Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde - Dialogue

This GCSE English Literature quiz is about dialogue in Robert Louis Stevenson's Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. All direct speech in literature is referred to as “dialogue”, despite the fact that the technical meaning of the term refers to a conversation between at least two people. Dialogue, which is a significant aspect of characterisation, provides the reader with important information about the characters. If a reader pays careful attention to the style and content of a character’s speech, it becomes easier to create a mental portrait of that person. Dialogue can also cause change by provoking action. Although Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde contains plenty of dialogue, many of the most dramatic speeches and events occur in written accounts by Dr Lanyon and Dr Jekyll.

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Much of the most important information in Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is revealed at the end, in the two personal accounts which Mr Utterson reads. In fact, the novella ends rather abruptly with the final thoughts of Dr Jekyll, although he has already died by the time we, and Utterson, read his words. It is fascinating to follow Dr Jekyll’s changing language as he discusses the two personalities residing in his single body.

One possible approach to analysing dialogue in a work of fiction is to ask yourself how a particular character’s speech differs from that of the other characters. Look for evidence of different vocabularies or registers used. Some characters change their style of speech over time, others change depending on their situation. Can you see any patterns in how characters vary their speech according to the social standing of the person being addressed?

It is a good idea to memorise some dialogue when preparing for a literature exam. Try to memorise a few lines for each character and to think about how the memorised dialogue relates to the significant themes of the text.

The quiz below asks you to remember which character speaks the words. Spend a moment to consider the significance of the quoted dialogue before you answer each question. What type of character would speak those words? Could any other character have possibly spoken in the same manner? Why, or why not? What does that information tell you about the novel and how those characters might be related thematically?

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  1. Match the dialogue to the correct speaker.

    "There is one point I should like you to understand. I have really a very great interest in poor Hyde"
    Like Mr Utterson, the reader does not yet know why Dr Jekyll takes such an interest in Mr Hyde. The statement becomes ironic in retrospect
  2. Match the dialogue to the correct speaker.

    "Will you let me see your face?"
    Mr Utterson wishes to be able to recognise Mr Hyde if he ever comes across him again. Dr Jekyll's will has made Mr Utterson highly suspicious of the man before he ever meets him
  3. Match the dialogue to the correct speaker.

    "Has the greed of curiosity too much command of you? Think before you answer, for it shall be done as you decide. As you decide, you shall be left as you were before, and neither richer nor wiser, unless the sense of service rendered to a man in mortal distress may be counted as a kind of riches of the soul"
    Mr Hyde tempts Dr Lanyon with illicit knowledge, proving its power by transforming before Lanyon's eyes into Dr Jekyll. These words are contained in Dr Lanyon's written account
  4. Match the dialogue to the correct speaker.

    "Some day, Utterson, after I am dead, you may perhaps come to learn the right and wrong of this. I cannot tell you"
    Mr Utterson does not yet know the cause of Dr Lanyon's permanent estrangement from Dr Jekyll, only finding out the truth after Jekyll's suicide
  5. Match the dialogue to the correct speaker.

    "So it will walk all day, sir, ay, and the better part of the night. Only when a new sample comes from the chemist, there's a bit of a break. Ah, it's an ill-conscience that's such an enemy to rest! Ah, sir, there's blood foully shed in every step of it! But hark again, a little closer — put your heart in your ears Mr Utterson, and tell me, is that the doctor's foot?"
    Dr Jekyll's butler is frightened for him and senses that something monstrous paces behind his door. He refers to the pacing person (Mr Hyde) as an "it"
  6. Match the dialogue to the correct speaker.

    "Ah! He is in trouble! What has he done?"
    This line is the only line spoken by a woman in the novel. The housekeeper, "an ivory-faced and silvery-haired old woman", is not named
  7. Match the dialogue to the correct speaker.

    "To tell you the truth, I am uneasy about poor Jekyll; and even outside, I feel as if the presence of a friend might do him good"
    The characters of the novel despise Mr Hyde and feel sorry for "poor" Dr Jekyll without realising that both are the same being
  8. Match the dialogue to the correct speaker.

    "I never saw a circle of such hateful faces; and there was the man in the middle, with a kind of black, sneering coolness — frightened too, I could see that — but carrying it off, sir, really like Satan"
    Mr Enfield tells Mr Utterson of the time he witnessed Mr Hyde trample a young girl in the street
  9. Match the dialogue to the correct speaker.

    "It is more than ten years since Henry Jekyll became too fanciful for me. He began to go wrong, wrong in mind"
    Dr Lanyon and Dr Jekyll fall out over Dr Jekyll's medical ambitions
  10. Match the dialogue to the correct speaker.

    "The hatred of Hyde for Jekyll, was of a different order. His terror of the gallows drove him continually to commit temporary suicide, and return to his subordinate station of a part instead of a person; but he loathed the necessity, he loathed the despondency into which Jekyll was now fallen"
    These lines are not strictly dialogue, since they are contained in Dr Jekyll's written statement. Notice the way that Jekyll refers to both sides of himself in the third person, he has lost the "ego", a sense of being an "I"

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