Mr Utterson is presented to the audience as a trustworthy individual; his readily displayed sense of loyalty and allegiance to his existing friendships is proof of this, particularly in regard to Dr Jekyll when he believes he is being blackmailed by Mr Hyde. Stevenson makes this a noteworthy characteristic of Utterson’s due to the fact that he narrates the novel which allows the reader to believe his discoveries and version of events. Stevenson does this strategically in order to create a level of credibility in the eyes of the audience. His controlled and slightly repressed personality, typical of a gentleman in the time period, conveys the image of a man who is both willing to abandon his vices for the greater good, and always follow a high moral ground.
The entire character of Mr Gabriel Utterson is rooted in the idea that he is a respectable, reputable man. He is a lawyer, which would earn his way into high society, subsequently making him subject to the societal expectations of gentlemen in his socio-economic position. He is described as “the last good influence in the lives of down-going men” which could insinuate that Mr Utterson is the very last of publicly reputable men whom don’t participate in dirty deeds privately, as well as a commentary on the fact that he is a lawyer, and “down-going men” could literally refer to criminals he must defend in the court of law.
Being a lawyer, naturally, Mr Utterson would have to deal with different people daily, and therefore would have acquired an aptitude for acceptance and diplomacy. Subjectivity and his personal biases would be expected to be reserved for a non-professional, private setting. Mr Utterson is said to have ‘had an approved tolerance of others’. He typically does not apply his opinions until he has carefully weighed out the evidence in order to support his opinions, which is what occurs with regard to Mr Hyde- Utterson only asserts he is a violent, untrustworthy individual after he gathers he may be blackmailing his dear friend, and tramples a young girl. Generally, he might be considered a good judge of character considering he recognises traits and supports them with objective evidence, however he doesn’t realise his best friend is lying and living a damaging, double life for an extensive period of time, which removes some of Utterson’s investigative credibility.
Mr Utterson is definitely the detective in the novel. His curious and determined nature fuels his desire to get to the bottom of the mystery of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. He probes and questions Dr Jekyll when he feels things do not add up and is not afraid to take matters into his own hands. ‘I shall be Mr Seek’ conveys his desire to find out the truth. Despite being slightly grey in character, his desire to solve the issue at hand is what makes his narrative exciting and essentially forms the plot of the novel.