Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde - Character

This GCSE English Literature quiz takes a look at character. Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson has very few named characters, most of whom form part of Dr Jekyll’s close social circle. With the exception of Mr Poole, Jekyll’s butler, and Mr Bradshaw, another of his servants, most of the characters are professional men. Dr Lanyon and Mr Utterson are long-time friends of Dr Jekyll and are both deeply concerned for his well-being. Mr Hyde is a mysterious character, and anyone who reads the novel without already knowing its famous plot would be surprised to discover that he is the same person as Dr Jekyll.

London appears to be a city full of strangers, despite the close friendships at the heart of the text.

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Both Dr Lanyon and Mr Utterson express discomfort at the thought that they are unlikely to make new friends in their elderly years. In some ways, these men are nearly as isolated as Dr Jekyll is. Although the friends see the devastating effects of Dr Jekyll’s terrible internal struggle, they are ignorant to its cause, viewing Mr Hyde as a malign external source of distress to their old friend.

Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is related through limited third-person narration. The narrator only knows whatever Mr Utterson knows, being able to report the lawyer’s thoughts without knowing what other characters think or feel. This aspect of the text increases the suspense and sense of surprise when the reader finally learns what happened to Dr Lanyon, as well as learning the precise details of the relationship between Jekyll and Hyde. How do the personal accounts at the end of the novella affect your recollection of events that you have only seen from Mr Utterson’s perspective?

When reading fiction, pay attention to how each character interacts with others, as well as noting whether characters change over time. Can you identify anyone (other than Dr Jekyll) whose behaviour is inconsistent? How would you explain, for example, the growing disease felt by Mr Utterson as he attempts to discover the cause of his old friend’s troubles and unsociability?

Answer the questions below to see how well you understand the characters in Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.

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  1. "Where Utterson was liked, he was liked well. Hosts loved to detain the dry lawyer, when the light-hearted and the loose-tongued had already their foot on the threshold; they liked to sit awhile in his unobtrusive company, practising for solitude, sobering their minds in the man's rich silence after the expense and strain of gaiety." What do hosts value about Mr Utterson?
    Mr Utterson brings a sense of calm, a steadiness. He is a good companion, who listens without being afraid to challenge his friends
  2. "A large, well-made, smooth-faced man of fifty, with something of a slyish cast perhaps, but every mark of capacity and kindness." The words depict which character?
    The only hint of the Hyde character simmering beneath the surface is the reference to Jekyll's "slyish" look
  3. Which of the following does NOT describe Mr Utterson's approach to friendship?
    Mr Utterson is presented as an indiscriminate, though loyal, friend. He becomes friends with people through knowing them long enough. The last answer is spoken by Dr Lanyon
  4. Which of the following does NOT describe Dr Lanyon?
    Dr Lanyon's scepticism, as a man of science, encourages Dr Jekyll to demonstrate his discovery rather than merely to tell the other doctor about it. The incident ruins the old friendship between the men before killing Dr Lanyon fairly swiftly through shock
  5. Which of the following best describes the effect Mr Hyde's appearance has upon others?
    Those who see him feel fear and disgust, and have a sense that he is deformed, but are unable to explain how and why his appearance makes them feel this way
  6. "Quite so, sir. Well, when that masked thing like a monkey jumped from among the chemicals and whipped into the cabinet, it went down my spine like ice. O, I know it's not evidence, Mr Utterson; I'm book-learned enough for that; but a man has his feelings, and I give you my bible-word it was Mr Hyde!" What does this dialogue tell the reader about Mr Poole?
    Mr Poole understands that a lawyer such as Utterson requires evidence; the butler humbly presents his case with passion and conviction
  7. What is the reason for Mr Hyde's small size in comparison to Dr Jekyll?
    Dr Jekyll says that his evil side is less well-developed, therefore smaller and younger, than his "good" side. Mr Hyde quickly grows in strength and stature over time
  8. Which of following describes Dr Jekyll in his youth?
    Mr Utterson remembers Dr Jekyll as a wild young man. In his own confession, Jekyll describes himself as having a "gaiety of disposition"
  9. Who enjoys going for a Sunday walk with Mr Utterson?
    Stevenson describes the two men's Sunday walks humorously as being greatly appreciated by each man despite their apparent boredom during the activity
  10. Which of the following does NOT apply to Mr Hyde as a description?
    Mr Hyde tries to remain hidden. His movements are quick and often compared to those of various animals

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