Dr Jekyll’s compelling descent into the degeneracy and evil of his double, Mr Hyde, is succinctly summarized in the revealing line to Utterson:’ You must suffer me to go my own dark way.’ This seems perhaps less a plea for understanding and acceptance, ‘you must suffer’, than a somewhat theatrical declaration of supposedly resigned truth. The burden appears to fall upon the reader( Utterson) to accept Dr Jekyll’s moral life choice and strange indepence from other ‘ways’ presumably? The euphemistically phrased, ‘my own dark way’ appears more than a little Faustian, suggestive of a journey that is both inevitable and ill-fated, yet perversely heroic too. The tone is essential to the meaning and Utterson’s narrative is sombre and solemn, perhaps toning down the dark exuberance of Jekyll’s supposed guilt?
That said, suffering and sin seem to coalesce here, mirroring the ambiguity over the exact, intended addressee of the words. The letter is posted for Utterson’s attention, but Jekyll also appears to be talking to himself, possibly with a hint of guilty pleasure at the darkness of his ‘way’. The public act of writing a private letter appears to be a trope on reading and identity. If Jekyll can read Hyde as his own ‘dark way’, then this expression does infer that it must be Jekyll speaking as the speaker can differentiate between good and evil. He is still conscious of the difference between light and dark. However, this could be a sleight of hand too- even a purposeful misdirection. Hyde may desire greater space and ‘expression’ in Jekyll’s life so that this request may be more Hyde than Jekyll. In other words, Hyde wishes Utterson to keep away from his performances and fears interference in Jekyll’s experiments, could lead to difficulty for Hyde.
The Woman in Black
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