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Stevenson’s Moral Philosophy in Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

. 1 min read . Written by Fabiano Seixas Fernandes
Stevenson’s Moral Philosophy in Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

Artigo publicado nos anais da 7a Semana de Humanidades (Centro de Humanidades, Universidade Federal do Ceará) em CD-Rom. O abstract pode ser consultado abaixo; o artigo completo pode ser consultado aqui e aqui.

Abstract: This article undertakes an analysis of Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886), by Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson, which advances the claim that his novella can be viewed as a philosophical study (more precisely, a thought experiment) on moral responsibility. A formal analysis of the novella’s last chapter—in which Dr Jekyll explains the circumstances which lead to his demise—centered on Jekyll’s explanations on his creation of Hyde, on his deictic choices when he speaks of Hyde (or of himself as Hyde), as well as on some recurring metaphors (i.e. the use of terms implying kinship, sheltering and garments) makes it plausible that, in a work interspersed with elements of the “penny dreadful” and the police novel, Stevenson might also have been carrying an ethico-cognitive study, and intentionally testing the limits of individual moral responsibility; his novella seems to have reached the conclusion that one cannot escape one’s own conscience. Jekyll’s death is not merely accidental, but a consequence of his initial misguided conclusions, the limitations of which his experience as Hyde would make evident.

Keywords: Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde; Robert Louis Stevenson; moral responsibility.