The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

I've wanted to read Robert Louis Stevenson's The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde for ages, but it wasn't until I started watching the new TV show (Jekyll and Hyde) that I actually made it a point to pick up the original short story. 

When it comes to Gothic literature like this, it could go one of two ways for me: either I'll be bored out of my mind like I was with Mary Shelley's Frankenstein or I'll be completely enamoured like I was with Bram Stoker's Dracula. Luckily, this turned out to be a Dracula-esque experience. 

I knew the basics of the story: dude takes a potion, turns into another dude, wreaks havoc. But I have to admit, most of my information came from the Looney Tunes episode "Hyde and Go Tweet" where Tweety turns into a monster and the other Looney Tunes episode were Bugs meets Dr. Jekyll himself ("Hyde and Hare"), so I didn't really know details.

One thing I didn't realize was how the story was told. Three quarters of it is from the point of view of Mr. Utterson, Dr. Jekyll's friend and lawyer, while the last quarter is recounted through letters from Dr. Lanyon (another friend) and Dr. Jekyll himself. It's an interested way to present the story, and I wonder how frustrating it was to read when it originally came out. 

Even as good shone upon the countenance of the one, evil was written broadly and plainly on the face of the other.

The writing is eloquent, the story tight and surprisingly well-developed for something so short, and, even if you know who Mr. Edward Hyde really is, the reveal and subsequent explanation still packs a punch. It's also fascinating to read Jekyll's defense, that in creating Hyde he was giving himself an outlet to his "undignified" pleasures (which aren't named, but I'm sure you can guess what he was implying), an act that was never meant to take over his usual good-nature. 

I was no more myself when I laid aside restraint and plunged in shame, than when I laboured, in the eye of day, at the furtherance of knowledge or the relief of sorrow and suffering.