The social order

In Robert Louis Stevenson’s Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, maintaining the social order is very important to the upper-middle class social circle of Mr Utterson, Dr Lanyon, and Dr Jekyll. They are friends out of habit and because they share similar backgrounds: “these two were old friends, old mates both at school and college, both thorough respecters of themselves and of each other.” (p. 12)

They are all deeply concerned for their own reputations and for their friend’s reputations. For example, when Mr Hyde is accused of murder, Mr Utterson is afraid that Jekyll’s reputation might be damaged by the case: “ ‘If it came to a trial, your name might appear.’ ” (p. 25). Like Mr Utterson, Dr Lanyon wants to avoid damaging another man’s honor or reputation. Even when he learns the horrible truth about Dr Jekyll and says that he considers Jekyll to be dead (...

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