Chapter summaries

Story of the door 

Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson opens with a description of Mr Utterson, a dull but lovable lawyer. He goes for a walk with his cousin Mr Enfield and the two go down a small backstreet, where they spot a neglected old door. This reminds Mr Enfield of something, and he begins to tell Mr Utterson a story. 

One night, Enfield saw a man knock over and trample a little girl. Enfield threatened to tell the world about the incident unless the man gave some money to the girl’s family. The man took Enfield to the neglected door, went inside, and came back with a cheque signed with another man’s name.

Enfield believes that the man was probably blackmailing the person who signed the check. Enfield says that the man, who is called Mr Hyde, is inexplicably horrible and frightening. Mr Utterson believes he knows whose name was signed on the check, but he and Mr Enfield agree not to speak of the subject again. 

Search for Mr Hyde

That evening, Mr Utterson returns home and opens Dr Jekyll’s will, which states that in the case of Jekyll’s death or disappearance, all his possessions should go to Mr Hyde. Having heard Mr Enfield’s story about Mr Hyde, Mr Utterson is worried about this will. He goes to visit his friend Dr Lanyon, who reveals that he has disagreed with Dr Jekyll’s studies and way of life for many years. However, Lanyon has never heard of Mr Hyde. 

From then on, Mr Utterson starts watching the door to the house where Mr Hyde apparently lives. Eventually, he spots Hyde and tries to speak to him, but the conversation doesn’t reveal much. Mr Hyde gives his address (a place in London’s Soho area) and then goes inside. Like Mr Enfield, Mr Utterson finds something repulsive about Mr Hyde. 

Mr Utterson goes to Dr Jekyll’s house, which is in a nearby square. Jekyll’s servant Poole opens the door, saying that Dr Jekyll is not in. Poole also explains that Mr Hyde sometimes visits the house, entering via the door to Jekyll’s laboratory in the backstreet. Mr Utterson goes home again, worrying about the will and about Hyde’s influence over Jekyll. 

Dr Jekyll was quite at ease

Two weeks later, Dr Jekyll hosts a dinner party for his frien...

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