyde and feel a deep personal hatred for him, suggesting their own dark inner urges. Further, as the secret of Jekyll’s split personality is revealed, the theme of innocence and violence becomes more complex, and the characters must face the prospect that the violence and evil that attacks innocence comes not from some outside source, but from within. And it is only tenuously held back.

Innocence and Violence ThemeTracker

The ThemeTracker below shows where, and to what degree, the theme of Innocence and Violence 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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Innocence and Violence 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 Innocence and Violence.
Chapter 1 Quotes

"He is not easy to describe. There is something wrong with his appearance; something displeasing, something down-right detestable. I never saw a man I so disliked, and yet I scarce know why. He must be deformed somewhere; he gives a strong feeling of deformity, although I couldn't specify the point.”

Related Characters: Mr. Enfield (speaker), Mr. Hyde
Related Symbols: The Appearance of Evil
Page Number: 53
Explanation and Analysis:

Mr. Enfield describes the appearance of Mr. Hyde to his friend Mr. Utterson. Enfield notes that Hyde seems hideously ugly, though Enfield can't exactly explain why. Because Mr. Hyde is the embodiment of evil, Mr. Enfield's reaction to Hyde's appearance reflects his attitude toward the abstract concept of evil. Because Enfield is a good, moral man, he naturally rejects Hyde, and just as Enfield finds Hyde ugly without being to specify what, exactly, is ugly about him, Enfield instinctively rejects evil without fully understanding it.

Enfield's observation that Hyde seems "deformed somehow" suggests that evil is a twisted, misshapen version of good. Hyde's deformed appearance could also reflect the fact that at this early stage in the novel, Jekyll's good side is stronger than his bad side--Jekyll (good) is strong, and Hyde (evil) is weak.

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Chapter 4 Quotes

And then all of a sudden he broke out in a great flame of anger, stamping with his foot, brandishing the cane, and carrying on (as the maid described it) like a madman.

Related Characters: Mr. Hyde
Page Number: 69
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Hyde commits a horrible crime; he beats up a defenseless old man, Sir Danvers Carew. Stevenson uses subtly-chosen language to convey the nature of Hyde's evil: he describes Hyde "breaking out" like a flame, suggesting that Hyde is as fierce, angry, and uncontrollable as fire.

Hyde, one could say, is pure "id" (a concept from Freudian psychoanalysis)--he feels an unquenchable need to exercise his own aggression, or whatever other desire he might be feeling, and has no "ego" to check his behavior. Dr. Jekyll feels similar aggressive instincts, but because he's a good man, he knows how to control and repress such instincts. Hyde--the embodiment of all Jekyll's sins and secret desires, has no such restraints on his behavior, and thus, he beats the old man.

An ivory-faced and silvery-haired old woman opened the door. She had an evil face, smoothed by hypocrisy: but her manners were excellent.

Related Symbols: The Appearance of Evil
Page Number: 71
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, the police investigate Hyde's living quarters. An old woman with an evil, "hypocritical" face, lets the police into the room. The woman's face symbolizes some of Stevenson's ideas about the relationship between good and evil. All human beings have a secret desire to do evil, but most people learn how to control or at least conceal such a desire.

The old woman is a great example of a character who plainly desires to do evil, yet she is also an excellent example of the way society prevents people from giving in to their sinful desires. Good manners, it's suggested, help the old woman control her sinfulness--in other words, even though she's thinking nasty thoughts, she's able to conceal her thoughts beneath the facade of politeness. In a way, the old woman--and not Mr. Hyde--represents the real horror of Stevenson's novel. At least Mr. Hyde is clearly evil--someone like the old woman, who conceals her evil behind the appearance of goodness, can be far more dangerous in the long run.

Chapter 6 Quotes

"I have had a shock," he said, "and I shall never recover. It is a question of weeks. Well, life has been pleasant; I liked it; yes, sir, I used to like it. I sometimes think if we knew all, we should be more glad to get away."

Related Characters: Dr. Hastie Lanyon (speaker)
Page Number: 81
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Utterson speaks with Dr. Lanyon. Lanyon has had a horrible shock, and senses that he is going to die very soon (suspend your disbelief, okay?). Lanyon seems unafraid of death--in fact, he implies that he's glad to be at the end of his life, since he's come upon some important and disturbing information recently.

What Lanyon doesn't say (and what we don't know yet) is that he's discovered Dr. Jekyll's secret: Jekyll is Mr. Hyde. Lanyon has accidentally stumbled upon the secret that Jekyll was hiding, and now that he's aware of the truth, he can't bear to live any longer. Lanyon's observation about "knowing all" reinforces the novel's themes of repression and secrecy, suggesting that human happiness hinges on our ignorance of the world around us, and of ourselves. Inside each one of us lurks a Mr. Hyde--once we become aware of such a thing (as Lanyon must be), it becomes difficult to go on living normally, or living at all. 

Chapter 8 Quotes

The hall, when they entered it, was brightly lighted up; the fire was built high; and about the hearth the whole of the servants, men and women, stood huddled together like a flock of sheep.

Related Characters: Mr. Gabriel Utterson, Poole
Page Number: 89
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Mr. UItterson is summoned to Dr. Jekyll's laboratory immediately. There, Utterson is shocked to see Jekyll locked in his room, with the servants of his household gathered around the bright, warm fire.

Stevenson chooses his words very carefully. Notice that the servants are described as being a "flock of sheep," reinforcing their innocent, blissfully ignorant nature. The servants are huddled around a warm, bright fire, a symbol of goodness and virtue (but also a Promethean symbol of the runaway scientific knowledge that has brought Jekyll to his current lowly position!). In contrast, Jekyll is portrayed as being isolated from the rest of society, a slave to his own dark desires. Jekyll has stumbled upon a discovery so horrifying that he can scarcely control it: all human beings have a secret evil side which, once directly outed, can never be fully controlled again. As Stevenson writes, the servants remain blissfully unaware of their own secret potential for evil.

"O, sir," cried Poole, "do you think I do not know my master after twenty years? Do you think I do not know where his head comes to in the cabinet door, where I saw him every morning of my life? No, sir, that thing in the mask was never Dr. Jekyll--God knows what it was, but it was never Dr. Jekyll; and it is the belief of my heart that there was murder done."

Related Characters: Poole (speaker), Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde
Page Number: 93
Explanation and Analysis:

Poole, Dr. Jekyll's old, faithful servant, insists that the figure locked in Dr. Jekyll's study isn't actually Dr. Jekyll at all. Poole has known Jekyll for 20 years, and can clearly tell that the Jekyll he knows is no longer present in the house. Poole's solution to the mystery of Jekyll's disappearance is that someone has murdered Jekyll and taken his place. But as we'll soon discover, the truth is far more disturbing. In reality, Jekyll's own hidden nature has consumed him: he has meddled with science and been punished for his experimentation with an awful curse. Mr. Hyde has finally triumphed over Jekyll: in other words, the evil side of Jekyll's soul has dominated the good.

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.