Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde as an Allegory

This Storyboard That activity is part of the lesson plans for The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde


Allegory in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

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Activity Overview


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 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.


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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

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