Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson explores a range of themes, which you can read about on the following pages.


Here, you can read an extract from our study guide: 

One reading of the novella is that Dr Jekyll and his friends are repressed by their obsession with their social position and that Mr Hyde represents freedom from the social concerns that come with being upper-middle class. In this reading, Dr Jekyll is in the wrong for trying to maintain both an upper-middle class and a lower-class position and morality.

The story is set at a time in which the social order is changing and becoming more mixed. This can be seen in the physical setting. For example, although the square in which Dr Jekyll lives is grand, it is near a poor and depressing area. Most of the houses in the square have “decayed from their high estate” and are now home to “all sorts and conditions of men” (p. 16). The back of Dr Jekyll’s house opens onto a small street of shops, inhabited by lower-class people...

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