The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Summary

Mr. Utterson is quite a famous lawyer. Despite him being short-tempered and socially awkward he is a high-class professional and is still very sympathetic. Strict to himself he is ready to forgive the weaknesses of the other people preferring to help and not to blame. Because of that he often finds himself in the role of the last trusted friend of many people who were rejected by society and the last spark of good influence in their lives. This kind of strange friendship connects Mr. Utterson with his distant relative, Mr. Richard Enfield, the famous London party lover and womanizer. They walked together every Sunday, sacrificing all the other plans for that event.

On one of such Sundays they accidentally come to the distant sidestreet in one of the business districts of London. It is a prosperous part of the city, so all the houses look clean and neat except the one that looks grim and abandoned. Mr. Enfield decides to tell Mr. Utterson a strange story related to this building.

One day Mr. Enfield was returning home at three o’clock in the morning and walked along this street. Suddenly he saw a short man, who walked fast ahead of him. The little girl of about nine years old ran across the street in front of the stranger and they collided. The man indifferently stepped over the girl not even noticing her scream. Mr. Enfield rushed forward and grabbed the man near the house gate. The relatives of the girl already ran from the neighboring house surrounding them. Mr. Enfield noticed that they treat their own neighbor with disgust and anger, like it wasn’t the first time he did something similar. The relatives demanded a hundred pounds from the man to pay for the doctor’s care for the poor girl and he, still emotionless, entered his house (the one that looks uninhabited now) and gave the check signed by the Mr. Hyde.

Since that night Mr. Enfield secretly watched that building and found out that Hyde lived there alone. He managed to see Hyde again and was shocked by his appearance. There was nothing particularly ugly in him, but his overall face expression evoked disgust and even hatred, despite Mr. Enfield didn’t know him at all. There was something incredibly wrong with that man.

After hearing the story about Hyde, Mr. Utterson returns home in a troubled mood. He remembers that name, it was mentioned by the one of his client. The next day Mr. Utterson goes into his office and takes from the safe an envelope with testament of Dr. Jekyll inside. According to it the aforementioned Dr. Jekyll bequeaths all his property to his friend Edward Hyde, not only in the case of Dr. Jekyll’s death but also after his sudden disappearance or unexplained absence for more than three months. This testament seemed strange for Mr. Utterson from the very day when it was signed. Now he starts suspecting that Hyde blackmailed or threatened kindhearted Dr. Jekyll into writing it. He asks his friends about Mr. Hyde but no one heard that name before. Even the friend of Dr. Jekyll, Dr. Lanyon says that he didn’t see Jekyll for a long time and he never mentioned Mr. Hyde in their talks.

Intrigued, Mr. Utterson starts watching Dr. Jekyll’s house waiting for Hyde to come. Finally his patience is rewarded. He never seen Hyde before, but he immediately felt something repulsive after seeing the short silhouette. Hyde was pale, with unpleasant smirk on his face. His voice was quiet and squeaky, but even all that can’t be a reason for such a primal fear and disgust Mr. Utterson feels. The lawyer is now sure that Hyde isn’t friend of poor Mr. Jekyll, this demonic man did something bad to him.

Mr. Utterson turns around the corner right after Hyde goes away and knocks at the door of Dr. Jekyll, but his client is not at home. The neighbours said that Dr. Jekyll didn’t return home for a long time. With a heavy heart the lawyer returns home, unable to stop thinking about the strange testament.

But two weeks later Dr. Jekyll reappears and arranges a party like nothing happened. Mr. Utterson, who is also invited, tries to talk about the testament in private, but the topic is clearly vulnerable for Dr. Jekyll. He quite roughly refuses to discuss his decision, asking Mr. Utterson to stay away from his personal business and just give the envelope to Mr. Hyde when the time comes. The lawyer has no options but to agree with his client.

Almost a year later London was shaken by a brutal crime. The victim is a rich and respected man and the only witness of the murder is a woman working as a maid in the neighboring house, who was alone in the house at the time. She wasn’t able to sleep that night and sat near her window looking outside. She saw two gentlemen, one was an elderly man, though still very handsome, the other was short, ugly and extremely repulsive. The maid depicts Mr. Hyde very clearly with all his traits and continues her story. The men started arguing and suddenly Hyde became enraged. He knocked down the elderly man and violently beat him with his cane and his boots. The woman fell unconscious because of terror. At two o’clock at night she returned to her senses and called the police. The cane that was the weapon of the murderer was broken and the killer took one part with him. The police found a letter to Mr. Utterson in the pocket of the victim.

In the morning the lawyer comes to the police department and identifies the murdered victim - it is Sir Danvers Carew. Having learned that the police suspects Hyde, the lawyer tells everything he knows about his house. The investigator doesn’t find the murderer there, but they see the missing part of the cane. Now Hyde’s guilt is undeniable. However he himself is nowhere to be found: Hyde has no friends, no relatives and no one can describe his look except the overall feeling of disgust.

Mr. Utterson goes to see Dr. Jekyll again. His butler, Poole, escorted the lawyer to the building in the backyard where Dr. Jekyll made his chemical laboratory. Dr. Jekyll remade the whole house to meet his purposes and now he looks more like the workplace of the scientist. When Mr. Utterson enters the laboratory, a strange unsettling feeling overwhelms him. Dr. Jekyll, pale and exhausted, greets him and assures that he had renounced Hyde forever. Dr. Jekyll gives a letter to the lawyer - Mr. Hyde writes that he finally found a safe haven and wouldn’t bother Dr. Jekyll or anyone else anymore. Mr. Utterson reads this letter with relief but something still bothers him. Before he leaves, the lawyer asks Poole who was the messenger who brought the letter from Mr. Hyde. But Poole answers with surprise that there was no messenger.

Mr. Utterson decides to consult his senior clerk about that, showing him the letter from Mr. Hyde. The clerk is an amateur graphology expert. He comes up with the idea to compare Dr. Jekyll’s and Mr. Hyde’s handwritings and it appears that they are too similar to belong to different people. Mr. Utterson understands with fear that Dr. Jekyll wrote a fake letter to cover the killer.

Time passes. The police searches for Hyde but there are no traces of him, as if he had never existed. But Dr. Jekyll, on the contrary, looks like he was born anew. He resumes relations with his friend, is engaged in charity projects and seems to enjoy life. He looks happy for more than two month. But later, Dr. Jekyll again closes himself in his house and Poole says his master doesn’t accept guests anymore. Shocked, Mr. Utterson goes to Dr. Lanyon again just to see his friend terrified out of his mind. Dr. Lanyon says that he survived a great shock and won’t recover from it for the rest of his life. He refuses to talk about Dr. Jekyll saying that that man is now dead for him. Mr. Utterson writes a letter to Dr. Jekyll asking what is happening - and on the very next day he receives an answer. Dr. Jekyll writes that he made something terribly wrong and now is going to bear his heavy burden alone, never leaving his home.

Two weeks later Dr. Lanyon passes away. He leaves an envelope to Mr. Utterson asking him to open it only before his death. Inside it there is another envelope, with the words “Do not open until death or disappearance of Dr. Henry Jekyll”. Overcoming the temptation to open the envelope immediately, Mr. Utterson puts it into a safe and tries to live his life without being too curious. He still occasionally visits the house of Dr. Jekyll, but no one opens the door and gradually Mr. Utterson ceases to go there.

Mr. Utterson continues walking with Mr. Anfield. One day, walking past the Dr. Jekyll’s house they see the house owner sitting near the window. He looks even more pale and exhausted than before. Mr. Utterson tries to talk to him, but Dr. Jekyll looks at him with an unspeakable despair and immediately slams the door shut.

More time passes and one evening terrified Poole suddenly knocks at the Mr. Utterson’s door. He says that Dr. Jekyll again has locked himself in his laboratory and never exited it in a week. Poole believes that something awful and possible criminal happened there. Mr. Utterson immediately follows Poole back to Dr. Jekyll’s house to see all the servants, horrified even more, gathered in the hall of the house. They say that they heard a strange voice from behind the laboratory door and it didn’t belong to their master.

Poole tells Mr. Utterson that the only order they got was a note from Dr. Jekyll in which he demanded some special kind of drug then again and again. Later, Poole saw a disgusting man, searching for something in the boxes in the laboratory. Seeing Poole he shrieked like a rat and ran away through the window. The butler is sure he saw Hyde.

Mr. Utterson decides that they need to break into the lab. He loudly demands from anyone who is inside to open the door, but hears only the strangely light steps, that sounded unlike the doctor’s heavy pace and then the sound of a falling body. That is enough for Mr. Utterson and he breaks the door immediately just to see the body shuddering in agony. Mr. Utterson and Poole turn the body and see that it is indeed Edward Hyde. The lawyers smells bitter almond and realizes that the evildoer poisoned himself with cyanide.

Mr. Utterson and Poole carefully search the laboratory, but Dr. Jekyll, dead or alive, is not here. In the study the large parcel lies on the table with the name of Mr. Utterson written on it. The lawyer opens it and sees the new testament, in which Dr. Jekyll bequeaths everything he has to him, Mr. Utterson. In a short note Dr. Jekyll says a heartfelt farewell to the lawyer and adds that his confession is inside the envelope that comes with the testament. Mr. Utterson immediately tears the envelope and sees two letters inside. The first one is from Dr. Lanyon who was the witness of everything Dr. Jekyll went through.

Dr. Lanyon writes that once he received a letter from his friend Dr. Jekyll. He asked him to immediately go to his house, break the laboratory door and take the box with drugs, some particular glasses and a thick notebook from the closet. Then Dr. Lanyon should give all that to the person who would come and ask for it. Dr. Jekyll wrote that his life depended on that.

Despite his doubts, Dr. Lanyon did what he was asked for and waited for the night to come. At the night, a strange man, short and incredibly repulsive, who seemed to be hiding from the police and other people. Dr. Lanyon overcame his desire to immediately slam the door shut in front of that horrible aberration pretending to be a man, but the stranger said that he came from Dr. Jekyll and he needed the drugs and the notebook.

When the man saw the box, he let out a sobbing sigh of such relief that Dr. Lanyon felt almost sorry for him for a minute. He quickly mixed some of the drugs with the liquid, using the guidelines from the notebook and asked for permission to leave the house without any explanation. Dr. Lanyon didn’t agree and the man drank the potion he prepared. He cried in pain, starting to painfully change, becoming taller and slimmer, and finally horrified Dr. Lanyon saw his friend, Dr. Jekyll, in front of him. Dr. Jekyll sat near his friend and started talking about everything he did as Mr. Hyde. His tears of repentance didn’t make the story any less awful. It was the night after Carew was killed.

The second letter was from Henry Jekyll himself and it explained everything. He starts from the short autobiography that explained some of his traits: his curiosity, lack of morales and the desire for pleasure he can’t control. According to Dr. Jekyll, his personality was literally split up in two halves. One his side wanted to be a worthy member of society who deserves respect, but the other was ready to sacrifice anything for the sake of immediate satisfaction. This unsolvable conflict led Henry to the decision that was his biggest mistake in his life - to create two separate identities of himself.

A gifted chemist, Dr. Jekyll started his research. Finally he managed to find a substance that was capable of changing the human body. He made a significant amount of it from the ingredients that one could find in every pharmacy. One night he finally made the dose for himself and drank it. He remembered pain and terror, it was almost and agony - then he returned to his senses feeling like a plague survivor after a long fever. He looked at himself and discovered that he was younger and stronger than before and no longer constrained by morals and duty. That night Edward Hyde was born.

Dr. Jekyll allowed his evil side to have own body, independent shell that reflected that side of his personality. But still, Hyde was shorter and smaller than the original Jekyll, representing that he was still only the half of the integrated personality. Hyde’s face wasn’t particularly hideous, but the lack of anything that could be called good, left a mark on it, making the people around feel disgust they could not rationalise. Understanding that and thoroughly noting the results, he drank the potion again and fell onto the floor waking up as Henry Jekyll.

But after that night Dr. Jekyll made not only an experiment. His dark side got loose for the first time and he became immediately addicted to the freedom it had. Dr. Jekyll rented a separate room for Mr. Hyde and wrote his first testament that would raise Mr. Utterson’s curiosity later. As Hyde he indulged every pleasure he could even think of - but the more he did the stronger Mr. Hyde grew thus weakening the good side, Dr. Jekyll.

Soon after his first murder, Dr. Jekyll went to sleep as himself but woke up as Hyde, without any drugs. He understood that Hyde was so strong to become his main side of the personality. Dr. Jekyll decided to make a final choice and chose the elderly doctor, dissatisfied with life but respected by friends. But he didn’t have enough willpower to survive the abstinence and soon he again composed a drug to wake up Hyde.

Hyde killed a person again and that time he didn’t want to disappear again. Gathering the rest of his will Dr. Jekyll came into existence for the mere hours and wrote a letter to his friend Dr. Lanyon. But the effect of the drug he made that time didn’t last for long. Dr. Jekyll understood that he came too far and now Hyde controlled it all. He could become himself again only after drinking his own invention.

In despair Dr. Jekyll closed himself in the laboratory trying to invent more effective drugs but in vain. When he had only last dose left, he wrote that letter and another testament. Looking in the mirror to see his real face for the last time he added last lines to his letter - he didn’t care anymore what would happen with Mr. Hyde, because he, the ill-fated but real Henry Jekyll, died now.

It remains unclear who of the two drank the cyanide, unable to bear that life anymore.