OWL Magazine Korea

“The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde” by Robert Louis Stevenson

“The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde” is a seminal work in modern literary history. It is now acknowledged even in the field of pathology as well, and in subsequent works, there are instances where characters are referred to as “Jekyll and Hyde” characters when depicting split personalities.

This is a short story by Robert Louis Stevenson, a representative work that satirizes and criticizes the duality of human nature and serves as a precursor to mediums expressing dual personalities. The original novella was published on January 6, 1886, by Longmans, Green, and Co.

The original title, “The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde,” translates into “The Bizarre Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde” in Korean. In 2013, Changbi Publishers released it under the title “The Bizarre Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde,” but in most cases, it is published under the name “Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.”

“The Bizarre Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde”

The contrast between “Dr” and “Mr” in the title of the novella aims to highlight the contrast between a person with social respectability and one without.

There are claims that this book was written under the influence of hallucinogens. Stevenson was being treated with the hallucinogenic drug belladonna at a local hospital during the time of writing. Hence, there’s speculation that this book might have been inspired by his accidental experiences with drugs, which gave him a sense of loss of control and delirium.

“A book containing three novellas and snippets of the author’s stories”

In addition to the novella “Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde,” the book also includes two short stories: “The Body Snatcher” and “Olalla.” Lastly, there’s a brief story from the author titled “On Dreams,” where he briefly explains how he derives inspiration for his novel ideas.

  1. Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
  2. The Body Snatcher
  3. Olalla
  4. On Dreams

“On Dreams…”

In the story “On Dreams,” the author introduces how he gets ideas while dreaming. He confesses to writing using ideas obtained from dreams he had while sleeping. In the novella “Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde,” the author used about three scenes seen in his dream to create the story.

The author mentions scenes such as Hyde secretly committing murder, Jekyll transforming into Hyde against his will, which are representative scenes derived from dreams.

“Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde”

The novella “Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde” is the most famous work among those written on the theme of “dual personality.” The plot of the work is as follows:

The protagonist, Dr. Henry Jekyll, hypothesizes that every individual has both good and evil instincts within them. After various experiments, he succeeds in creating a chemical compound that divides his personality into two distinct beings.

One is the original Dr. Jekyll himself, and the other is Edward Hyde, a manifestation of pure evil. They possess opposite personalities, where Dr. Jekyll appears as a gentle gentleman during the day, while Hyde commits various crimes during the night.

Driven by the success of his experiment, Dr. Jekyll creates more drugs to transform into Hyde more frequently. However, over time, he loses control over the inner Hyde. Eventually, he transforms into Hyde even without the drug, and ironically, he needs to take the drug to maintain his Jekyll persona.

Moreover, since the drug was made with impurities from the original ingredients used, he cannot create more, thus forever trapped in the position of living as Hyde. Dr. Jekyll writes a confession using the last drug’s power, then returns to being Hyde, but as Hyde is about to be exposed, he chooses to end his life by poison.

“Influential work on dual personality characters”

The work had a significant impact on the formation of “dual personality” characters. It depicted dual personalities not merely as a mental illness but as actual coexistence of two personalities. Subsequent works dealing with the theme of “dual personality” were mostly influenced by this work.

The character of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde gained worldwide fame compared to the content of the original novella, and the details became well-known. Originally, the revelation that “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde are the same person” was the final twist of the novella.

Initially, the story unfolds without revealing the truth about “Mr. Hyde,” adopting the format of a detective story where Jekyll’s friend Utterson tracks Hyde’s actions. Subsequently, Dr. Lanyon’s narrative and Dr. Jekyll’s confession gradually reveal the truth, following the structure of a detective novel.

“The Body Snatcher”

The second story introduced in the book is “The Body Snatcher,” where a doctor appears. The novel depicts two individuals with medical backgrounds procuring bodies for dissection. It also captures a similar level of eerie atmosphere to “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.”

Even individuals with high social status acquire bodies through illicit means, yet they never mention it openly, depicting the psychology of humans who seek only success and self-preservation.


“Olalla” portrays the bizarre story of a wounded officer receiving nursing care as a guest from a fallen Spanish family. Compared to the other two novels, this one has a relatively brighter atmosphere.

The title character “Olalla” appears as the daughter of the fallen Spanish family and is depicted as the only normal person in the household. She is portrayed beautifully in the eyes of the protagonist, the officer.

The protagonist, an officer, constantly confesses his love and proposes to her, but Olalla ultimately refuses, portrayed as a tragic figure following the traditions of her family.

“A book where you can encounter three short stories by Robert Louis Stevenson”

All three novels included in the book are fascinating reads. In “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” one can experience the subtle psyche of human beings depicted through split personalities. In the novel “The Body Snatcher,” the desire of humans to do anything for power and honor is portrayed. Finally, in the last novel, “Olalla,” it shows the inevitability of humans submitting to fate.

Since the publication of “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” it has had a significant impact not only in academia but also in the field of forensic science and police work. Therefore, it can be said that this novella, although short, has made a profound mark on human history.

“Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde”

  • Author: Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Publication Date: May 26, 2005
  • ISBN-13: 9788901082073
  • Yes24: http://app.ac/qErCEOS43