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Dr Jekyll and Mr Hide Summary | Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Lesson Plans


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.

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




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What is a Doppelgänger?

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

  • Have students look up examples of celebrity doppelgangers, superheroes who lead double lives, and famous (or infamous) people who lead double lives.

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

  • Two or more distinct personalities are present in one individual
  • Memory loss can be present when one personality is controlling the individual
  • The identities are very separate from one another, and can range in age, gender, class, and even sexual orientation
  • Some cases have shown up to 100 separate personalities in one individual
  • While no one particular cause can be identified, many of the patients with DID report severe abuse during childhood; there is also evidence of a genetic link.

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?

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