Symbols in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Topics: Symbolism

A symbol in literature is a figure speech where an object, person or situation has another meaning apart from its literal meaning. Through the story you can find different kinds of symbols shown such as; Mist and the moonlight, the appearance of evil, letters and documents, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, etc.

Two symbols I will be focusing on are the mist and the moonlight. The Mist and Moonlight creates an environment of mystery and of suspense. It makes the reader imagine the scene of the story.

In the book The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson’s declares, ‘Although a fog rolled over the city in the small hours, the early part of the night was cloudless, and the lane, which the maid’s window overlooked, was brilliantly lit by the full moon (Stevenson 21)’. In this quote I believe it means that the night warns the characters that something not good is going to happen, the mist in this case is a metaphor, the mist swerving through the city indirectly tells us that Hyde is going to do something bad.

Automatically when fog is around is Hyde. The Moonlight represents the evil and the suspense of the story.

Moonlight and Darkness in the Story

The main theme of the moonlight, darkness, and mist create a scene of an evil mystery, and uneasiness throughout the book. This represents darkness in the story. When these words appear in the story imagine negative results. In The strange case of Dr.

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Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the events that happen after each one of these themes are illustrated. The moonlight, darkness, mist, and night are extremely significant throughout the story. This is what the story is all about. I can’t describe it in other words than the main illustration of the book. The author explains it as it is not as what you think it is. He uses words you can imagine in your head or picture it. When these themes are portrayed in each chapter there is a sensation of wickedness in the atmosphere. Usually Mr. Hyde is available or associated when the author uses these themes. The reason being that is because he is the bad person in the story. Each time the theme of a mist like plot or fog filled environment is disclosed in the text, a bad intimidation is attached and the mood becomes mysterious and eventful. It’s like in movies when you start hearing that scary sound effect you automatically know something bad is going to happen or something scary.

In the book The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson’s states, “In the morning before office hours, at noon when business was plenty, and time scarce, at night under the face of the fogged city moon, by all the lights and at all hours of solitude or concourse, the lawyer was to be found on his chosen post (Stevenson 15)”. This quote indicates that when Mr. Hyde is mentioned throughout the book, the author adds expressive details that come across as mystical and mystifying. Adding hours or time events makes the story more realistic, entering and makes you eager. Fog and mist were present during plot changing events and significant circumstances, further into the story it keeps developing the storyline. A definition for Fog and mist are known for blocking our view. In other words for the story clouding our judgment. The weird environment often secludes the character, leaving them alone and isolated and serves as a symbol of the misfortune that is to come. Meaning like that one character in a movie scene where nowhere to be found in the middle of nowhere. The mood and tone attached with these elements leave the reader feeling fearful and curious.

In the novel The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson’s states, “The fog still slept on the wing above the drowned city, where the lamps glimmered like carbuncles; through the muffle and smother of these fallen clouds,…sound as of a mighty wind (Stevenson 27)”. This can mean sometning like driving in foggy and rainy weather, where our vision is blurred and obscure, in other words for the novel our judgment is often misguided and leads us down a wrong path. Many people find themselves in a gloomy mood with the weather is bad and fog fills the air. There’s a common saying that states, “I’m feeling under the weather”, presents how the fog and mist are like the theme of the weather influences our moods and feelings. Just like how summer and winter makes you feel. Overall the presence of fog and mist are most importantly seen as unwanted and dismal conditions foreshadowing bad outcomes. If you indicate this with the seasons of the year you can state that the winter is the evil and the summer is the angel.

Usage of Moonlight

While the other themes constantly provide mystery for the book, moonlight acts as an ‘enlightenment’ theme, giving more hints then tracking them. The first place we see this is in the “Carew Murder Case” section. There’s a quote in the novel The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde that states, ‘It sometimes appeared as if were only inquiring his way, but the moon shone on his face as he spoke, and the girl was pleased to watch it. It seemed to breathe such an innocent and old world kindness of disposition yet was something high too as of a well founded self-content. Presently her eyes wandered to the other and she was surprised to recognize in him a certain Mr. Hyde who had once visited her master and for whom she had conceived a dislike (Stevenson 21)”. This can mean or you can see in the quote that the moonlight shows the innocence of Carew and also the evil that is Mr. Hyde. as previously said and shown. In the last passage regarding moonlight, it also not only a unclear hint, but actually a foreshadowing image.

This chapter uses the moonlight to foreshadow another piece of information given light to but also foreshadows even farther with the ‘titled moon’ meaning it was a half moon. The texture of the hand writing may be very similar. This vaguely points to the fact Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde are one light side and one dark side to the same whole.

To summarize this theme, the author uses moonlight to reveal and bring a slightly more peaceful feeling to the story. Commonly, people are afraid of the dark, but that’s more of because people are afraid of the unknown in the dark, just like the moonlight gives light to the unknown parts of the dark in real life, the moonlight in this story enlightens us on the mystery. The moonlight gives in real life a little peace to our shoulders rather then being somewhere pitched black. We can all relate to this. Many people are afraid of the darkness. The streets of Utterson’s London are obscured by the weather, just as the mysteries of Mr. Hyde’s crimes and existence, and his relationship with Jekyll, are themselves obscured. The mist makes the layout of the streets hard to follow, and makes the Gothic façade in question in chapter one juts ominously from the others. Effects of light are used to forewarn and indicate the coming on of Jekyll’s transformations and Hyde’s violence, and the moon sheds an eerie light over the most suspenseful moments. “The fire burned in the grate; a lamp was set lighted on the chimney shelf, for even in the houses the fog began to lie thickly; and there, close up to the warmth, sat Dr. Jekyll, looking deathly sick. He did not rise to meet his visitor, but held out a cold hand and bade him welcome in a changed voice (Stevenson 25)”. Overall, many of the essential events involving Hyde took place during the night. The bleak mood of night supported in creating a scene suitable for the appearance of Hyde.

Word Cited

  1. Symbol,literature,…880.10533.0.10661.….0…1.1.64.psy-ab..0.0.0….0.aK_5Ji6MGnY
  2. Stevenson, Robert Louis, 1850-1894. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. London :New English Library, 1974. Print.

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Symbols in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. (2021, Nov 16). Retrieved from

Symbols in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
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