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Stevenson: Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

9. Chapter 4 – The Murder of Carew (pp. 21-23)

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About this Lecture


In this module, we read through the first half of the fourth chapter of the novel, in which we witness the brutal murder of Sir Danvers Carew by Mr. Hyde. In particular, we focus on: (i) the two possible pronunciations of ‘Carew’, and the extent to which this feeds into the theme of ‘doubles’ in the novel more generally; (ii) the precision once again of Stevenson’s timing (“Nearly a year later, in the month of October”); (iii) why Victorian novels will often obscure details such as the names of people, places, or the exact year (“October 18––“); (iv) the popularity of the whodunnit in the last third of the nineteenth century; (v) the reason that the murder of Sir Danvers Carew is seen through the eyes of an unnamed maid; and (vi) the humour of the policeman whose “eye lighted up with professional ambition”.


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 4 – The Murder of Carew (pp. 21-23) [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

McRae, J. "Stevenson: Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde – Chapter 4 – The Murder of Carew (pp. 21-23)." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 22 Oct 2020,