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Stevenson: Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

17. Chapter 10 – Beyond Good and Evil (pp. 56-9)

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About this Lecture


In this module, we read through the second part of the tenth chapter of the novel, focusing in particular on: (i) the idea of one's mental (ill) health becoming a burden, something that is potentially treatable with medicine; (ii) the contrast between the Victorian values of solidity and permanence, and Jekyll's "trembling immateriality" and "mistlike transience" – and the extent to which these latter concepts evoke Shakespeare; (iii) the neatness of the novel's structure, which features Jekyll's first and last drinks of the potion in subsequent chapters; (iv) the importance of the mirror and the theme of self-awareness and self-recognition; (v) pathetic fallacy: "the constellations looked down upon me"; (vi) the origin of the name "Edward Hyde"; (vii) the supposed connection between physical deformity and moral bankruptcy; (viii) the importance of Nietzsche's Beyond Good and Evil (1886) and the extent to which Stevenson anticipates the ideas of thinkers such as Jacques Lacan and Michel Foucault, and the preoccupations of Modernism and Surrealism; and (ix) the extent to which Dr Jekyll tangles with different aspects of his own personality in his experiments 'with' Mr Hyde.


In this course, Professor John McRae (University of Nottingham) explores Robert Louis Stevenson’s ‘Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’. In the first two modules, we provide a broad introduction to the social, historical, cultural context of the novel, focusing in particular on Stevenson’s life and career, his literary and cultural influences, and his own influence on later writers. In the seventeen modules that follow, we read through the novel chapter-by-chapter, providing close reading and analysis, including commentary on themes and motifs, the structure of the novel, its multiple narrators and narratives, significant objects (keys, doors, hands, mirrors, etc.), literary influences (Shakespeare, Marlowe, James Hogg, etc.), intellectual influences (Darwin, Nietzsche, Freud), important elements from Stevenson’s own life – and much, much more.

Note: Page numbers in these lectures refers to the Penguin Classics edition of the novel (‘The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and Other Tales of Terror’, ed. Robert Mighall). Students using a different version of the novel may encounter slight differences in page numbering.


John McRae is Special Professor of Language in Literature Studies and Teaching Associate in the School of English at Nottingham University, and holds Visiting Professorships in China, Malaysia, Spain and the USA. He is co-author of The Routledge History of Literature in English with Ron Carter, and also wrote The Language of Poetry, Literature with a Small 'l' and the first critical edition of Teleny by Oscar Wilde and others.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

McRae, J. (2020, October 22). Stevenson: Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde - Chapter 10 – Beyond Good and Evil (pp. 56-9) [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

McRae, J. "Stevenson: Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde – Chapter 10 – Beyond Good and Evil (pp. 56-9)." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 22 Oct 2020,