Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Summary and Analysis

Chapters 4-6

Buy Study Guide

Chapter 4: The Carew Murder Case

Summary:

Nearly a year later, a respected member of London society, Sir Danvers Carew, is murdered. A maid sitting by her window in the very early morning hours witnesses the story recounts the event. She gazes out her window, romantically feeling at one with the world, when she sees an aged man with white hair walking along a nearby path. She watches as he meets another, smaller man, whom she recognizes as Mr. Hyde. Suddenly, Mr. Hyde brakes out in anger and attacks the white haired man, beating him to death with a cane. The maid faints upon witnessing such horror. When she awakes a few hours later, she immediately calls the police, who find the victim's body. On his person, the victim carried a purse, some gold, and a letter addressed to Mr. Utterson. Subsequently, the police contact Mr. Utterson who identifies the victim as Sir Danvers Carew, a member of Parliament. Upon learning the identity of the attacker, Mr. Utterson takes the police chief to Mr. Hyde's home. The police find the rooms in Hyde's home ransacked. Clothes strewn everywhere, half of the cane used to murder Danvers Carew is in one of the corners, and the remnants of a burned checkbook lie on one of the tables. The police soon discover that Mr. Hyde has disappeared. He cannot be found anywhere, and they are unable to find any trace of his past. Moreover, those who have seen him are unable to describe him in detail, but generally agree on his evil appearance.

Analysis:

This chapter reveals the extent of Hyde's evil. He brutally murders an innocent man, without provocation, and apparently without reason. Sir Danvers Carew is the second known victim of Hyde's violence. Enfield witnessed Hyde trampling a young girl, but he did not kill her, or even seriously injure her. Rather, his behavior seemed to simply disregard the humanity of the girl or her right to walk down the same street as him. In contrast, Sir Danvers Carew is viciously murdered, apparently without reason. It seems that Hyde kills Sir Danvers Carew simply to demonstrate his power and to release his evil. Thus, Hyde's evilness is gaining in strength, which forebodes further tragedy to come.

Throughout this chapter, Utterson again proves his honor, loyalty and logic. He appears immediately when summoned by the police, and provides them with a great deal of information in order to find the murderous Edward Hyde. However, he stops short of telling the police of the connection between Hyde and Dr. Jekyll. Thus, Utterson acts as a responsible member of society in aiding in the search for a murderer, yet is also still loyal to his friend Dr. Jekyll.

Earlier in the novel, Utterson dreamt of a nightmarish London through which the Juggernaut Hyde roamed and pillaged. In this chapter, Utterson's dream has become reality. Just as he feared, the monstrous Hyde has wreaked violent havoc on the city of London. In fact, on his way to the scene of the murder, Utterson notes how the London fog makes the city appear as though it is "in a nightmare." Stevenson utilizes highly descriptive imagery in this section, just as he did in Utterson's dream, in order to draw the reader into the work and create a powerful experience.

In this chapter, we also see the importance of written documents within the novel, specifically in relation to Mr. Utterson. The beginning of the novel centers around Jekyll's will, and in this chapter, Sir Danvers Carew's letter to Utterson connects him to the murder. Clearly, Utterson is deeply integrated to London's high society, not only in the social arena, but also through his business as a lawyer. Although we do not learn what Sir Danvers Carew's letter contains, its existence alone demonstrates Utterson's important role in London society. Later on in the novel, written documents will prove even more important, as it is from such written documents that Utterson finally learns the truth about the mystery of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

Chapter 5: Incident of the Letter

Summary:

On the same day of the murder, Mr. Utterson makes his way to Dr. Jekyll's house, and meets with him in his laboratory. Utterson and Jekyll discuss the unfortunate news that Sir Danvers Carew is dead, presumably killed by Mr. Hyde. Jekyll swears that he is not hiding Hyde and that he is, "done with him in this world." Jekyll also claims that he has received a letter from Hyde, which he shows to Utterson. The letter thanks Jekyll for his kindness and urges him that he need not worry for his safety, as he has a sure means of escape. Dr. Jekyll does not have the envelope, and claims that he burned it after it was hand delivered. Jekyll asks Utterson what to do with the letter, as he is concerned that his reputation will be damaged if he hands it over to the police. Utterson agrees to hold on to the letter, and tells Jekyll he is glad that Hyde has disappeared, as Jekyll's life was most likely in danger. When leaving the house, Jekyll's butler Poole tells Utterson that nothing was delivered that day, and Utterson begins to grow suspicious.

Upon returning to his office, Utterson receives a dinner invitation from Jekyll. When the letter arrives, Utterson's assistant, Mr. Guest, is examining the writing on the letter supposedly from Hyde. Mr. Guest instantly recognizes that the same individual wrote both letters, although the writing on the Hyde letters appears to be slanted in a certain direction. Utterson angrily assumes that Jekyll has forged a letter for a murderer.

Analysis:

Much of this chapter consists of a contrast between Utterson and Jekyll. Utterson is still quite the Victorian gentleman, putting image and appearance above all else. To protect Jekyll's reputation, he goes to visit him and discuss the issue personally rather than informing the police of Jekyll and Hyde's relationship and having them do the questioning. Moreover, even upon discovering Hyde's letter is almost certainly a forgery, Utterson refrains from confronting Jekyll. In this way, Utterson loyally protects his friend. In contrast, Jekyll lies to Utterson, defending Hyde with a fake letter. Here, for the first time, the reader begins to see hypocrisy in Dr. Jekyll. He claims to be a loyal and honest man, but in fact he is a liar and forger.

Interestingly, through Stevenson's detailed description of Jekyll's residence, the reader gains insight into the character's evolution. In the laboratory, Utterson describes "three dusty windows barred with iron." One year previous, Mr. Enfield described the same windows as, "always shut but...clean." This slight detail provides a glance into the tumbling personal world of Dr. Jekyll.

At this point in the novel, it is important to examine what Utterson suspects of Jekyll. While Jekyll clearly is acting abnormal, Utterson does not yet comprehend that his friend and the evil Mr. Hyde are one in the same, although he appears to suspect foul play. Thus, the detective story continues, the intrigue grows, and the supernatural influence in the novel becomes stronger. Much of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is written in a perfunctory, businesslike tone. However, from this point forward, supernatural imagery begins to appear more frequently, and Stevenson's language becomes increasingly descriptive and poetic. These changes assist in heightening the novel's suspense, and successfully carrying an intrigued reader to the shocking conclusion.

Chapter 6: Remarkable Incident of Dr. Lanyon

Summary:

At the beginning of Chapter 6, we learn that "time has passed" and no one has been able to capture Hyde. Jekyll, however, free from the evil influence of Hyde, has become a new man. He entertains, devotes himself to charity, and is highly sociable. In early January, Utterson attends a dinner party at Jekyll's home, at which Dr. Lanyon is also present. All were jovial and friendly, and had a wonderful time. Only days afterwards, Utterson pays Jekyll a visit and learns from Poole that the doctor has secluded himself and will see no one. After a week of this seclusion, Utterson visits Dr. Lanyon to see if he might be aware of Utterson's reason for withdrawing from the world so suddenly. Dr. Lanyon greets Utterson, who describes his and Jekyll's friend as though, "he had his death-warrant written upon his face." Lanyon explains that he has suffered a terrible shock, and "shall never recover." When Utterson mentions that Jekyll is also ill, Lanyon adamantly replies that he never wishes to speak of Jekyll again. Confused and shaken, Utterson returns home and writes Jekyll a letter, asking for an explanation for his mysterious behavior. Jekyll's reply, which arrives the next day, states, "I have brought on myself a punishment and a danger that I cannot name." One week later, Dr. Lanyon dies and leaves Mr. Utterson a letter with instructions only to read it following the death or disappearance of Dr. Jekyll. An honorable man who respects his friends' and client's wishes, Utterson does not open the letter.

Analysis:

Bit by bit, Utterson's logical grasp on the world is loosening. Jekyll's behavior is becoming increasingly suspicious and mysterious, and Utterson cannot logically determine its cause. Moreover, his friend Lanyon who had been friendly with Jekyll only a few days before refuses to speak of the man and claims he has suffered a deathly shock. Lanyon had previously acted as a pillar of reason, who clung to powerful principles and dismissed Jekyll's scientific theories as "balderdash." However, he now claims to have witnessed a shock so great that it will cause his demise. Apparently, Lanyon has been shaken to the core, and perhaps his belief in logic and sound science has been proven wrong. In this chapter, mystery and the supernatural begin to take over. As Lanyon passes away, and Jekyll admits serious although vague wrongdoing, Utterson's world begins to tumble out of control.