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Chapters IV - VII

Chapter IV - The Carew Murder Case


  • A year later, a crime is committed in London ‘of singular ferocity’, the latter word designed to recall the animalistic nature of Mr Hyde to the reader, already implicating a suspect.

  • A young woman in the night sees ‘an aged and beautiful gentleman’ with ‘an innocent and old-world kindness of disposition’ meeting Mr Hyde.  The description of the former man layers a semantic field of goodness, juxtaposing Mr Hyde. Hyde becomes angry and ‘with ape-like fury’ (see the Darwinian idea) beats the man to death.  The quote ‘bones were audibly shattered and the body jumped’ uses alliteration and onomatopoeia to make the encounter brutally vivid to the reader. The man was carrying Utterson’s address on an envelope, and Utterson identifies him as Danvers Carew.  The stick is one that Utterson himself had gifted Jekyll. 

  • Fogs roll over London, ‘A great chocolate-covered pall’, blanketing the city in confusion  and mystery. This may be seen as a form of pathetic fallacy. The light changes, mysteriously and disconcertingly, ‘like a district of some city in a nightmare’.  Nothing is clear, neither darkness nor goodness. In this chapter, as towards the end, the text itself may be seen to fall into the uncanny in terms of description and language.  

  • Utterson and the policeman visit Hyde’s rooms, which seem (oddly) ‘furnished with luxury and good taste, though ransacked.  The stick is in the room, confirming Hyde as the murderer, yet the men still do not know where to find him - little can be remembered about his appearance and his family cannot be traced.  The only clear impression anyone has of him is a ‘haunting sense of unexpressed deformity.’ As we have seen, it is what is unsaid and what is unseen that often has the most haunting power. 


Chapter V - Incident of the Letter


  • Utterson makes his way to Jekyll’s laboratory, which is described in somewhat haunting detail.  It is a ‘dingy, windowless structure’ creating a sense of claustrophobia, and the ‘gaunt and silent’ room is personified as though it is a sickly person.  Indeed, the fog seems to have penetrated the room, disrupting the light (illumination, understanding, purity) of the outside from entering ‘the light falling dimly through the foggy cupola’.  The word ‘falling’ is interesting here, as though it is suggesting a ‘fall’ from grace, mirroring Jekyll’s personal trajectory.  

  • Dr Jekyll mirrors the state of his laboratory, ‘looking deathly sick’, the hyperbole creating concern in the reader.  His ‘cold hand’ mirrors that of a corpse, and his ‘changed voice’ hints at his supernatural transformation.

  • Jekyll’s anguish at Hyde’s action is clear in his repetition of ‘I swear to God’ and frantic, brief clauses.  He insists that ‘I am done with him in this world’, yet his insistences seem to bear more desperation than truth in the eyes of the reader - as though he is trying to convince himself of this.  

  • Jekyll has received a letter from Hyde, saying that Hyde has found a way to escape from London.  Utterson is momentarily satisfied that Hyde dictated the will to Jekyll and that they have escaped danger.  Jekyll himself cries that ‘O God, Utterson, what a lesson I have had’ - the lesson, perhaps, also being one that Stevenson means the reader to heed.  

  • All of these happenings are couched in the language of ‘scandal’, which is metaphorically described as an ‘eddy’, a whirlpool that can suck everything into it.  While Utterson opposes gossip, Victorian England was notorious for it, and gossip could be as dangerous as anything else for respectable members of society. Intriguingly, Utterson seems less interested in discovering the murderer than preventing a scandal from befalling Jekyll, showing the importance placed on appearance in Victorian society.  It also perhaps explains his inability to accept the nature of Hyde - Utterson, at least at first, cannot understand anything but surface appearance. 

  • “The fog still slept on the wing above the drowned city, where the lamps glimmered like carbuncles; and through the muffle and smother of these fallen clouds, the procession of the town’s life was still rolling in through the great arteries with a sound as of a mighty wind.”  This is a wonderfully atmosphere quote, using the metaphor of a city drowned in fog (chaos, confusion, rumour, misunderstanding) and personification, aptly conveying the murky underworld of both London and man, and showing a terrible transformation which has befallen not only Jekyll, but the city itself.  At the heart of things, all entities have the capacity to transform into their own worst selves. Yet again, outsides are juxtaposed with insides, Utterson avoiding the fear and apprehension which such a description may bring by being cosily ensconced in a room ‘gay with firelight’. Just as terrible truths may lurk within refined surroundings, so may moments of light exist within darkness.  Light and dark are opposed, and yet always connected, just as interiors and exteriors are.

  • The first major clue to the two men’s dual identity is found at the end of the chapter, when the handwriting on Jekyll’s dinner invitation is revealed as nearly identical to Hyde’s handwriting.


Chapter VI - Incident of Dr. Lanyon


  • Though Hyde himself has disappeared, rumours of the man have come to life - ‘tales came out of the man’s cruelty, at once so callous and violent’, the emphatic words ‘callous and violent’, together with the harsh alliteration of c sounds create a cold, ruthless and cutting impression of the man.

  • Though Hyde has disappeared, Jekyll has ‘renewed relations with his friends’, and ‘his face seemed to open and brighten’, the former (a metaphor) suggesting his newfound freedom from a great burden, the latter word suggesting his happiness. 

  • Yet Lanyon, Utterson sees, has become ill and gaunt.  ‘He had his death-warrant written visibly upon his face’, Utterson notes, the metaphor suggesting that all can see Lanyon’s death approaching inevitably.  In his eyes, Utterson sees ‘some deep-seated terror of the mind’, assonance in ‘deep-seated’ drawing out the words, impressing upon the reader how absolute Lanyon’s fear is.

  • When Utterson questions him, Lanyon refuses to speak of Jekyll, saying that he regards him ‘as dead’. This strange encounter is supposed to draw the reader’s curiosity as to the unseen argument between Lanyon and Jekyll, which seems to have prompted Lanyon’s decline.

  • When Utterson writes to Jekyll, he is told ‘I have brought on myself a punishment and a danger that I cannot name [...] I could not think that this earth contained a place for sufferings and terrors so unmanning.’  The word ‘unmanning’ here is interesting, as it suggests the inhuman depths to which Jekyll has sunk in exposing the darkness of his very humanity. The language here is of religion - darkness vs light - and thus he asks Utterson to ‘lighten this destiny’.  

  • After Lanyon’s death shortly after, Utterson opens a letter the former had left to him, ominously to ‘be destroyed’ if Utterson had already died, piquing the reader’s interest in what could be so secret.  Within this, there is a letter to be unopened until Jekyll’s death or disappearance. While he is curious, Utterson’s ‘honour and faith’ prevent him from opening the letter, again showing his moral fortitude.

  • Jekyll, it seems, has confined himself to his laboratory, and Utterson’s attempts to visit decrease in frequency.  Utterson’s relief at not having to see Jekyll may be attributed to his inability to accept his friend’s supernatural downfall - Jekyll’s fate has finally overcome Utterson’s ability to rationalise it as mere crime. 


Chapter VII - Incident At The Window


  • Utterson and Enfield are walking, when Enfield notes that Mr Hyde’s house is actually ‘a back way to Dr Jekyll’s’, signifying the inextricable link between the two.

  • Jekyll is seen by his window, ‘like some disconsolate prisoner’, the simile expressing his melancholy despair at the trap he himself has created.

  • Jekyll and the men talk, when the former stops suddenly, his ‘smile was struck out of his face’ (use of consonance and metaphor establishing the harsh way in which his good mood vanishes suddenly, as though he has been punched).

  • Then, then see that Jekyll has “an expression of such abject terror and despair, as froze the very blood of the two gentlemen below”, the metaphor expressing the men’s startled and chilled fear at the sight of it.  

  • It is unclear what exactly the men have seen, though ‘the glimpse had been sufficient’ - once again rational language breaks down and is unable to describe the supernatural horrors of the novel.

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