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Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde - Themes
About what do Dr Lanyon and Dr Jekyll disagree?

Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde - Themes

This GCSE English Literature quiz looks at theme in Robert Louis Stevenson's Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. A theme, in literature, is an idea conveyed by the text. Any work of literature contains multiple themes, ranging from the subtle to the obvious. Themes do not appear in isolation, but instead interact with each other. The essential elements of fiction, such as setting, character, plot and dialogue, are the vehicles through which an author develops the themes of the text.

When studying a text, explore the related ideas and concepts you find, tracing the development of its different themes. Check your own opinions on these ideas: do you notice any opinions which you have developed or changed over the course of the text?

It can be useful to compare your thoughts at the end of the text with those you held as you began reading. Have you changed your views on any of the key issues? If so, could you explain why? Try to identify the part in the text where you notice your personal views developing. A reader’s response to a text will be deeply personal because each reader brings individual thoughts, beliefs and experiences into consideration while reading.

The themes of Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde concern the stuff of nightmares: how to reign in curiosity, rather than allowing it to go too far; whether the existence of evil is an inescapable part of being human, or whether humanity can excise it; repression and the fear of death, amongst others. How are you meant to respond to these themes? What do you think of Jekyll’s experiment? How far do you think Dr Jekyll is responsible for the murders committed by Mr Hyde? Do you agree with Dr Lanyon, or do you pity Jekyll?

Read the questions below and test your knowledge of the themes of Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.

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1.
About what do Dr Lanyon and Dr Jekyll disagree?
The ethics of keeping a person such as Mr Hyde behind bars
The aims, purposes and methods of science
The ethics of testing potions on a human being
The ethics of conducting animal experiments
Dr Lanyon describes some of Dr Jekyll's work as "unscientific balderdash". Dr Jekyll describes his own work as being "towards the mystic and the transcendental", which were not considered traditional scientific pursuits
2.
Friendship is important in the text. Mr Utterson is described at the beginning as "the last reputable acquaintance and the last good influence in the lives of down-going men". How does friendship relate to the novella's conclusion?
Dr Lanyon's death of shock is caused by his deep love for his old friend
Dr Jekyll leaves Mr Utterson the packet containing the will and two testimonies because the lawyer is his last remaining friend
Mr Hyde commits suicide because he feels he has betrayed a friend
All of the above
Dr Jekyll signs his letter to Utterson, "Your unworthy and unhappy friend, Henry Jekyll"
3.
When he turns his back on Mr Hyde, one of Dr Jekyll's key changes in behaviour is to become less reclusive and to hold dinner parties once again. This behaviour exemplifies which theme in the text?
The pursuit of truth
The nature of reality
The base nature of humanity
The relationship between respectability and openness
The impetus which leads to the nightmarish life of Mr Hyde is Dr Jekyll's desire to be able to separate his disreputable side from the respectable old man which he is becoming
4.
Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is much concerned with evidence and the use of evidence in order to arrive at the truth. Which of the following is an instance of this theme in the novella?
Dr Jekyll's/Mr Hyde's insistence on transforming before the eyes of Dr Lanyon
The two written testimonies which form the last two chapters of the novella
Mr Utterson's misunderstanding of the reasons lying behind Dr Jekyll's will and his repeated attempts to discover the truth
All of the above
While Mr Utterson is suspicious throughout the tale, his suspicions are misdirected and all of his efforts are unable to provide the evidence he needs in order to understand the dreadful events which have been taking place. Dr Jekyll's entire self-experiment with the duality of the person is also an instance in which the theme of evidence arises
5.
"Yes, I preferred the elderly and discontented doctor, surrounded by friends and cherishing honest hopes; and bade a resolute farewell to the liberty, the comparative youth, the light step, leaping pulses and secret pleasures, that I had enjoyed in the disguise of Hyde." With what does this quotation associate youth?
Freedom and pleasure
The company of friends
Hope and honesty
Discontentedness
Dr Jekyll enjoys Mr Hyde's youthful vigour. One of his fears is of aging, which he associates with discontentedness, boredom and eventual death
6.
Dr Jekyll's increasing inability to control Mr Hyde relates to which of the following themes?
Friendship
The search for truth
Repression
Science and the inexplicable
Mr Hyde represents all that is repressed in Dr Jekyll; when Mr Hyde is temporarily restrained by Jekyll, he eventually bursts forth in greater power and murderous rage
7.
Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is structured as a mystery story in which the great surprise is not revealed until near the end of the novella. To which theme does this structure most directly relate?
The dual nature of humanity
Friendship
The discovery of truth
The struggle between good and evil
Both Mr Utterson's and Dr Jekyll's professions, as a lawyer and a scientist respectively, are involved in the search for the truth
8.
Which of the following does NOT relate to the theme of the savage or brutal nature of man?
Mr Poole's references to Mr Hyde as an "it"
Mr Poole's comparison of Mr Hyde's movement to that of a monkey
Dr Jekyll's reference to Mr Hyde as a "creature"
Mr Hyde's possession of a key to the lab door
The lower, evil nature of man is represented in the novel as animalistic and ruled by the passions, rather than rational thought
9.
"I began to perceive more deeply than it has ever yet been stated, the trembling immateriality, the mist-like transience, of this seemingly so solid body in which we walk attired." What does Dr Jekyll mean by this statement?
That the human body does not exist at all
That the human body is unchangeable
That the human body is not as solid and unchangeable as it seems
That the human body is entirely solid
Dr Jekyll is working at the very edge of scientific knowledge and begins to doubt the solidity of physical existence. This is one reason why it is important that Mr Hyde does not share the same body as Dr Jekyll
10.
Which personal psychological theory does Dr Jekyll set out to test with his potion?
The dual nature of humanity
The relative weakness of evil compared to good
The existence of another species of human
All of the above
In his confession, Jekyll writes: "man is not truly one, but truly two". Note the repetition of the word "truly", reinforcing the theme of the search for truth
Author:  Sheri Smith

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