Thursday, October 18, 2012

Scary Books – Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

Even if they haven’t read the book most people are familiar with Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. Published in 1886, Stevenson tackles the idea of what some refer to a split personality. Of course, what he was really getting at is the idea that within each of us there is a beast – a beast that must be suppressed or else it will cause death and destruction wherever it goes. Perhaps this idea is not far removed from Mary Shelley’s themes in Frankenstein. According to his biographers, Stevenson dreamed this story and when he woke up he wrote it all down in a rush. And so we have the story of Dr. Henry Jekyll whose experiments turn him into the monstrous Mr. Hyde. Next to Frankenstein’s monster and Count Dracula there is no monster as well-known as Mr. Hyde. Stevenson is said to have considered his story an allegory for the human condition where certain people are conflicted by the good and evil side of their nature. It all worked beautifully and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is another classic deserving your attention during this Halloween season.

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