The Ape-Like Mr. Hyde in Robert Louis Stevenson Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

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The Ape-Like Mr. Hyde in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Throughout The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Dr. Henry Jekyll underwent periods of transformation, transcendence and transgression. During these periods where Dr. Jekyll was Mr. Hyde, Hyde had an impact on several of the characters' lives inhabiting Stevenson's tale. In imagining Hyde, readers are struck by a great sense of who Hyde is with surprisingly little in the way of physical description. We are reminded of the dwarf-like stature and the impression of deformity Hyde leaves upon his onlookers. We are given few other clues, but one trait of Hyde's is almost a certainty-- Hyde possesses simian characteristics.

After Utterson hears Enfeild's story of Mr.
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Hence, according to our main source for much of the text, Utterson, Mr. Hyde at least looks primal.

Aside from just physically looking ape like, Mr. Hyde's movements and behavior are reminiscent of an ape on more than one occasion. Upon an eyewitness account of the murder of the old gentleman, Mr. Carew, the Maid recalls Mr. Hyde killing Carew with "ape-like fury" (Stevenson 15). Later, when Poole and Utterson exchange a word before busting down Dr. Jekyll's door, Poole describes Mr. Hyde as having previously "like a monkey jumped from among the chemicals and whipped into the cabinet" (Stevenson 32).

Upon Hyde's entrance into Lanyon's home, Lanyon possessed "a curiosity as to his [Hyde's] origin, his life ... and status" (Stevenson 39). Although Lanyon does not call Hyde a monkey outright, he does concede that what Jekyll has become is a "creature" by the end of his quite unnerving visit (Stevenson 41). Thus every character in The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde who gaze upon Hyde's form believe him to be at least somewhat not human.

The person in the best position to relate Mr. Hyde to the reader is likely Dr. Jekyll. Jekyll states that in bringing about Hyde, he first "learned to recognize the thorough and primitive duality of man"-- leaving to door open for a regression-like interpretation of Hyde (Stevenson 43). One morning when Dr. Jekyll wakes up he looks down at his hand and notices his hand as "lean,

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