Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde Addiction Analysis

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The notoriety of Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde has made the narrative about the duality of man humanity known even to those who have never open the book nor seen the famous film adaptation. However, though it may not be immediately apparent, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is, at its core, a story of addiction. Britain’s Pharmacy Act of 1868 had sought to identify and eliminate the use of narcotics, and though the effects were largely beneficial at first, by the 1880’s, when Stevenson’s novella was first published, deaths related to opium were on the rise. It is no coincidence that the title character is a chemist, like those affected by the Pharmacy Act, nor is it a coincidence that he is the victim of an addiction. Stevenson employs the narrative to explore the physical, psychological, and social effects of addiction, as well as the social response. The story, then, serves as an attempt to humanize and understand addiction.
Though the word ‘addiction’ itself does not appear in Stevenson’s novel, his description of Jekyll and his dealings with Hyde,
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He does a commendable job of avoiding prejudicial tropes of the era and does not demonize the drugs themselves, noting that the drug “was neither diabolical nor divine” (63). By outlining the physical, psychological, and social effects of addiction, Stevenson presents a realistic portrayal of this problem without demonizing the person suffering from addiction, and in couching as a metaphor he successfully avoids exploiting addicts as well. The narrative, especially at the time of its publication, was suspenseful, terrifying, and enthralling, and though these elements may not have aged well as the work seems rather tame by today’s standards, the story of addiction has only increased in
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