Mr Hyde Character Traits


Hyde is a man of violence, and lacks empathy completely. Where Jekyll is a mixture of good and evil, Hyde is pure malice. He is described as “a man who was without bowels of mercy”, and this is particularly well depicted in the murder of Sir Danvers Carew, which was completely unprovoked. Hyde took “delight” in the murder, which highlights the fact that Hyde enjoys violence more than the average man. This evil nature of his is reflected in the way Stevenson constructs his appearance. He is left with “an imprint of deformity and decay” making him a bad apple inside and out. Stevenson also uses a variety of zoomorphisms when describing Hyde, giving him ape-like features. This illustrates to the audience that (in accordance with Darwinism) Hyde might be slightly more primitive than most people within the Victorian society.


The fact that Jekyll refers to Hyde in third person “He, I say- I cannot say, I” adds to the idea that Mr Hyde is a stranger, even within his own body. He is a part of Jekyll personified, and yet Jekyll himself finds it hard to be familiar with his own creation. He’s also both unknown and known completely by Jekyll. The presumption that one would know themselves exists, alongside the idea that because they’re of same mind and body, Jekyll would know what Hyde is capable of, however that doesn’t stop Hyde from murdering Sir Danvers Carew and trampling a little girl, and taking “delight” in both of these incidents. We later find out that Jekyll found it harder and harder to control Hyde, however the knowledge of this incapability should be motivation enough to refrain from turning into Hyde again.


From the start of the novel, it is clear that Hyde does not care for Jekyll at all, but rather sees him as a place to conceal himself and avoid the consequences of his actions. This can also be seen through the character’s name. “Hyde” could easily refer to the perfect verb “to hide”, which he actually continues to do within Jekyll, as a means of escaping prosecution for his evil deeds. Hyde is described to have “more than a son’s indifference” whilst Jekyll is said to possess “more than a father’s interest.” The use of familial terminology allows Stevenson to present Jekyll, as Hyde’s creator, as a character who genuinely cares about Hyde. On the other hand, we have Hyde who hates Jekyll, despises his weakness, and is abhorred by the fact that he needs Jekyll to exist, showing some deep desire to be his own person. However, Hyde also “resented the dislike” felt by Jekyll towards him, which shows some deep-rooted desire to feel wanted, almost like a rejected child.


Stevenson very often assigns Hyde animalistic features, which helps to illustrate the fact that Hyde, in comparison to Jekyll, is a primitive individual. Jekyll’s narrative explicitly refers to Hyde as “…the animal within me licking the chops of memory;” which depicts Hyde as a caged predator of sorts, more so than an individual of his own. Descriptions such as ”My devil had been long caged, he came out roaring” and “Ape-like fury” highlight the idea that Hyde cannot be controlled much alike a wild animal, which would put Jekyll at a complete disadvantage in terms of trying to “tame” Hyde. Furthermore, this elucidates that Hyde has the capability to overpower Dr Jekyll- we’re aware of Hyde’s intelligence, making him much more dangerous as it is shown the most intelligent of animals torture their prey before consuming it; we can see Hyde does this by emotionally tormenting Jekyll before eventually leading to his suicide.