Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Robert Louis Stevenson

Category: Science Fiction
Morality: A-
Writing: A-

This book surprised me when I picked it up — it’s short! One of those stories that everyone has heard of but no one knows much about (thanks to the countless movie versions and spin-offs), this novelette actually presents an intriguing look into human character and the nature of good and evil. Dr. Jekyll, an upstanding citizen known for his virtue, succeeds in creating a potion which will allow him to distill his evil nature from his good one. He can become completely evil when he wishes and gratify all his perverse desires, then return to his virtuous self with complete indemnity. However, his duplicitous lifestyle becomes confused when the evil side starts to take over.

Stevenson, who did not, as far as I know, profess Christianity, still manages to make some interesting and significant points about the nature of evil. The last chapter of this short book explores the idea of an inborn sin nature which wants to take complete control, and provokes many philosophical questions and ideas. Stevenson’s view of human nature, so far as it goes, seems quite orthodox, and I enjoyed and appreciated his intriguing analysis.

Stylistically the book is of course good; Stevenson’s works aren’t being read so many years after they were written for no reason. Categorizing this book as sci-fi may seem like a stretch to some, but considering the plot I think it qualifies; its philosophical undertones simply serve to recommend it further.

Posted by Sasha | April 20, 2003

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