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Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde - laboratory

Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde

(Robert Louis Stevenson version)


Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game

“He is not easy to describe. There is something wrong with his appearance ; something displeasing, something downright detestable. I never saw a man I so disliked, and yet I scarce know why. He must be deformed somewhere ; he gives a strong feeling of deformity, although I couldn’t specify the point. He’s an extraordinary-looking man, and yet I really can name nothing out of the way. No, sir ; I can make no hand of it ; I can’t describe him. And it’s not want of memory ; for I declare I can see him this moment.”


Context

Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is a 1886 novel by R.L. Stevenson and his moustache . In a way it’s the perfect science-fiction novel – one impossible assumption (a potion that separates evil from good within a man) is used to explore many themes of universal relevance, in a strong story written in a vivid style.

The novel is thus a major classic. It has leads to reams of text analysis, and innumerable adaptations as movies, plays, etc.. It’s also one of the seminal works for horror and sci-fi.

Doug’s foreword

I first read the book about 35 years ago. It is a short book. It can easily be read in one day with time to spare. And I say that as a person who needs at least two weeks to get through the average novel.

I had read the “Classic Comics” version. I found it quite scary and I was familiar with the Cobra and Mr. Hyde and their many attempts to beat Thor in the early days of Marvel Comics. So I finally decided to read the original source of this character.

I found it quite fascinating. I know there were previous mythological takes on such transformations. But everybody from the Hulk to the modern version of the werewolf concept to any character who undergoes a transformation that involves a mental as well as physical change and letting out something buried inside that is usually suppressed owes to Stevenson.

Sure we had things like the Minotaur in Greek Mythology but Jekyll/Hyde approached it on a different level. The story is also different than all of the variations done afterwards at least in one particular. As Alan Moore rightly said in his The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Jekyll was once bigger and stronger than Hyde was.


Background

Jekyll

  • Real Name: Henry Jekyll, M.D. (Medical Doctor), D.C.L. (Doctor of Civil Law), LLD (Doctor of Laws), F.R.S. (Fellow of the Royal Society)
  • Other Aliases: Harry Jekyll, Mr. Edward Hyde
  • Marital Status: Single
  • Known Relatives: None
  • Group Affiliation: The Royal Society
  • Base Of Operations: London, England
  • Height: 6’0” Weight: 180 lbs
  • Eyes: Brown Hair: Brown (graying)

Hyde

  • Real Name: Henry Jekyll
  • Other Aliases: Mr. Edward Hyde
  • Marital Status: Single
  • Known Relatives: None
  • Group Affiliation: None
  • Base Of Operations: London, England
  • Height: 5’1” Weight: 110 lbs
  • Eyes: Brown Hair: Brown


Powers & Abilities

Technically, Jekyll and Hyde possess no powers other than Jekyll’s chemical genius. It allowed him to create the formula to become Hyde and, later, the ability to transform without the chemicals (not necessarily willingly transform).


History

Of course, in the 20th and early 21st centuries, everybody knows that Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde were two sides of the same coin, two aspects of the same man.

But I shall present the history here as if you had never heard this before. As if you were sitting by your nighttime fireside on a Winter’s eve of 1886 and I were sitting across from you, giving you a synopsis of the book.

Mr. Enfield

Rumors of a villainous individual began to circulate about London in the year 1885. One prominent man, Mr. Richard Enfield, recounted a story of seeing a “little man” bump into a girl of eight to ten years old. He knocked her down and proceeded to callously step on her as he continued walking.

Enfield confronted the man. When the man tried to leave, the elderly Enfield grabbed him and forcibly dragged him back to the girl. Her parents and other people had gathered and the man agreed to pay recompense in return for keeping it quiet.

There was something about the man. All of the people, even the bystanders, felt an urge to kill him. Even the easy-going Enfield felt a desire to rip him apart. But the man led them to a small room he kept and came out with some money and a signed check.

They thought it might be a forgery when they saw the name on the check. It was signed by the prominent physician, Dr. Henry Jekyll, but made out to Mr. Edward Hyde. Hyde agreed to accompany these people to the bank where he cashed the check with no problem, the signature being genuine, and paid them off.

Mr. Enfield did not ask how Hyde came to know Jekyll. But he assumed it was some sort of blackmail, the mistakes of youth come back to haunt him.

Mr. Utterson

Meanwhile, Mr. Utterson, Dr. Jekyll’s lawyer, was troubled by the will Jekyll had left. He willed everything except for a few payments to servants to Mr. Hyde if he, Jekyll, were to die or disappear for more than three months.

What troubled Utterson was partly the stories told of this Hyde including the story by his friend, Enfield. But also that he could find no records of the existence of this man other than his name. He was able to meet the man. Like his friend, he could place no specific reason for disliking him on sight.

He found that Hyde gave the “feeling” of deformities without visibly having any. He was a fairly young man. Utterson took to observing and saw that Hyde often entered into Jekyll’s home from a back entrance.

Going to the front door, Utterson confirmed from the butler that Hyde had his own key. But he never dined with or met with Jekyll socially and seldom was seen anywhere in the house except the lab.

Upon speaking to Jekyll later in private, Mr. Utterson was assured that this was not a case of blackmail and that Hyde meant a great deal to Jekyll.

What the maid saw

But, months later, a maid looking down from a second-storey window of Dr. Jekyll’s home witnessed an elderly man and Hyde encountering one another on the sidewalk near Jekyll’s home.

They exchanged words she could not hear. Then, in a fit of rage, Hyde began hitting the man with the heavy cane he carried, breaking bones and striking with such rage and berserk strength that the extremely thick cane broke. The maid fainted. By the time she regained consciousness and went for the police, Hyde was gone.

The body was still there, however, along with one half of the cane. The dead man had papers on him with the name of Mr. Utterson on them. Summoned to the scene by the police, he verified that the man was a client of his. The cane was clearly one owned by Henry Jekyll, that Utterson had given to him as a gift.

The hunt for a monster

When the police entered Hyde’s rooms, they found them abandoned. But the other half of the cane was there, sealing his guilt. Utterson immediately went to see Dr. Jekyll who had heard of the incident from servants and on the streets.

Jekyll produced a letter, written in a scrawl, thanking him for his kindnesses but assuring him that he would be troubled no more and signed, “Edward Hyde”.

Speaking to a servant after leaving Jekyll, Utterson was further troubled because the servant had not seen Hyde enter or leave the premises. This meant Hyde still had a key to a doorway leading straight to the lab and could come and go from the house unseen.

Also, there was no envelope with the letter. This brought into question Jekyll’s statement that it had been delivered though he may have meant, “Delivered personally to the lab by Hyde”.

Graphology

Jekyll had turned the note over to Utterson, as Utterson was his lawyer. He took the note to a handwriting expert to deduce what some of the hidden qualities of this Hyde might be. On as hunch, the expert, once the circumstances were explained, asked if the lawyer had any documents written by Dr. Jekyll.

The man compared them and concluded that the note allegedly by Hyde was written by Jekyll. Some parts were identical handwriting and other parts as if a man was trying to disguise his handwriting. This, of course, led to the horrible conclusion that Jekyll had written the note himself and was covering for Hyde, perhaps even hiding him out.

However, two months went by and Hyde was not seen or heard of. Jekyll had always been a man of charity and he renewed those donations. He also became very religious as if repenting of something.

He began to show up at social gatherings again and seemed happy. It was as if he had overcome some dark past and stepped into the light of the here and now, the past behind, the man he was now what mattered as if he knew that the past cannot be changed and the future cannot be grasped except by living in the present.

Mr. Lanyon

But then, in early 1886, he suddenly stopped attending gatherings again. When Utterson finally went to visit, Jekyll refused to see him. Locked in his rooms, he refused to see anyone. Even the servants merely left his meals outside the doors to his private rooms.

Utterson then went to see Dr. Lanyon. In their University days and most years since, the three of them had been best of friends: Jekyll, Utterson and Lanyon. But Lanyon, once a large, handsome man, seemed almost shrunken in upon himself. He even showed early signs of a receding hairline. He had the pale look of one who was close to death. He would not say why.

But when Utterson mentioned Jekyll, he would only imply that it had to do with him. Utterson deduced that Lanyon had discovered something about Jekyll, some truth so horrible that he could not face it and it was eating away at his very life.

Within weeks, Lanyon died. Utterson was his lawyer as well as Jekyll’s. Lanyon left a will. Among the documents was a sealed envelope to be opened only after Dr. Henry Jekyll had died or disappeared for more than three months. Should Utterson die before Jekyll, the envelope was to be burned, unopened.

The fault, dear Brutus…

Utterson noted the similarity to Jekyll’s will. Both wills stipulated Jekyll’s disappearance for more than three months or his death being the key factors. Although sorely tempted to count Jekyll’s isolation as a disappearance, he maintained his professionalism and kept the document, unopened.

Sometime later, Utterson and his cousin, Enfield, were walking by Jekyll’s home. They saw the man himself sitting by his second floor window with the glass open. Jekyll turned and spoke to them. He would not invite them up but smiled and said it would please him if they would stand there for a bit and carry on a conversation.

But then, Jekyll suddenly gasped in pain. He quickly closed the window and stepped away from it. But what they saw or started to see in those few seconds so terrified them that they glanced at one another and walked away, knowing they would never speak of it.

But not long thereafter, Jekyll’s butler came to Utterson and asked him over. The servants were all terrified. Upon knocking on the door of Jekyll’s private rooms, Utterson heard a voice saying he could not be disturbed.

When they retired to the kitchen, Utterson admitted that did not sound like Jekyll’s voice. The butler insisted that was the voice they had been hearing for the last eight days. Jekyll had been sending him to every chemist in town to get a “pure” batch of a particular drug and had failed to get one.

Then the butler had been outside and looked over the garden fence one day. Jekyll had stepped out onto the balcony and the butler saw him but an instant. Jekyll, or rather, the man, had cried out and scurried back inside.

…is not in our stars…

Certain that it was Hyde occupying the room, Utterson demanded one last time that he open the door. Then he and the servants broke it down. But by that time, all they found was the dead body of Hyde, clutching a phial of poison in his hand.

They found a new will made out by Jekyll. It left everything to Utterson rather than to Hyde and Utterson marveled at why Hyde had not destroyed it. The will asked that Utterson read an account left by Dr. Lanyon in his own last will and testament before reading Jekyll’s own last will and testament.

According to Dr. Hastie Lanyon, Dr. Jekyll sent him a letter begging him to procure certain items for him. Lanyon did not understand why because the items were in Jekyll’s own lab but he did as asked. Then a small man showed up at Lanyon’s home, apparently sent by Jekyll for them.

Lanyon found him repulsive for no reason he could explain. The little man was relieved to have the items and prepared a chemical mixture. Lanyon had no idea that this was Mr. Edward Hyde and that he was wanted by the police. He did not know that the reason Hyde could not simply go to Jekyll’s house at that time was because the police were watching for that very mistake.

Hyde offered to leave without explanation or stay and show Lanyon something that he otherwise would not believe. There was a smug taunting in what he said, a desire to prove that Lanyon had been wrong in his conventionality.

…but in ourselves.

At Lanyon’s nod, Hyde drank the concoction he had prepared. He choked and seemed at first to be going into shock. But then he grew, shifted and finally fell exhausted into a chair as Henry Jekyll. They knew they would not speak a word to each other.

As soon as he was able, the large and powerful Jekyll rose and left. Lanyon never recovered from the shock. His health deteriorated from that day and he soon died for reality had become something he could not accept.

Doctor Jekyll turns into Mister Hyde

Dr. Henry Jekyll’s own testament revealed a man who, more than most, desired respectability. But he could not easily reconcile the seemingly contradictory desires and impulses that drove him.

It is unclear precisely how “depraved” some of his desires were. Were they simply ordinary desires but not acceptable in the “official story” of a proper Victorian Gentleman? Were they truly depraved? Would they seem depraved a century or two later? We will never know.

He seemed to indicate that, in his youth, they were simply the typical activities. As he got older, as tends to happen, he got more staid and “moral”.

Right and wrong

But it was clear that, whether young or older, his problem was not one of the right or wrong of what he did but how it would make others think of him. He desired the respect of his peers and higher society.

Whether struggling as a doctor to save a life or exploring the Red Light district [never stated as such but implied] for drinking and “companionship”, he felt that all of these dueling natures were the “real” him.

A genius far beyond any other in the realm of Chemistry, he sought a way to completely separate the two sides of human nature so that, for a time, each could live freely, unrestrained by the guilt induced by the other side of human nature.

One night, he finally succeeded by adding the final ingredient to his formula and drank it down. He felt the agony of bones and muscles, his entire body, shifting and changing. But it passed within seconds and he felt younger, more alive, desires, sexual ones in particular, leaping to the height of his consciousness without guilt or remorse or suppression of any kind.

The metamorphosis

He then noticed how much smaller he was. His appearance seemed to hint at the deformities that the life he desired might bring about, such as syphilis and various problems brought about by excessive drinking and use of other drugs. But they were only hinted at. Nothing was definably present.

He felt delight in the purity of what he was. The man he had always been was a mixture of what we define as “good” and “evil”. This new being was pure evil. He discovered that most people were at first repulsed by him, perhaps because they were a mixture of these qualities.

Perhaps, he surmised, if Henry Jekyll became purely good because of this, they might equally be repulsed by him. A mortal man might know fear and revulsion of himself were he to find himself confronting a being of pure good. He admitted to himself that the drug he created played no favorites.

It could have just as easily have made him a saint. But it veered to the side he desired most.

Fractured

As time went on, Jekyll disassociated himself from Hyde more and more, his depravities not Jekyll’s fault. As he did so, Hyde’s excesses became ever greater. Yet Jekyll knew that, deep down, he reveled in them. In his mind, he knew it was still his fault but he rationalized it away more and more.

Anything Hyde did was Hyde’s fault, not his. Even other people could not punish him for Hyde could vanish as if he never existed by becoming Jekyll, who was entirely innocent as far as anyone could know.

The first shock to this “perfect” existence was when Jekyll took the formula, went out for a night on the town as Hyde, returned to his lab, took the formula again and became Jekyll. He then retired to his room and slept. He awoke in the morning to the slow realization that, while he slept, he had become Hyde again.

He managed to get to his formula and drink it. He was relieved that it turned him into Jekyll again. But he had changed to Hyde without taking it. There was one time when the formula had failed to change him to Hyde, several times when he needed two doses and once, at risk of death, that he took three doses to become Hyde.

But now, it had reversed to the point that he changed to Hyde without the formula. He knew he had a choice to make. He must remain Jekyll forever or risk becoming Hyde forever or without control.

Longings

But during the two months he remained Jekyll, the suppressed desires built inside him. He longed for the freedom he knew as Hyde. Finally, like an alcoholic returning to his bottle, Jekyll drank the formula again. What he did not consider was how long that side of his nature had been caged.

Oh, it had been held back for most of his life. But once Hyde escaped and knew freedom and then was caged again, he came back out like a rabid animal. It took the slightest look of condescension from a man passing him on the street to lead to words. And it took few words to lead to a murderous rage. He killed a man with glee, smashing in his skull with a cane.

Realizing the danger to himself, Hyde returned to the lab and became Jekyll. The doctor was relieved in a way because now he dared not become Hyde again. Hyde was now a wanted murderer. So Jekyll need not be morally strong. Fear would keep him Jekyll as becoming Hyde was now a death sentence.

Fear no evil

Jekyll threw himself into good works. He enjoyed them and felt remorse for what Hyde had done. But, as months went by, the feelings of penance lessened a little. Sitting in a park one day, he thought of himself as no more evil than other men and, perhaps due to his good works as a doctor, better than them.

That was when the pain hit him and he became Hyde. Though afraid, Hyde was a keen thinker. As a wanted murderer, he could not return to Jekyll’s home.

So he convinced Dr. Lanyon by a letter in Jekyll’s handwriting to get the chemicals he needed for his formula and to meet him at Lanyon’s home. He then, out of sheer malice, allowed Lanyon to see him transform to Jekyll.

Going home and sleeping, he awoke as Hyde and required two doses to become Jekyll. Hours later it happened again and then again. Every time he slept or dosed for a moment, he became Hyde and it happened when he was awake as well. He became a prisoner within his rooms.

Fate

Then he realized that one of the ingredients he had used for his formula must have been an impure batch. He ordered batch after batch from druggists all over the city and none of them worked. He could not duplicate the original batch or properly analyze it, certainly not while trapped as Hyde.

Scraping together enough of the original batch for one last dose, he became Jekyll. He wrote his Last Will and Testament in which he confessed what he had done. Though he did not know how he would die, he knew it would be as Hyde as soon as the dose wore off. So, for all practical purposes, Henry Jekyll died and it mattered not to him how Hyde would meet his fate.


Description

Mr. Gabriel John Utterson: “Is this Mr. Hyde a person of small stature ?”
Police Officer: “Particularly small and particularly wicked-looking is what the maid calls him.”

Dr. Henry Jekyll is a large, powerfully built man in his mid-50s. He usually wears a proper suit of the era. He sports long sideburns and a moustache, also typical of the time and place. Mr. Edward Hyde is a small, scrawny man who looks to be in his 20s.

People who see him tend to find him extraordinary looking and to be repulsed by him. Yet they cannot see how he looks in any way out of the ordinary other than his size. He is often seen wearing clothes ridiculously too big for him, such as a proper suit way too large. When he is prepared for the change, he will wear more common clothing of his size.


Personality

In his youth, Henry Jekyll was an outgoing personality. But, as he got older, appearances became ever more important to him. He seems a proper middle-aged gentleman who is interested primarily in his work, relaxing by reading a good book while drinking his tea, perhaps visiting the local Gentleman’s Club and chatting with friends or reading the newspaper.

He is charitable and dedicated to his work. Inside, he longs to do all sorts of things that a proper gentleman cannot do and remain respectable. Some things he desires to do that a proper Victorian man could do but Jekyll desires them to excess. Other things, a respected man could not do at all. For Henry Jekyll, it is about what other people think of him more than anything else, not about who he really is.

Edward Hyde cares about satisfying his appetites- period. However, there is also enough sense of self-preservation for him to stop and think when he really needs to. Then, he can be cunning and a quick thinker. But he is primarily a hedonist. When thwarted or inconvenienced in the slightest, when anyone irritates him at all, he can fly into a murderous rage.

But he is also basically a coward. He will kill if he and the opponent are alone and he thinks he has an overwhelming advantage. He will fight if there is no choice. But if he thinks he is outmatched or if there are witnesses, especially ones that might interfere, he will retreat or try to negotiate. He is a classic example of resorting to reason when brute force fails.

Peter’s Take

Writeups.org contributor Peter Piispanen offers a view on this highly complex, rich literary character: “The way I saw his motivation is that Jekyll is, at his core, a responsible person, but has a lot of untapped potential locked away still. Hyde is another dimension of him entirely where he is completely free, but also twisted in a most unnatural manner.

“Jekyll could quite easily rationalize the actions of Hyde as Hyde is everything Jekyll subconsciously wishes he could be – however, Hyde is also more, quite a lot more, with primal instincts completely awakened and active. Which is why the two are indeed different personas despite their common memories. Thus, psychologically they are together complete, but they also don’t match – a very complex psychodynamic situation.

“However, it’s not impossible to understand their motivations – the style of writing partly makes it appear more complex than what it really is, which is sort of a point. I’d give Jekyll as: Responsibility of Power, Upholding the Good, Thrill of Adventure and Thrillseeker (which is that little seed of “evil” that he has).”


Quotes

Utterson: “You have not been mad enough to hide this fellow ?”
Dr. Henry Jekyll: “I will never set eyes on him again. I bind my honour to you that I am done with him in this world. It is all at an end. And indeed he does not want my help ; you do not know him as I do ; he is safe, he is quite safe ; mark my words, he will never more be heard of.”

Dr. Jekyll: “I began to perceive more deeply than it has ever yet been stated, the trembling immateriality, the mist-like transience of this seemingly so solid body in which we walk attired. Certain agents I found to have the power to shake and to pluck back that fleshly vestment, even as a wind might toss the curtains of a pavilion… For two good reasons, I will not enter deeply into this scientific branch of my confession. First, because I have been made to learn that the doom and burthen of our life is bound for ever on man’s shoulders, and when the attempt is made to cast it off, it but returns upon us with more unfamiliar and more awful pressure. Second, because, as my narrative will make, alas ! too evident, my discoveries were incomplete. Enough, then, that I not only recognised my natural body for the mere aura and effulgence of certain of the powers that made up my spirit, but managed to compound a drug by which these powers should be dethroned from their supremacy, and a second form and countenance substituted, none the less natural to me because they were the expression, and bore the stamp, of lower elements in my soul.”

Jekyll: “I hesitated long before I put this theory to the test of practice. I knew well that I risked death; for any drug that so potently controlled and shook the very fortress of identity, might by the least scruple of an overdose or at the least inopportunity in the moment of exhibition, utterly blot out that immaterial tabernacle which I looked to it to change. But the temptation of a discovery so singular and profound, at last overcame the suggestions of alarm. I had long since prepared my tincture ; I purchased at once, from a firm of wholesale chemists, a large quantity of a particular salt which I knew, from my experiments, to be the last ingredient required ; and late one accursed night, I compounded the elements, watched them boil and smoke together in the glass, and when the ebullition had subsided, with a strong glow of courage, drank off the potion.”

Jekyll: “I must here speak by theory alone, saying not that which I know, but that which I suppose to be most probable. The evil side of my nature, to which I had now transferred the stamping efficacy, was less robust and less developed than the good which I had just deposed. Again, in the course of my life, which had been, after all, nine-tenths a life of effort, virtue, and control, it had been much less exercised and much less exhausted. And hence, as I think, it came about that Edward Hyde was so much smaller, slighter, and younger than Henry Jekyll.”

Jekyll: “That part of me which I had the power of projecting, had lately been much exercised and nourished ; it had seemed to me of late as though the body of Edward Hyde had grown in stature, as though (when I wore that form) I were conscious of a more generous tide of blood ; and I began to spy a danger that, if this were much prolonged, the balance of my nature might be permanently overthrown, the power of voluntary change be forfeited, and the character of Edward Hyde become irrevocably mine.”

Jekyll: “Between these two, I now felt I had to choose. My two natures had memory in common, but all other faculties were most unequally shared between them. Jekyll (who was composite) now with the most sensitive apprehensions, now with a greedy gusto, projected and shared in the pleasures and adventures of Hyde ; but Hyde was indifferent to Jekyll, or but remembered him as the mountain bandit remembers the cavern in which he conceals himself from pursuit.”

Jekyll: “Hyde in danger of his life was a creature new to me ; shaken with inordinate anger, strung to the pitch of murder, lusting to inflict pain.”


Interpretations

There have been numerous stage, movie and television movie versions of the story with all sorts of variations. I remember one where Jekyll was homely and Hyde was a handsome man who was having an affair with Jekyll’s wife. That did not end well.

There was a version with Christopher Lee though I remember little of it. There have even been versions where Jekyll was a man but Hyde was a woman and a very attractive one. Most of these versions are marred by having the same actor portraying both Jekyll and Hyde (the gender-changing ones being an exception).

Simply put, they lose the whole idea that there is a vast physical difference between Jekyll and Hyde. Even the ones that do have a physical difference favor Hyde being the large, powerful one contrary to the whole metaphorical basis of the original. Or they make Hyde hideously ugly or obviously deformed, even subhuman in some cases.

This may be an unavoidable weakness of a visual medium but it is still a weakness.

There are several interpretations of the story that may or may not be of interest for role-playing purposes. Robert Louis Stevenson had a strict religious upbringing but rejected that religion in early adulthood. He was familiar with Charles Darwin’s work and favored a more scientific and evidence-based view of reality.

It has been surmised that, though he referred to “good” and “evil” in his story, what he was really exploring was socialization versus the savage primitive that lurked beneath that conditioning.

Other interpretations

If a game-master prefers this take on the story, then Hyde is more the prehistoric man, more natural or closer to man’s essence. Meanwhile Jekyll is the socially conditioned man, doing what he was taught from childhood but with the primitive or natural instincts still there and he wants to experience them free of all the restraints of countless thousands of years of social evolution.

Paddy Chayefsky’s novel, Altered States , and the movie adapted from it , would be a good modern take on this interpretation of the Jekyll/Hyde story. The Marvel Comics Mr. Hyde expressed admiration for Stevenson’s story and favored that interpretation.

There is also the psychological interpretation. Although Dissociative Identity Disorder or “Multiple Personality Disorder” by name was unknown at the time, Stevenson expressed similar ideas in the story. It was just the idea that there are many aspects to the personality and he believed that there might be not only a Hyde in there but perhaps at least one other personality or more.

But he never explored it beyond a mention. Still, it would be useful for a “real life” version of the Jekyll/ Hyde story.

But the version he wrote involved “good” and “evil”. Whether he was defining them religiously or socially, the story, as written, presents Hyde as the evil side of human nature. Yet he did not present Jekyll as the good side. He presented him as a mixture, what everyone is. Perhaps that third personality above would be the good side of human nature.


Marvel Universe History

This is covered by the existing MU version. Granted he is not literally the Hyde of the original novel but Dr. Calvin Zabo was inspired by and admired the story. Of course, he gave it his own interpretation befitting his own self-centered existence. Sébastien Andrivet has a good profile on the MU Mr. Hyde

If the original Jekyll/ Hyde is introduced in his proper time, having survived his alleged death, he might migrate to the United States and even to the Old West to escape the law on the new frontier. A bigger and more powerful Hyde with some resistance to bullets might make an opponent for the Phantom Rider, the Two-Gun Kid, and so on.

He might team up with Hurricane or other Old West super villains. He would almost certainly attract the attention of the Old West Ghost Rider.


DC Universe History

There is no reason the story of Jekyll and Hyde could not have happened in the history of the DC Universe. In fact, there is no reason all sorts of macabre “romances” of the era could not have happened in the DCU.

Without changing the original story, Hyde could have survived. Perhaps the drug he took at the end was not a drug designed to kill him but to simulate death. Or, staying true to the original where the intention seemed clearly to kill himself, he did die as Hyde but changed back to Jekyll in the morgue, very much alive but doomed to uncontrollably change to Hyde.

But, in a sense, the original Hyde was dead. What arose was a new Hyde, larger and more powerful. With the Jack the Ripper murders only two years in the future, perhaps it was Hyde unless Jack the Ripper appears as a separate character. Hyde could come into conflict with the Gotham By Gaslight version of Batman. He could encounter Jonah Hex or time travelers from the future.


LOEG History

I won’t say much about this as Roy Cowan has a great write up about it. But, next to the original story by Stevenson, this is my favorite take on the character.

Partly this is because most stories are just rehashes of the original story while this is genuinely a sequel. Partly it is because the one thing missing from the original is Hyde’s point of view. The reason you see no quotes from Hyde in this write up is because there are none.

It is entirely from Jekyll’s point of view although he does tell us Hyde’s. ”League” gives us great quotes from Hyde and gets inside of him from his point of view, not just Jekyll’s.

Although I said earlier that one thing I disliked about almost all versions of the story is that they make Hyde big and powerful, I dislike that in a remake of the original because that isn’t what the original story was. But this is a sequel and Stevenson himself foreshadowed in so many words that, had Hyde lived and had more chance to “grow”, his physical form would literally have grown.

This is an excellent take on Jekyll/Hyde and on many other characters of the era. As with all of the other characters, Alan Moore threw something in that signified his knowledge of the source material. It tended to be something true to the original but unknown outside that first source. In the case of Jekyll/Hyde, it was Jekyll’s statement that he used to be bigger and stronger than Hyde.

This is a story I can take seriously as a sequel to the original version.


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

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Dr. Henry Jekyll

Dex: 03 Str: 02 Bod: 02 Motivation: Very complicated
Int: 07 Wil: 04 Min: 03 Occupation: Chemist
Inf: 04 Aur: 03 Spi: 02 Resources {or Wealth}: 012
Init: 012 HP: 010

Skills:
Charisma (Persuasion)*: 04, Detective (Law): 05, Medicine*: 07, Scientist*: 07

Advantages
Area Knowledge (London), Attractive, Expertise (Civil Law), Headquarters (Confined), Stroke of Genius (Biochemistry)

Connections:
Gabriel John Utterson (High), Dr. Lanyon (Low), Royal Society (Low)

Drawbacks:
Age (Older than 50), Dark Secret (He is also Mr. Hyde), Secret Identity


Mr. Edward Hyde

Dex: 05 Str: 03 Bod: 02 Motivation: Complex
Int: 07 Wil: 06 Min: 05 Occupation: Primal Creature
Inf: 04 Aur: 03 Spi: 04 Resources {or Wealth}: 006
Init: 016 HP: 015

Skills:
Charisma (Intimidation)*: 04, Detective (Law): 05, Martial Arts: 03, Medicine*: 07, Scientist*: 07, Weaponry (Melee)*: 05

Advantages
Area Knowledge (London), Expertise (Civil Law), Stroke of Genius (Biochemistry)

Drawbacks:
Alter Ego (Uncontrollable), Mistrust, Rage (Catastrophic), Secret Identity, Strange Appearance

Equipment:
Heavy Cane/Club [BODY 05, EV 03 (04 w/STR)]


Design Notes

Henry Jekyll’s motives are highly complex. Sometimes “Upholding the Good” and “Responsibility of Power”. At other times, debatable whether he is driven by “Thrill of Adventure” or “Thrill Seeker”

Hyde’s motives are complicated although one of the unfortunate things is that we never really get Hyde’s point of view but only Jekyll’s interpretation of his point of view. Most of the time, he is “Thrill Seeking”. Towards the last, he is a “Psychopath”.

His wealth of 12 would be about a hundred thousand dollars a week in our time and place. He does not really pull in that much but it is the equivalent of that for his time and place. His wealth is an estimate based upon his having access to a considerable amount of Jekyll’s money.

Hyde does not physically have “Strange Appearance” but he gives people the feeling of having it and they react as though he does.

I’m a bit unclear about the fine line between the skills of Gadgetry, Medicine and Scientist when it comes to Jekyll’s Chemistry skill. I think of Chemistry as mostly under the Scientist skill. I don’t bother to get into the technicalities of how he transforms as it gradually becomes unnecessary to take the drug.

I considered giving him the “Guilt” disadvantage but he rationalizes away all responsibility for his actions as Hyde.

Jekyll is in the upper levels of Strength 2, able to lift close to 200 pounds. When not agitated, Hyde is in the lower levels of Strength 2, able to lift just a little over a hundred pounds. However, in a fight situation or anytime he gets an adrenaline rush, his effective strength becomes 3.

So, going with Peter Piispanen’s advice, for all practical purposes, his strength is 3 albeit the lower levels of it.

By Doug Mertaugh

Source of Character: The original novel, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson published in 1886.

Helper(s): The Gutenberg Project for the free online novel and Wikipedia for information about Victorian England. Extra special thanks to Peter Piispanen.

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