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Stevenson: Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

18. Chapter 10 – Fathers and Sons (pp. 59-63)

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About this Lecture


In this module, we read through the third part of the tenth and final chapter of the novel, focusing in particular on: (i) the extent to which we might see Dr Jekyll's actions as a 'mid-life crisis'; (ii) the extent to which Dr Jekyll's (apparent) boredom with life as a doctor and his attraction to the uninhibited, hedonistic life of Mr Hyde, are reflections of Stevenson's real-life experience as a lawyer-turned-writer; (iii) Dr Jekyll's loss of control, and the extent to which this mirrors real life addictions and other compulsive behaviours; (iv) the recapitulation of the earlier chapters in the novel – but this time from the point of view of Dr Jekyll/Mr Hyde; (v) the importance of hands; (vi) the importance of free will, and the connection in Christian thinking between exercising one's free will and doing wrong; (vii) the importance of father-son relationships ("Jekyll had more than a father's interest; Hyde had more than a son's indifference") – not only in this novel, but also in contemporary psychoanalytical theory and indeed in some of greatest works of literature over the ages.


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 – Fathers and Sons (pp. 59-63) [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

McRae, J. "Stevenson: Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde – Chapter 10 – Fathers and Sons (pp. 59-63)." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 22 Oct 2020,