For my Halloween post at Catholic Match, I got to gush a little about one of my all-time favorite horror films, 1931’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde:
You all know the basic outline of the story: the brilliant, good Dr. Jekyll uses a chemical potion to transform himself in the evil Mr. Hyde, the embodiment of all his worst instincts and desires unfettered by even the smallest shred of conscience. Jekyll uses Hyde because, in that form, he can indulge in the pleasures that “a gentleman like me daren’t take advantage of.”
G.K. Chesterton perceptively pointed out that Jekyll and Hyde is not a story about how one man can be two, but how he cannot.
The whole point of the story is that Jekyll’s double-life, his attempt to contain and keep his sins, was doomed from the start. Because what Jekyll refuses to acknowledge, until it is too late, is that he and Hyde are the same person; what one does affects the other.
The more he lets Hyde out, the more the Hyde personality becomes his ‘true’ self, until by the end of the story Jekyll has effectively been absorbed into Hyde.