Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde Chapter 3 Summary

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  • 0:04 The Story So Far
  • 1:20 Chapter 3 Summary
  • 3:45 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Arielle Windham

Arielle has worked worked with elementary, middle, and secondary students in American and Japan. She has a bachelor's degree in English and a master's in Education.

Chapter 3 of Robert Louis Stevenson's 'The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde' is short but integral to unraveling the story's mystery. This lesson summarizes the action and discusses the important character we finally get to meet.

The Story So Far

An 1880s Poster
jekyll and hyde

We all know the basic story of Robert Louis Stevenson's classic, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The good Jekyll and the evil Hyde are the same person. It's a spine-tingling story about the evil lurking within each of us. Or at least, that is what years of adaptations and retellings would have us believe. But reading the original story opens up a world of much deeper meaning.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde don't even show up in person for the first part of the book. Instead, the bulk of the first two chapters focuses on Mr. Utterson, a lawyer. Utterson has heard from his friend, Mr. Enfield, a strange and disturbing story about a Mr. Hyde. Enfield was walking home late one night when he saw Hyde collide with a young girl. The girl was injured, but Hyde just kept walking! Events unfolded over the early morning and ended with Hyde producing a large check signed by Dr. Jekyll. Enfield found it strange, but Utterson finds the tale important and perplexing.

You see, Utterson is Dr. Jekyll's lawyer and is in charge of his will. It's a strange will that names Hyde as Jekyll's beneficiary. Utterson doesn't like it. Now that he knows where Hyde lives, he decides to find out what kind of man he is.

When they do meet, Utterson isn't impressed. In fact, he pretty much hates Hyde. This brings us to Chapter 3.

Chapter 3 Summary

Two weeks after his run in with Hyde, Utterson finally has a chance to visit with Dr. Jekyll. The esteemed doctor has thrown a dinner party. Utterson hangs out after everyone leaves to chat with Jekyll.

Utterson brings up the will. Jekyll apologizes for being a pain as a client but tries to change the subject to a mutual acquaintance. Utterson is not dissuaded, pointing out again he doesn't like the will. He adds that he has learned something about Mr. Hyde.

''The large handsome face of Dr. Jekyll grew pale to the very lips, and there came a blackness about his eyes.'' Clearly, the good doctor doesn't want to talk about Mr. Hyde. ''This is a matter I thought we had agreed to drop,'' he says.

Utterson continues to push. He thinks his friend is being blackmailed or something by the nefarious Hyde. Utterson tells Jekyll that he can confess anything.

Jekyll refuses to give up any information on Mr. Hyde or change his mind about the will. He tries to ease Utterson's worry a little. He tells the lawyer he ''can be rid of Mr. Hyde'' the moment he chooses and encourages Utterson to quit digging into the mysterious Mr. Hyde.

Utterson gives in, trusting his friend's good judgment.

Jekyll ends the conversation by telling Utterson that he has ''a very great interest in the poor Hyde'' and he makes the lawyer promise to get Hyde justice if anything should happen to him.

Utterson reluctantly agrees, only adding ''I can't pretend that I shall ever like him.''

''I only ask for justice; I only ask you to help him for my sake, when I am no longer here,'' Jekyll replies.

What can Utterson do but promise?

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