Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde Themes, Motifs and Symbols

Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde Themes, Motifs and Symbols
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Jekyll and Hyde Lesson Plans

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Lesson Plans by Kristy Littlehale

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 Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

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Jekyll and Hyde Themes, Motifs and Symbols activity | Identify and illustrate themes in Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

Storyboard Text

  • Image Attributions:New Blue Door (https://www.flickr.com/photos/ants88/3777390919/) - Andrew Beeston - License: Attribution (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/)
  • The door is a means for Hyde to enter and leave the Jekyll residence unhindered. It gives Jekyll the freedom to embrace his inner evil and go about the city 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; however, it does not stop Hyde from returning.
  • Hyde's face exudes pure evil; the mere sight of him inspires people to hate him, fear him, or be completely repulsed by him. 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 that Jekyll uses to finalize and perfect his experiment is impure. 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 all of the new samples of this salt are pure. It is in this moment that Jekyll realizes he cannot be saved.
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