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

Teacher Guide by Kristy Littlehale

Find this Common Core aligned Teacher Guide and more like it in our High School ELA Category!

Student Activities for The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Include:

In this Gothic novella, Robert Louis Stevenson combines the horrors of the human soul with a disgust for the Victorian importance of reputation. Stevenson delves into the darkest depths of humanity, and seems to discover what Sigmund Freud would not publish for another 15 years: the repression of the id, or the instinctive side of human nature, by the super-ego, or the part of us that holds on to the cultural ideals and rules we were raised with. Stevenson’s wife noted in her reading of his first draft of the novella that it read like an allegory, and indeed, it reflected the Victorian struggle of the "double self." The Victorian society in England was so caught up in morality and virtue, that many things deemed "fun" or "pleasurable" were termed sin. Piano legs were called "limbs" because the word "leg" was thought of as sinful. Stevenson explores this duality of human nature, of virtue for the sake of reputation, versus the need for freedom to keep from going insane - or, even worse, bored.

By the end of this lesson your students will create amazing storyboards like the ones below!




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Doppelgänger?

In the simplest of terms, a doppelgänger is someone’s twin, or double. Often times, doppelgängers are used to reference celebrity lookalikes, or recent interesting news stories where people who look like twins meet on a plane. Sometimes, a doppelgänger can be the "evil twin"; it can also be representative of a double-life.


Psychology: Multiple Personality/Dissociative Identity Disorder

Could Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde ever happen in the real world? Yes! In fact, psychologists currently term this as Dissociative Identity Disorder (also called Multiple Personality Disorder).


Characteristics of DID


Have students look up some famous cases of people diagnosed with Multiple Personality/Dissociative Identity Disorder.


The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Essential Questions

  1. Are humans inherently good, or evil? Why?
  2. What are some of the darknesses that can be found within the human soul?
  3. What kinds of "monsters" does society fear most?
  4. When does science cross a line into "unethical"?
  5. When does freedom become dangerous?
  6. How do people let off steam? Does it help? Why?

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Lesson Plans, Student Activities and Graphic Organizers

Plot Diagram - The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Summary


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A common use for Storyboard That is to help students create a plot diagram of the events from a story. Not only is this a great way to teach the parts of the plot, but it reinforces major events and help students develop greater understanding of literary structures.

Students can create a storyboard capturing the narrative arc in a work with a six-cell storyboard containing the major parts of the plot diagram. For each cell, have students create a scene that follows the story in sequence using: Exposition, Conflict, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution.



The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Plot Diagram

Exposition

On his weekly walk with his friend and kinsman Enfield, Mr. Utterson, a lawyer, finds himself standing in front of a dark and mysterious door on an otherwise nice street. Enfield relates a night when he ran into a man who had to go into that door. He had knocked over a young girl, and rather than cause a scene, he paid off her family using a check in the name of a well-established man in London. Enfield relates that the man who knocked the girl over was named Hyde.


Conflict

With the information from Enfield, Utterson grows increasingly concerned about his friend Dr. Jekyll, who had recently changed his will to instruct that if anything happened to him, everything should be given to Hyde. Utterson is worried that Jekyll is being blackmailed by Hyde. Furthermore, he is increasingly alarmed by Hyde’s appearance, which seems to summon horror and hatred in anyone who observes him.


Rising Action

Late one night, a maid of Dr. Jekyll’s witnesses the brutal beating murder of a Sir Danvers Carew by Edward Hyde. Utterson goes to Jekyll, who assures him that Hyde is gone for good. He gives Utterson a letter from Hyde, which Utterson later suspects Jekyll has forged. Jekyll’s servants are frightened by things they’ve heard and seen in Jekyll’s laboratory, so they summon Utterson. They knock down the door to the laboratory and find Hyde dead from poison.


Climax

After Hyde’s disappearance, Jekyll sent a desperate letter to Dr. Lanyon, begging him to get a drawer from his laboratory. Hyde comes to pick it up, mixes up the contents, and drinks the mixture. He transforms into Henry Jekyll in front of Lanyon’s eyes. Lanyon is so distraught that he dies a few weeks later. He relates all of these events to Utterson in a letter to be opened only in the death or disappearance of Dr. Jekyll.


Falling Action

Utterson next reads a letter from Dr. Jekyll, which was left to him in the laboratory, along with a new copy of Jekyll’s will, leaving everything to Utterson. It relates that all his life, Jekyll felt that there were two sides to himself. Through various experiments, he unleashes Mr. Hyde, who is pure evil and thrilling to be. Eventually, however, Hyde begins to take over Jekyll, and Jekyll begins to fear and hate him.


Resolution

Jekyll refuses to change into Hyde for about two months, but soon, the temptation takes back over. Suppressed for so long, Hyde, in a rage, murders Sir Carew. This scares Jekyll into killing Hyde off for good, but eventually, he gives into temptation again. After this, Hyde begins to take over Jekyll every few hours, and Jekyll runs out of the salt for the solution. He leaves the letter and changed will for Utterson, knowing that Henry Jekyll will soon be gone forever.


Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Plot Diagram

Example

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Student Instructions

Create a visual plot diagram of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.


  1. Separate the story into the Exposition, Conflict, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution.
  2. Create an image that represents an important moment or set of events for each of the story components.
  3. Write a description of each of the steps in the plot diagram.



Plot Diagram Template

Example

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Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Character Map Graphic Organizer

As students read, a storyboard can serve as a helpful character reference log. This log (also called a character map) allows students to recall relevant information about important characters. When reading a novel, small attributes and details frequently become important as the plot progresses. With character mapping, students will record this information, helping them follow along and catch the subtleties which make reading more enjoyable!

Use a character map to help track the different characters that are discussed in The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.


Gabriel J. Utterson

Physical Traits
Rugged countenance; rarely smiles; awkward in conversations; lean, long, dusty and dreary


Character Traits
Somehow likeable overall; enjoys wine; likes to help others; concerned about the welfare of his clients; a good influence on others; modest


Quote
"Jekyll, you know me: I am a man to be trusted. Make a clean breast of this in confidence; and I make no doubt I can get you out of it."



Other characters included in this map are: Dr. Henry Jekyll, Mr. Edward Hyde, Poole and Dr. Hastie Lanyon

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Character Map

Example

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Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Literary Conflict Student Activity


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Storyboarding is an excellent way to focus on types of literary conflict. Have your students choose an example of each literary conflict and depict them using the Storyboard Creator.

In the storyboard, an example of each conflict should be visually represented, along with an explanation of the scene, and how it fits the particular category of conflict.

Literary Conflict Examples from Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

MAN vs. MAN

Dr. Jekyll is scared by the fact that Hyde appeared over the course of the night, without the need for the potion. He feels he needs to choose, and so he repressed Hyde. When he finally gives in and awakens him again, Hyde has become an uncontrollable monster. He is so angry at being held down for so long that he murders Sir Carew for being pleasant. Jekyll is horrified by Hyde, and indeed, sees him as a separate entity from himself.


MAN vs. SELF

Henry Jekyll was born into good fortune, was good and well-respected, and had a guarantee of an honorable and distinguished future. However, it was not enough for him. He craves "irregularities" that give him a "morbid sense of shame." He seeks to find a way to experience both of these sides of his identity without harming his reputation, which leads him to unethical experiments that bring about Hyde.


MAN vs. SOCIETY

Dr. Jekyll’s unethical experiments led him to a severing of his relationship with Dr. Lanyon many years before, because Lanyon does not approve. Jekyll’s dangerous road of unethical experimentation put him at odds with the entire scientific community. These experiments, once he changes into Hyde, also put him at odds with his friends, who must never know that he is going against the bounds of Victorian propriety and reputation in order to fulfill his needs for wickedness.


Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Literary Conflict

Example

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Student Instructions

Create a storyboard that shows at least three forms of literary conflict in Jekyll and Hyde.


  1. Identify conflicts in Jekyll and Hyde.
  2. Categorize each conflict as Character vs. Character, Character vs. Self, Character vs. Society, Character vs. Nature, or Character vs. Technology.
  3. Illustrate conflicts in the cells, using characters from the story.
  4. Write a short description of the conflict below the cell.
  5. Save and submit the assignment.



Literary Conflict Template

Example

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Jekyll and Hyde Themes, Symbols, and Motifs Student Activity

Themes, symbols, and motifs come alive when you use a storyboard. In this activity, students will identify themes and symbols from the novel, and support their choices with details from the text.


Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Themes to Look For and Discuss

The Duality of Good and Evil in Humanity

An important theme in The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is the duality of good and evil in humanity. It’s a topic that many are reluctant to speak of: the fact that good and evil exist in all of us, and that sometimes, evil overcomes the good. We have several examples from history to back this idea up, but sometimes it’s just the simple, everyday things that highlight this duality: when a child bullies another child; giving into road rage; spreading rumors about someone who is disliked; or saying mean and hurtful things to someone we love. The Gothic tradition often directly opposed the ideas of Transcendentalism, gaining traction at the time Stevenson wrote this novella, which postured that humanity, if left to its own devices, would ultimately choose good over evil. Instead, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde shows that the evil in our nature, if given a little nourishment and attention, might grow into an uncontrollable monster.


The Dangers of Unethical Science

Another important theme in The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is the dangers of unethical science. Dr. Jekyll arrives at Hyde through his experimentation with transient science. Unsatisfied with his life dedicated to study, and becoming more convinced of the "hidden other" within, he follows his experiments even when they became dangerous. Jekyll himself writes that the danger of death was always present, but despite this, he felt compelled to follow through and see what was on the other side of his potion. This lends credence to the often-disputed notion that when one tries to play "God" and mess with the natural order and balance of things, terrible things can result.


The Victorian Standard of Reputation

An additional important theme in The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is the Victorian standard of reputation. Henry Jekyll is smart and well-respected, but he finds himself bored by his Victorian obligations. He is pious and makes sure that he gives to charities; he tries to ensure that he remains a benign figure in the community; he stays out of trouble. However, he knows that deep down inside, there’s someone else vying for attention. If he gives into that someone, however, his very reputation could be destroyed. When Jekyll allows Hyde to be set free, he can do anything he wants with virtual anonymity-- after all, Hyde doesn’t really exist. Jekyll is free to explore all of the things that would destroy him in London.



Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Motifs, Imagery & Symbols

The Door

An important symbol in The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is the door. The door itself is a means for Hyde to enter and leave the Jekyll residence unhindered. It gives Jekyll the ultimate freedom to embrace his inner evil, become Hyde, and go about the city engaging in evil exploits, without ever being held accountable to his servants or friends. When Jekyll resolves to stop turning into Hyde, he crushes the key to the door beneath his heel; however, it ultimately does not stop the evil Hyde from returning.


Hyde’s Physiognomy

Another important symbol in The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is Edward Hyde’s appearance, or physiognomy. His face exudes pure evil; the mere sight of him inspires people to hate him, fear him, or be completely repulsed by him. Enfield relates, "There is something wrong with his appearance; something displeasing, something downright detestable." Hyde himself is small in stature, because he is the side of Jekyll’s personality that hasn’t been nourished: the evil side that has been repressed for years.


The Salt

A final important symbol in The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is the salt. The salt that Jekyll uses to finalize and perfect his experiment turns out to be impure. It is the irony that this impurity is what allows the experiment to work, and brings out the impurity in Jekyll. When Jekyll is struggling to stay as Jekyll, he discovers that all of the new samples of this salt are pure, and he realizes the mistake. It is in this moment that Jekyll realizes he cannot be saved.


Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Themes, Motifs and Symbols

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Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde as an Allegory


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Allegories rely on extensive symbolic meaning to convey their messages. For students to decipher and understand these extended metaphors, it is helpful to track parallels between the text and the larger issues it is representing. Check out our lesson on Allegory!

The Victorian era was fraught with people caught between two worlds: maintaining their social reputation and respectability, and hiding their true desires for things that were fun and sometimes dark. While morality and virtue were supreme, many things became "sinful", and people had to hide their pursuits of pleasure in order to avoid damaging their reputations. The following aspects of the novel are allegorical in nature with regard to Robert Louis Stevenson’s criticism of the Victorian "sensibilities".


Example of Jekyll and Hyde Allegory


Book Allegorical Meaning
The Door The strange door that leads out of the back of Dr. Jekyll’s house juts out at a strange angle. It is dark and there is no bell or knocker. The building itself looks neglected and sordid. It looks out of place in the upscale neighborhood, because it looks like it was once a place where sketchy people used to hang around. The door itself is a means for Hyde to enter and leave the Jekyll residence unhindered. It gives Jekyll the ultimate freedom to embrace his inner evil and freedom. For people of the Victorian era, this door (and its key) represents the freedom they themselves would be able to have if they were able to don another identity. They wouldn’t have to be held accountable to anyone, and they would be able to experience the "sins" of life free from guilt.
Edward Hyde Edward Hyde is a small man with corded, hairy hands, and an almost deformed look about his face, even without an obvious deformity. He strikes both horror and hatred into the hearts and deepest depths of people’s souls when they see him. He makes people want to murder him because he is so repulsive. In the Victorian era, Edward Hyde is the ultimate freedom. He is able to experience the taboo, and to throw aside reputation. For modern day readers, Hyde is the id, as explained by Freud: the instinct that is always being repressed by the super-ego. Hyde is the dark side of human nature that we work every day to control, and sometimes wonder what it would be like to let loose. Some have also posited Jekyll’s inability to control his desire to become Hyde reflects the struggles of addiction.
Dr. Henry Jekyll Dr. Jekyll is a well-respected man in London: very rich and very brilliant. His work in the sciences for many years was heralded, until he began to delve into experiments of human transience. His desire to maintain his reputation and his fear of punishment for his deeds prompts him to try to keep Hyde under control. He enjoys the life of being a cherished friend and doctor, but ultimately, is bored by his obligations. The temptations of ultimate abandon become too great. Dr. Jekyll is the Victorian man: well-meaning, dedicated to his work, following his obligations, well-respected in his community. He is the man that many aspire to in order to live a good life with relatively few major interruptions. However, he is also a conflicted man, who regularly struggles with the other side he knows lies within. For modern readers, he is a person we aspire to be like, but we can also empathize with his conflict with boredom.

Allegory in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Example

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Student Instructions

Create a storyboard that shows examples of allegory in Jekyll and Hyde.


  1. Identify instances of allegory in the text.
  2. Depict and describe the example of allegory from the text on the left side.
  3. Depict and describe the reference to the larger issue or event on the right side.


Allegorical Reference - Worksheet

Example

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Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Vocabulary Lesson Plan


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Another great way to engage your students is through the creation of storyboards that use vocabulary from The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Here is a list of a few vocabulary words commonly taught with the novel, and an example of a visual vocabulary board.


Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Vocabulary

  • sordid
  • holograph
  • countenance
  • iniquity
  • turpitude
  • phial
  • pedantically
  • duplicity
  • pecuniary
  • derided
  • ruminated
  • inscrutable
  • volatile
  • cerebral
  • enigma
  • infamy
  • labyrinth


Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Vocabulary

Example

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Student Instructions

Demonstrate your understanding of the vocabulary words in Jekyll and Hyde by creating visualizations.


  1. Choose three vocabulary words from the story and type them in the title boxes.
  2. Find the definition in a print or online dictionary.
  3. Write a sentence that uses the vocabulary word.
  4. Illustrate the meaning of the word in the cell using a combination of scenes, characters, and items.
    • Alternatively, use Photos for Class to show the meaning of the words with the search bar.
  5. Save and submit your storyboard.



Vocabulary Template Blank

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•   (English) The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde   •   (Español) El Extraño Caso del Dr. Jekyll y el Sr. Hyde   •   (Français) L'étrange cas du Dr Jekyll et de M. Hyde   •   (Deutsch) Der Seltsame Fall von Dr. Jekyll und Herrn Hyde   •   (Italiana) Lo Strano Caso del Dr. Jekyll e Mr. Hyde   •   (Nederlands) The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll en Mr. Hyde   •   (Português) O Caso Estranho do Dr. Jekyll e do Sr. Hyde   •   (עברית) המקרה המוזר של ד"ר ג'קיל ומר הייד   •   (العَرَبِيَّة) في حالة غريبة من الدكتور جيكل والسيد هايد   •   (हिन्दी) डॉ। जैकील और श्री हाइड के अजीब मामले   •   (ру́сский язы́к) Странный Случай Доктора Джекила и Мистера Хайда   •   (Dansk) The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll og Mr. Hyde   •   (Svenska) Det Konstiga Fallet av Dr Jekyll och Mr Hyde   •   (Suomi) The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll ja Mr. Hyde   •   (Norsk) The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll og Mr. Hyde   •   (Türkçe) Jekyll ve Bay Hyde'in Tuhaf Olgusu   •   (Polski) Dziwna Sprawa dr Jekylla i Pana Hyde'a   •   (Româna) Cazul Ciudat al Doctorului Jekyll si Mr. Hyde   •   (Ceština) Podivný Případ Dr. Jekyll a pan Hyde