This GCSE English Literature quiz is about dialogue in Robert Louis Stevenson's Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. All direct speech in literature is referred to as “dialogue”, despite the fact that the technical meaning of the term refers to a conversation between at least two people. Dialogue, which is a significant aspect of characterisation, provides the reader with important information about the characters. If a reader pays careful attention to the style and content of a character’s speech, it becomes easier to create a mental portrait of that person. Dialogue can also cause change by provoking action. Although Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde contains plenty of dialogue, many of the most dramatic speeches and events occur in written accounts by Dr Lanyon and Dr Jekyll.
Much of the most important information in Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is revealed at the end, in the two personal accounts which Mr Utterson reads. In fact, the novella ends rather abruptly with the final thoughts of Dr Jekyll, although he has already died by the time we, and Utterson, read his words. It is fascinating to follow Dr Jekyll’s changing language as he discusses the two personalities residing in his single body.
One possible approach to analysing dialogue in a work of fiction is to ask yourself how a particular character’s speech differs from that of the other characters. Look for evidence of different vocabularies or registers used. Some characters change their style of speech over time, others change depending on their situation. Can you see any patterns in how characters vary their speech according to the social standing of the person being addressed?
It is a good idea to memorise some dialogue when preparing for a literature exam. Try to memorise a few lines for each character and to think about how the memorised dialogue relates to the significant themes of the text.
The quiz below asks you to remember which character speaks the words. Spend a moment to consider the significance of the quoted dialogue before you answer each question. What type of character would speak those words? Could any other character have possibly spoken in the same manner? Why, or why not? What does that information tell you about the novel and how those characters might be related thematically?