Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: Looks Can be Deceiving

Ever since the time we are little we are told that first impressions are everything and it’s crucial to make a good impression on the people we are meeting.  Likewise, we often times judge people – even if it’s inadvertently – on our first impression of them and in the process form conclusions and opinions about them regardless of whether they are factual or not.  However often times there is more to a person than meets the eye.  In the case of Dr. Jekyll what we see on the surface reveals very little about what’s inside.

When Mr. Utterson first describes his impression of Dr. Jekyll he states “He is not easy to describe.  There is something wrong with his appearance; something displeasing, something down-right detestable.  I never saw a man I so disliked, and yet I scarce know why.” (Pg. 53).  So often we judge people on their appearance, or are quick to get a bad feeling about someone.  But many times there are people that we dislike, or form opinions about subconsciously yet we never really know why.  For Dr. Jekyll while the Mr. Hyde that he becomes draws immediate images of a monstrous murderer, there is more to Mr. Hyde then meets the eye.  Mr. Hyde for Dr. Jekyll represents freedom.  He represents freedom from the constraints of Victorian society, freedom from anything holding him back from the lifestyle he wants to live, and most importantly it represents freedom from the parts of himself we wants to forget about.

Ultimately looks can be deceiving, what we think of others and the impression we have others only often tells half the story.  Many times people hide their real selves from others because they fear the reactions and judgment that will be passed upon them.  In the end whether we choose to look past our first impressions and find out the full story or we choose to let our own uniformed opinions define what we think of others, we can never ignore the question who are we?  Are we the people others think we are or we the person that we see ourselves as?

8 thoughts on “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: Looks Can be Deceiving”

  1. I think you bring up a good point of how Mr. Hyde represents freedom for Dr. Jekyll. When Dr. Jekyll transforms into Mr. Hyde, he pushes the boundaries of society and commits crimes and behaves in manners that Dr. Jekyll would not. As far as your question, I think that people are both what others think and how we see ourselves. I believe that people act out in ways that they think is acceptable and closest to their beliefs, but they also try to fit in with others. If people think others see them as a certain way, and they like how they’re seen, then they will try to remain that way in the eyes of others.

  2. I agree with Darrien that people are both what others think as well as how we see ourselves. People will act in a way that they think is acceptable in society and that reflects their own personality. Dr. Jekyll doesn’t know how to express his personality and has to channel his behaviors into Mr. Hyde when he transforms.

  3. I also agree with Darrien and Harlie that people are both what others think and how we see ourselves. Some people care a lot about how others think of them so their actions reflect on how people will respond to them. If people feel like they are accepted and fit in, than they will feel good about themselves. Other people have a lot of individuality and base their actions strictly on themselves and their beliefs. They don’t care about what others think of them. I think a good balance is being both, caring about your reputation but also having the ability to stand out and be yourself.

  4. It had never really occurred to me that Mr. Hyde represented freedom. I think it is a really interesting view on his character. I feel as though Dr. Jekyll lacks the self-confidence he needs to be his true self because he had to create a separate character in order to behave how he wants to.

  5. We are both the person we think we are and the person we see ourselves as. To ourselves, of course, maybe our own perception of ourselves matters. But it is probably pretty hard to be out in the world without people having a set of ideas or an impression about the person you are, which is not always a bad thing. I am sure that Mr. Hyde derived enjoyment from being known around town as the ghoulish, unsavory figure that he so desired to become by running over the small child and killing the other person. If we are satisfied with our actions, then it should follow that we are going to be satisfied with what others think of them. Hyde’s reputation precedes him, but I’m sure he doesn’t mind… Especially when coupled with the fact that he doesn’t have to necessarily live with his reputation, after he changes back to his default Dr. Jekyll character, a very well respected figure.

  6. When you say we only see half the story when we judge others, could that mean therefore that we’re only seeing half of Mr. Hyde? Everyone’s impressions of him are that he is just pure evil, but then again our impressions of Dr. Jekyll were all good (until we find out about Hyde). I’m not defending Hyde’s actions, but I do wonder if we heard the story from Mr. Hyde’s perspective if he would portray himself as the suffering protagonist fighting for freedom/control over an oppressive Dr. Jekyll?

  7. I’m going to bring a different perspective to the table and say that we are neither who we think we are, or who other people think we are. I say this because in most cases we perceive ourselves differently than how others perceive us. How do we tell who is right? We could think that we are good people, but then be perceived as bad. We could think that we are extroverted, but be perceived as introverted. Could it be possible that Mr. Jekyll is the person who society perceives him as, and then Mr. Hyde is who he thinks he is?

    1. This is a really interesting dilemma, I would tend to agree with you that we are neither who we think are or what others people see us as. In reality who we are is probably something in-between who we see ourselves as and what others see ourselves as; the only problem is we never actually get to this “in-between” state of who we are. I also certainly agree that Mr. Hyde could represent who Dr. Jekyll thinks he is as a person, as sometimes people take on personas of who they think they want to be like.

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