The pleasures which I made haste to seek in my disguise were, as I have said, undignified…
Robert Louis Stevenson, page 83, First Vintage Classics Edition, 1991
Mr. Utterson, a lawyer in Victorian London, suspects that his long-time friend, the respectable Dr. Jekyll, is the victim of blackmail after the doctor designates the mysterious Mr. Hyde as his sole beneficiary. Mr. Utterson’s concern reaches a fever pitch after Mr. Hyde is connected to a series of violent crimes. Mr. Hyde is wanted for murder and the trail of evidence leads to the laboratory of Dr. Jekyll. The revelation of the true nature of their relationship is more disturbing than Mr. Utterson could have possibly imagined.
Stevenson dramatizes the eternal struggle between our nobler and baser instincts. As Dr. Jekyll discovers, indulging the darker side of our nature has the potential to alter the course of our lives permanently. There may be no going back if Mr. Hyde is allowed to escape.
The theme of duplicity, and the contrast between public persona and private vice, will be familiar to the criminal practitioner.
The story is also a reminder of how society may encourage duplicitous behaviour in law-abiding citizens when it vilifies conduct that harms no one.