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How does Stevenson Make Mr Utterson an Interesting and Significant Character in "Jekyll and Hyde"?

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Introduction

In What Ways Does Stevenson Make Mr Utterson an Interesting and Significant Character? Mr Utterson is a middle-aged lawyer, and a man in which all the characters confide throughout the novel. Being an old friend of Jekyll, he recognizes the changes and strange occurrences of Jekyll and Hyde, and resolves to further investigate the relationship between the two men. He is perhaps the most circumspect, respected, and rational character in the novel. Mr Utterson?s personality is not very exciting. He is clearly not a man of strong passions or sensibilities. The author intends for him to be perceived in this way. From the first page of the novel, the text notes that Utterson has a face that is ?never lighted by a smile,? he speaks very little, and he seems ?lean, long, dusty, [and] dreary.? Yet, somehow, he is ?lovable,? and has many friends. His lovability may stem from the only interesting characteristic that Stevenson gives him, which is his willingness to remain friends with those whose reputation has suffered. Mr Utterson is not anxious to judge and condemn others, which allows many people of different backgrounds to come to him to seek advice. ...read more.

Middle

He considers that misdeeds may be occurring but not that the metaphysical might be taking place. Until the end, when he is summoned by Poole to Jekyll?s home, Utterson continues to look for an explanation that preserves rationale, suggesting instead that Jekyll is simply ill. Through Utterson?s devotion to both etiquette and reason, Stevenson depicts Victorian society?s general attempt to maintain the authority of civilization over and against humanity?s darker side, making his character very important. Stevenson suggests that just as Utterson prefers the suppression or avoidance of the truth, Victorian society prefers to repress and deny the existence of an uncivilized element of humanity, no matter how intrinsic it may be. Mr Utterson is the most respected and sensible character in the novel. Therefore, it is significant that the reader views Hyde's crimes and Jekyll's hypocrisy through his perspective. This way, the reader discovers the answers at the same point as Mr Utterson does. Furthermore, by having Utterson as the character through whom the reader encounters most other characters and events, the reader also experiences Mr Utterson?s daily life in great detail. Stevenson contrasts the normal life of a gentleman with the ?undignified pleasures? of Mr Hyde. ...read more.

Conclusion

The lawyer is the type of person who inspires trust. When Dr. Lanyon leaves a note which is "not to be opened till the death or disappearance of Dr. Henry Jekyll?, Mr. Utterson has the opportunity to unlock the secrets of the mystery, but his professional honour prevents him from reading the sealed letter. It represents temptation vs. self control, and is the contrast between Utterson and Jekyll. By making Utterson so trustworthy, loyal and professional, Stevenson gives the reader a moral citizen to compare Jekyll and Hyde to. This makes his character important. Mr Utterson plays the role of a detective. He has links to all the major characters in the novel, and when he doesn?t know someone, like Mr Hyde, he makes sure he meets him. He says, ?If he be Mr Hyde, I shall be Mr Seek.? This shows he will do anything, even meet the scariest man in London to try and protect Jekyll, which conveys his loyalty and bravery. By giving him the role of a detective, Stevenson makes Mr Utterson an integral part of the reader?s discovery of the truth about Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Stevenson has made Mr Utterson a very significant character by giving him important roles throughout the novel. He has made Mr Utterson interesting by attributing simple yet remarkable characteristics to him. ...read more.

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