How do you think that Stevenson wishes us to judge Dr Jekylls experiments concerning Mr Hyde?
I think that Stevenson wants the reader to feel that Jekyll gets what he deserves for releasing Hyde. Although I think that this is his overall intention, he gives Jekylls own justification for it, which dampens the blame from him slightly. However, the justification, when looked at more deeply, conveys another message from Stevenson, that Jekyll knows what he is doing and therefore commits a crime in releasing Hyde.
Stevenson shows his feelings about Hyde and about Jekylls guilt by lavishing Hyde with horrible descriptions. These fall into four main categories, the darkness, the evil, the animal, and peoples reaction to Hyde. Firstly, whenever Hyde appears, it is always night or twilight showing that there is something dark and mysterious about him. Hydes eyes have a blackness in them which terrifies people. There are several references to fire and hell, suggesting that Hyde is a daemon, that has been released from hell.
He is actually called, the child of hell meaning he is pure evil. Also, the fires can be interpreted as trying to ward off evil spirits, such as Hyde. Hydes soul is described as foul, and his character callous and violent. He is described as having Satans signature upon him, as if he has been made by the devil and sent up from hell. Hyde is also frequently compared to an animal. When people talk to Hyde he is savage like a wild animal and has a habit of hissing like a serpent. He is often replaced with it, suggesting that Hyde is an animal. Several times Hyde is actually referred to as the creature and his fury being ape-like. There is something primitive about him, something troglodytic.
In even greater amounts, perhaps, are the reactions that people have when they come face to face with Hyde, and even from a distance. Every single person that has met him feels loathing and fear, and in some cases, a desire to kill, most people feel a simple hatred of him, yet none of them know why. The extent of this feeling is described as hitherto unknown disgust- absolutely appalling revulsion to him. There is something about Hyde that is not visible, that makes people react like this, described as the radiance of a foul soul. Many people search for a deformity in Hyde that is making them feel this way but fail to find it. Hyde has this aura of repulsion around him that makes any decent person draw back from him. When he touches Lanyons arm. Lanyon feels an icy pang that goes up his spine. Obviously, this is the height of Hydes effect, that when you touch him you shiver with discomfort.
Perhaps the most startling aspect of Hyde is that when Jekyll showed Lanyon that he is, in fact, Hyde, Lanyon is so sickened by the thought of it that he becomes ill and dies in a few weeks. This shows absolutely that Jekyll does a terrible thing in unleashing Hyde, and actually telling somebody caused them to die, and Lanyon is one of Jekylls closest friends.
These images are put into the story frequently, and the effect of this is to make the reader feel that Jekyll has released a being so foul that he deserves whatever punishment he got.
And still Stevenson piles it on. He goes into horrific detail about Hyde brutally murdering Sir Danvers Carew, this is clear evidence that he wishes us to feel that Jekyll is to blame for his own experiments. Stevensons description of the murder is really over the top, it starts off with Hyde having an ill-contained impatience. Sir Danvers Carew is merely inquiring his way to Hyde when he broke out with a great flame of anger. Sir Danvers Carew is surprised by Hydes reaction and took a step back. At that moment though, Hyde snapped, he broke all bounds and starts trampling on him. With his stick he is hailing down a storm of blows, and Sir Danvers Carews bones are audibly shattered.
Hyde then runs away, leaving the body incredibly mangled in the middle of the road. Hyde makes no attempt to conceal it, and the horrific details of the murder can only mean the Stevenson wishes us to judge Jekyll as responsible for such a crime. Even there Stevenson does not stop putting on more and more emphasis on the utterly diabolical nature of Hyde. In Dr Jekylls full statement of the case, he states that Hyde gets delight from every blow and runs away, gloating over his crime. Jekyll uses the word I, which is another of Stevensons ways of showing that he wishes us to think that Jekyll is directly responsible.
In Jekylls justification of his actions, he mentions that he enjoyed the freedom that Hyde gave him. He fulfilled his pleasures (which are unspecified), and soon the pleasures turned from undignified to monstrous. When Jekyll remembered what he had done whilst in Hydes body he is aghast at himself. He refers to Hyde as me therefore showing that he is responsible because he did it. Jekyll became careless, and thought that nobody would trace him under his impenetrable mantle. Jekyll also tries to cover up Hydes activities by giving to charities and balancing it out. These two statements suggest that Jekyll knew that he is responsible because he is thinking about the possibility of him being caught. Jekyll also felt pity for Hyde, suggesting that he is not at all innocent.
Jekyll pays for his crimes heavily though, and this is one of the very few times in the story when Stevenson releases Jekyll from the blame. Jekyll is put to considerable expense to pay for Hydes actions. When he tramples over the girl, he is forced to pay ¯¿½100 to her parents. Not to mention the fact that he loses one of his closest friends by telling him and ends up committing suicide to pay for it. But I think that Stevenson wishes us to view even these with severity; firstly, Jekyll taunts Lanyon by bribing him with, power and knowledge, in such a way that Lanyon cannot have refused to know what Hydes secret is. On telling Lanyon, Lanyon dies. Jekyll wants to tell him about his experiments, he wanted to show off, and he insults Lanyon by referring to himself as his superior.
Jekyll obviously enjoys being Hyde, because he suffers a horrible pain when he transforms into him, and would not bother to do it if he wanted to. Sometimes, Jekyll has to triple the dosage in order to transform, something that he wouldnt do unless he is willing to risk his life to transform.
In conclusion, I think that judging from the amount of description that has been put into the Hyde, and the number of references to his joy at being evil, that it is fair to say that Stevenson wishes us to feel that Jekyll is to blame for his experiments and that he pays the price for it with his death.