Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde: Last Night (Chapter 8).
Dr Jekyll. Extract.
Crucially the extract opens with Utterson, the Victorian gentleman, situated respectably ‘ by his fireside one evening after dinner.’ The reader recognises that the cumulative effect of the details is to establish Utterson’s assumed safety and lack of tension in his inviolable sanctuary which is home. The ‘fireside’ is a reassuring place for the gentleman to relax and reflect and thus Poole’s visit which immediately ‘surprised’ Utterson ramps up the dramatic tension as it disrupts the sense of sanctuary and shows that something must be radically amiss.
For Poole is Jekyll’s loyal servant and for him to be away from his ‘home’ and duties, and behaving now as an interloper, underlines the upsetting circumstances surrounding Jekyll’s seemingly eccentric ‘ways’. Poole seeks out Utterson because he recognises Utterson as a steadfast friend to Jekyll and also to the stability of society itself. Poole knows that his employer’s relationship with Edward Hyde transgresses respectability and is dangerously out of control.
The almost maternal concern of Utterson towards the desperate Poole is also interesting as it shows how anxious Poole must appear to Utterson and also how the latter immediately reads the former’s presence as a sign of social catastrophe if the servant class are now in an uproar about Jekyll.( The lack of females in the novel might indicate that the males have no need of their presence, having the capacity for duality embedded in their psyche. )
The solitude of Utterson marks his sincere concern at Poole’s news: ‘what ails you?… Is the doctor ill?’ Utterson’ s added on reference to Jekyll increases the tension still further as he is now making very public his concern for Jekyll. Secrecy has been abandoned with the brave and desperate visit of poor Poole. The tension mounts as the stakes now explicitly suggest something ill-fated has happened. ‘ I may die if I like it.’ For a restrained figure like Poole, this outburst seems uncharacteristically emotional and reveals the ‘terror’ he has experienced in fears for Jekyll’s welfare. ‘ I can bear it no more.’ Again, the restrained masculine characters like Poole and Utterson, show more feminine, emotionally expressive behaviour when facing the probable ‘foul play’ surrounding Jekyll’s disappearance. The highly interrogative and exclamation aspect of the final exchanges between Poole and Utterson reveal the tense day disarray into which they both have fallen with the mysterious imprisonment of Dr Jekyll.
If the tension in this scene emanates from the surprising arrival of a visitor who destabilises the apparent sanctuary of the respectable gentleman, so earlier scenes such as the initial encounter of Enfield with Hyde (add quote) rely on the disorientation of the respectable by a collision with chaos in the person of the unspeakable Edward Hyde. Hyde’s contaminating effect is considerable and he is even shown to have the ability to invade the unconscious as shown by the chapter concerning Mr Utterson’s dream. (Add Quote) Tension creates interest in both the reader and the ‘detective’ ( and good angel!) Gabriel Utterson, whose role interestingly evaporates once the final two chapters have been read. The silence of Utterson in terms of his reaction to Lanyon’s confession and that of Dr Jekyll himself is curious and leaves the novel on a thrilling discordant note for Utterson’s sense and logic remain absent, so healing cannot take place in terms of the narrative and there is no restoration of a solution to the problem of the duality in Victorian gentlemen such as Henry Jekyll.
How to analyse a text quickly!
Bookshelf 2.0 developed by revood.com