Dr JEKYLL and Mr HYDE: Chapter Summaries Synopsis (2023)

OxNotesGCSE/IGCSE SubjectsGCSE English Literature› Chapter Summaries of The Strange Case ofDr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

Chapter 1: The story of the door

Mr Utterson is a wealthy, well-respected lawyer. The writer states that Utterson never abandons a friend whose reputation has been ruined, despite his respectability.

Utterson has a close friendship with Mr Enfield, a distant relative and respectable gentleman. On their Sunday walk, they come across the strange door (the entrance to Dr Jekyll’s laboratory) of a neglected building which seemed out of place on the expensive street.

Mr Enfield recalls a story of how he came to know the building. He witnessed a young girl running into a man, who trampled over her. Enfield grabbed the man, bringing him back to where a crowd had gathered. The man's appearance was horrid looking as if he was deformed. The crowd threatened to destroy the man's reputation unless he paid the family £100, a lot of money at the time. Mr Hyde brings a cheque out of the neglected building, the cheque had the signature of a very respectable man. Despite Enfield’s suspicions, the check was not a forgery. To avoid spreading gossip, Enfield refuses to reveal the name on the cheque to Utterson.

(Video) 'Jekyll and Hyde' Chapter 1: Summary

Mr Enfield guesses that the culprit somehow blackmailed the reputable man whose name was on the cheque. Utterson is very interested and asks whether Enfield is certain Hyde used a key to open the door. Enfield is certain.

Chapter 2: The search for Mr Hyde

Troubled by his conversation with Enfield, Utterson goes home to study a will he made for his close friend Dr Jekyll. It states a worrying instruction: in the event of the death or disappearance of Jekyll, all his possessions are to go to Mr Edward Hyde. Utterson seeks to find answers by visiting Dr Lanyon, an old friend of his and Jekyll's. But Lanyon has never heard of Hyde and hasn't seen Jekyll for ten years due to a professional dispute. Lanyon calls Dr Jekyll's most recent medical science laboratory work "unscientific balderdash".

That night, Utterson has nightmares of a faceless figure controlling Dr Jekyll. Utterson begins to spend all his time watching the neglected building door (the entrance to Dr Jekyll's old laboratory) where Mr Enfield saw Hyde enter. He eventually sees Hyde, a small man, and approaches him. Utterson is horrified of Hyde’s appearance but can't pinpoint exactly what makes Hyde so ugly. Hyde offers his address and Utterson thinks this as a sign that Hyde will kill Jekyll to fulfill the will.

Utterson goes next door to warn Jekyll against Hyde. At this point, we discover that Utterson has known all along that the neglected building is actually a laboratory attached to Jekyll's well-kept townhouse, which faces outwards on a parallel street. Utterson is is told by the butler, Poole, that Jekyll is out. He also tells that Hyde has a key to the laboratory and the servants have orders from Jekyll to obey Hyde.

The lawyer hypotheses that Hyde is blackmailing Jekyll.

Chapter 3: Dr. Jekyll Was Quite at Ease

Two weeks later, after a dinner party at Jekyll's house, Utterson stays late to talk about the will. Jekyll makes a joke of it, comparing Utterson's worries to Dr Lanyon's 'hidebound' (unadventurous, traditional and conventional) attitude to medical science. We now see why Lanyon and Jekyll have fallen out and see that Jekyll's behaviour has to started to become unusual.

Although Jekyll trusts Utterson, he refuses to reveal the details of his strange relationship with Hyde. He asks Utterson, as his lawyer not as a friend, to promise that he'll carry out his will. He also insists that "the moment I choose, I can be rid of Mr Hyde”.

Chapter 4: The Carew Murder Case

Nearly a year later, the scene opens with a maid witnesses a small, evil looking man, whom she recognises as Mr Hyde, encountering a polite elderly gentleman. When the gentleman offers Hyde a greeting, Hyde suddenly beats him to death with a stick.

A letter addressed to Utterson is found on the dead body. When the police summon the lawyer, he recognises the murder weapon as the broken half of a walking cane he gave to Dr Jekyll years earlier. He also identifies the body as Sir Danvers Carew, a popular member of Parliament on one of his own clients.

(Video) Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde | Chapter 1 Summary & Analysis | Robert Louis Stevenson

Utterson leads the police to Hyde's address, he accompanies the police to a house located in a poor, evil-looking part of town. Hyde’s evil-looking landlady opens the door and explains that Hyde is not a home and is very irregular with his patterns, having only returned for an hour the previous night for the first time in two months. Utterson thinks how odd it is that the heir to Henry Jekyll's huge fortune lives in such squalor.

When they search the house they find the other half of the murder weapon and signs of a quick exit.

The police inspector assumes that Hyde will go and withdraw money from his bank account, however in the weeks that follow there was is sign of Hyde. He had no friends or family and none of those who had seen him could give accurate descriptions, apart from agreeing on his evil appearance.

Chapter 5: Incident of the Letter

Utterson visits Jekyll to find him “looking deathly sick”. He asks if he’s hiding Hyde. Jekyll claims their relationship has ended and adds that both he and the police will never see or hear of Hyde again. He shows Utterson a letter from Hyde that suggests this, but Jekyll fears it could damage his reputation if he turns it into the police. The letter from Hyde assures Jekyll he can escape, that Jekyll should not worry for him and that he is unworthy of Jekyll's generosity.

Utterson asks if Hyde played a part in creating Jekyll’s will—especially because of the term that states Hyde will inherit everything in the event of Jekyll’s “disappearance.” Jekyll confirms, and Utterson tells his friend that Hyde probably meant to murder him and that he has had a near escape. He takes the letter and leaves.

On his way out, Utterson asks Poole, the butler, to describe the man who delivered the letter; confused, Poole states that no letters have been delivered to Dr Jekyll.

Utterson asks his trusted clerk and handwriting expert, Mr Guest, to study Hyde's letter with Jekyll's own writing. There is a resemblance between the two. Hyde's handwriting only leans in the opposite direction, as if for the purpose of concealment. Utterson believes Jekyll forged the letter as Hyde to cover his escape.

Chapter 6: Remarkable Incident of Dr Lanyon

Hyde still cannot be found by the police. With no signs of him, Jekyll becomes more more sociable, happier and very charitable. Utterson believes the removal of Hyde's evil influence has had a positive effect on Jekyll.

After two months of this lifestyle, Jekyll appears depressed will not see Utterson. Mr Utterson visits Dr Lanyon to discuss their friend's sudden behaviour change, but finds Lanyon pale and sickly, with a frightened look in his eyes. Lanyon explains that he has had a great shock and expects to die very soon. Utterson mentions Jekyll also seems ill, Lanyon violently refuses to discuss Jekyll who, he hints, is the cause of his illness. Lanyon promises that after his own death, Utterson may learn the truth.

Attempting to make sense of it all, Utterson writes to Jekyll. He receives a reply suggesting Jekyll has fallen into a disturbed state and talks of being 'under a dark influence'. He also says that he's suffering a punishment he cannot name.

A few weeks later, Lanyon dies. He leaves a letter for Utterson in an envelope marked 'not to be opened till the death or disappearance of Dr Henry Jekyll'. Out of professionality, Utterson leaves the letter in his safe.

Utterson visits Jekyll less and less often as the butler says he’s living in isolation.

(Video) The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde - Plot Summary - Full lesson

Chapter 7: Incident at the Window

Utterson and Enfield are taking their regular Sunday stroll, as they did at the start of this story.

Enfield mentions that in the previous weeks he has learnt that the run-down laboratory is physically connected to Jekyll's house, and they stop to look up at his windows. They see by the window looking like a prisoner in solitary confinement. They call out to him but he refuses to come outside, saying he feels “very low”, they engage in a short conversion until Jekyll's face suddenly freezes in an expression of 'abject (hopeless and wretched), terror and despair", he shuts the window and vanishes. The change in Jekyll's expression is so sudden and horrid that it "froze the very blood of the two gentlemen below", they depart in shocked silence.

Chapter 8: The Last Night

Jekyll's butler Poole visits Utterson one night. Agitated, he believes there has been "foul play" regarding Dr Jekyll. They head to Jekyll’s. As the night is dark and windy and streets deserted, Utterson has an unpleasant feeling. He finds Jekyll’s servants gathered fearfully in the main hall.

They go to the laboratory but the door’s locked. The voice from inside does not sound like Jekyll's, Poole convinces Utterson that it is Hyde. Utterson wonders why the murderer would stay at the crime scene. Poole says the voice has for days been crying out for a chemical, but the chemicals given have been rejected as “not pure”. Poole says he previously caught a glimpse of the person who looked scarcely human.

Armed with a fireplace poker and an axe, Utterson and Poole demand entry. The voice begs Utterson, “for God's sake, have mercy”. The lawyer recognises Hyde, Poole breaks the door. Inside, they find Hyde's body twitching on the floor, a crushed test tube in his hand. Utterson believes he has poisoned himself and notes he is wearing Jekyll’s suit, that is too large for Hyde.

The men search the building but find no trace of Jekyll.

On the table is a will dated that day which leaves everything to Utterson. There is also a package containing Jekyll's 'confession' and letter asking Utterson to read Dr Lanyon's letter that he left after his death (in Chapter 6) and is now in Utterson's safe.

Utterson says he'll return and call the police after reading the documents.

Chapter 9: Dr Lanyon's Narrative

Chapter 9 reads out Dr Lanyon's letter word for word, intended for Utterson to open after the death of Lanyon and Jekyll.

It tells of Lanyon receiving a letter from Jekyll asking him to go to his home and break into the cabinet of Jekyll's laboratory with Poole’s help. He’s instructed to collect a drawer containing chemicals, test tube and a notebook, and give it a man who will arrive at midnight. Lanyon states that he was curious, since the book contained years of experiments.

(Video) Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde | Plot Summary | Robert Louis Stevenson

At midnight a man appeared, he was small and evil-looking, dressed in clothes much too large for him. This was obviously Mr Hyde, but Lanyon had never met him before and therefore did not recognise him. The man avoided conversation, only interested in the drawer. He mixed the ingredients from the drawer to form a purple liquid which turned green.

Hyde asked Lanyon if he should take the glass away or drink the potion in front of him. Irritated, Lanyon said that he had already become so involved that he wanted to see the end.

Hyde told Lanyon that his skepticism of “transcendental medicine” would end. The deformed man drank the liquid and seemed to expand, his face melting and shifting, transforming into none other than Dr Jekyll.

In horror at what he witnessed, Lanyon states that "the deadliest terror sits by me at all hours of the day and night; and I feel that my days are numbered, and that I must die"

Chapter 10: Henry Jekyll's Full Statement of the Case

Jekyll tells the story of how he turned into Hyde. It all began with scientific curiosity of the good and evil (duality) of human nature, and him trying to destroy his 'darker self'.

At first, he required a potion to turn into Hyde but soon he began to automatically turn into Hyde.

Hyde was a way for Jekyll to let out his darker side without damaging his reputation as Jekyll. Eventually, he was addicted to the character of Hyde, who increasingly took over and destroyed him.

The story does not return to Utterson who was going to return to Jekyll's house at the end of Chapter 8

Related study revision pages on OxNotes

  1. Full story: The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
  2. Authorial Context: Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
  3. ‹ Back to GCSE English Literature for more Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde contexts and An Inspector Calls
  4. Search by keyword (e.g. Jekyll, Utterson, Stevenson):


(Animated Books)
2. The strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde summary in hindi by Robert Louis Stevenson
(Way To Knowledge)
3. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde | Summary & Analysis | Robert Louis Stevenson
(Course Hero)
4. Jekyll and Hyde Chapter 1 Revision
(Round Learning)
5. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde | Chapter 2 Summary & Analysis | Robert Louis Stevenson
(Course Hero)
6. 'Jekyll and Hyde': Summary of Chapters 5 & 6
(Mr Bruff)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Sen. Ignacio Ratke

Last Updated: 05/06/2023

Views: 6192

Rating: 4.6 / 5 (76 voted)

Reviews: 83% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Sen. Ignacio Ratke

Birthday: 1999-05-27

Address: Apt. 171 8116 Bailey Via, Roberthaven, GA 58289

Phone: +2585395768220

Job: Lead Liaison

Hobby: Lockpicking, LARPing, Lego building, Lapidary, Macrame, Book restoration, Bodybuilding

Introduction: My name is Sen. Ignacio Ratke, I am a adventurous, zealous, outstanding, agreeable, precious, excited, gifted person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.