Throughout the novel, the character of Mr. Hyde has a strange and powerful effect on all who encounter him. The aim of this paper is to discuss this, and to compare the reaction of two characters in particular - Utterson and Dr. Lanyon - and how they react to Hyde. This is what will be dissertated in the following.
In this story, Mr. Gabriel John Utterson is a prominent and upstanding lawyer, who is well respected in the London community. His personality is that of reserved, and dignified, and yet possessing of a rather furtive curiosity about the more sordid side of life. It seems that as an end result however, this rationalism of his makes him rather ill equipped to deal with the supernatural nature of the Jekyll-Hyde connection. He was made to come across as a largely unexciting character, as we can tell from the first page of the novel, where the text notes that Utterson has a face that is "never lighted by a smile," that he speaks very little, and that he seems "lean, long, dusty, (and) dreary." (Stevenson, 1999). Utterson is a friend to the brilliant scientist, Dr. Henry Jekyll, however after relating a disturbing tale of an angry fiend assaulting a young girl, Utterson begins to question somewhat the rather odd behavior of his friend.
In the beginning of the novel, Utterson is growing rather irate...
Lanyon's house to discuss the matter with him. Lanyon responds by saying that he has "Never heard of him. Since my time." (Chapter 2). Utterson remains lingering around the town, in dire hopes of finding Mr. Hyde. At last he is rewarded, after ten o'clock, "when the shops were closedandthe by-street was very solitary and, in spite of the low growl of London from all round, very silent." (Chapter 2). When Utterson first approaches Mr. Hyde, he is answered by Hyde shrinking back with a "hissing intake of the breath". Utterson tries to be friendly, and makes several attempts at continuing the conversation although Mr. Hyde appears to be stiff and rude. After Utterson tells Hyde that they have "common friends" in Dr. Jekyll, Hyde responds: "He never told you," cried Mr. Hyde, with a flush of anger. "I did not think you would have lied." (Chapter 2). After this Hyde: "snarled aloud into a savage laugh; and the next moment, with extraordinary quickness, he had unlocked the door and disappeared into the house."
Utterson's overall first reaction to Hyde was one of frustration and confusion. He did not understand why Hyde was so angry, rude, and inconsistent. The unexpectedness of him suddenly disappearing into the house was another issue of question; Utterson really did not know quite what to think of Mr. Hyde after their first meeting. Utterson considered Hyde to be "pale and dwarfish, he gave an impression of deformity without any nameable malformation, he had a displeasing smile, he had borne himself to the lawyer with a sort of murderous mixture of timidity and boldness, and he spoke with a husky, whispering and somewhat broken voice" (Chapter 2).
Dr. Hastie Lanyon is a reputable London doctor who is extremely close friends with Utterson. He is