Comprehension questions on Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, taken from:
CHAPTER 1 STORY OF THE DOOR
1. What is Mr. Utterson’s relationship to Mr. Enfield? How are the two men alike, different?
2. Compare and contrast the description of the building and door used by Mr. Hyde and Enfield’s description of him. How does Stevenson seem to be using setting to convey a sense of the man?
3. What is the story of Cain and Abel? What does it mean that Mr. Utterson says he inclines to Cain’s heresy in his dealings
with others? Explain why you agree or disagree with this way of dealing with your acquaintances. Do you feel you would
want to ignore or confront them with their failings or foolishness so they would improve their lives?
4. Although both Utterson and Enfield protest that they prefer to mind their own business, both men actively seek to help
others. Describe Enfield’s reaction to Hyde’s collision with the little girl. Do you think a citizen today would respond
similarly to a wrong doer? Why or why not? What does this say about basic assumptions of how a gentleman should act
in Victorian London?
CHAPTER 2 SEARCH FOR MR. HYDE
1. Describe the reason that Dr. Lanyon became estranged from Dr. Jekyll. What does this indicate about Lanyon’s character?
2. Why is Utterson so obsessed with images from Enfield’s story about Hyde that he cannot sleep?
3. Once Utterson confronts Hyde, how does he feel toward him? What reasons does Utterson give for his feelings about
Hyde? In Utterson’s response to Hyde, what does Stevenson tell us about Hyde?
4. Why doesn’t Stevenson ever tell us what Hyde’s face looks like?
5. Describe the appearance of the street and house in which Dr. Jekyll lives. What can we infer about Dr. Jekyll from this setting?
6. Utterson’s speculation on Jekyll’s connection to Hyde makes him reflect on his own vices and failings. What could
Stevenson be implying about human nature in Utterson’s reflection?
CHAPTER 3 DR. JEKYLL WAS QUITE AT EASE
1. How does Jekyll describe Lanyon? What does this suggest about Jekyll’s feelings about his own abilities?
2. What does Jekyll ask of Utterson at the end of the chapter? Why does Utterson have strong misgivings about this request?
CHAPTER 4 THE CAREW MURDER CASE
1. What is revealed about the levels of Victorian society in the first page of this chapter?
2. How is Hyde described as he kills Sir Danvers Carew? How does this image fit with the other physical descriptions
Stevenson has given of Hyde?
3. As Utterson takes the police officer to arrest Hyde, Stevenson gives a vivid description of “the dismal quarter of Soho” where Hyde lives. What is the effect of this description on our mood? What is the effect of this description on our understanding of Hyde?
4. Why do you think that Utterson feels “a terror of the law and the law’s officers”?
5. Is there any significance in the fact that although Hyde’s specific facial features cannot be recognized, everyone remembers
the sense of deformity he conveyed?
CHAPTER 5 INCIDENT OF THE LETTER
1. Dr. Jekyll is a changed man when Utterson greets him in this chapter compared to the last time Utterson saw him. What accounts for this change?
2. What lesson do you think Jekyll has learned?
CHAPTER 6 REMARKABLE INCIDENT OF DR. LANYON
What happens to Dr. Lanyon? Is there any suggestion about what has caused his illness?
CHAPTER 7 INCIDENT AT THE WINDOW
Why does Utterson mutter “God forgive us” after the incident at the window?
CHAPTER 8 THE LAST NIGHT
1. Why does Poole believe that his master has been murdered?
2. What is the evidence that a troubled person had lived in the room where Hyde was found dead?
CHAPTER 9 DR. LANYON’S NARRATIVE
1. What caused Lanyon to become mortally ill? How do we know that Lanyon was so vulnerable to shock? Has Stevenson sufficiently prepared us for the disastrous effect of Jekyll’s revelations? Why did Stevenson need to kill Lanyon off for
purposes of plot?
2. Why did Jekyll want to reveal his transformation to Dr. Lanyon?
CHAPTER 10 HENRY JEKYLL’S FULL STATEMENT OF THE CASE
1. What led to Dr. Jekyll’s “profound duplicity of life”?
2. What does Jekyll mean when he says that man is “truly two” and that “in the agonized womb of consciousness,
these polar twins should be continuously struggling?
3. Why did Jekyll enjoy being Hyde? In other words, what aspects of Hyde’s persona were attractive to Jekyll?
4. Was Jekyll ever able not to feel guilty for the sins of Hyde? Why or why not?
5. Jekyll describes his descent from the undignified to the monstrous. What caused this descent?
6. What are the main reasons that Jekyll tries to cast off his Hyde nature forever?
7. Why does Jekyll’s lower nature come to dominate him?
8. Why does Hyde commit suicide?
9. What morals or lessons can we draw from the strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde?