The story begins with a description of Mr. Utterson, a lawyer in London. Mr. Utterson is a reserved, conservative man who does not reveal his true, vibrant personality. He tolerates the strangeness and faults of other. Early in his life, he watched as his brother fell to ruin, and it is noted that he is often the last respectable person that men who are turning to evil or ruin have to talk to. This foreshadows Utterson’s involvement with upcoming evil. Mr. Utterson is friends with Richard Enfield, although the two are totally different from one another. They always took walks with each other on Sundays no matter what else they might have to do. As they walk down a lane on Sunday that would usually be crowded with merchants and children during the week, Enfield points out an old building without many windows, and only a basement door. Enfield tells a story of how, one night at about 3:00 am, he saw a strange, deformed man round the corner and bump into a young girl. The strange man did not stop but simply walked right over the young girl, who cried out in terror.
Enfield rushed over and attended the girl along with her family. Still, the strange man carried on, so Enfield chased him down and urged him back. A doctor was called and Enfield and the doctor felt an odd hatred of the man, warning the man that they would discredit him in every way possible unless he compensated the girl. The strange man agreed to offer 100 British pounds. Enfield notes that the man is like Satan in the way he seems emotionally cold to the situation. The strange man presented a cheque signed by an important person, which they together cashed the next morning.
Enfield states that he refers to the building as Black Mail House. Utterson asks Enfield if he ever asked who lived in the building, but Enfield explains that he doesn’t ask questions about strange things: “the more it looks like Queer Street, the less I ask.” The building appears lived in, and the two men carry on their walk. Enfield continues that the strange man he saw that night looked deformed, though he could explain how. Utterson assures Enfield that his story has caught his interest. The two agree never to talk about the story again.
The same evening, Utterson came home. Instead of reading until sleep at midnight, he poured over the will of his friend Henry Jekyll, a doctor and very educated man. The will stated that Jekyll’s possessions and position should be handed over to Mr. Hyde, a friend that Utterson had never heard nor met. Utterson went to the house of Dr. Lanyon, an old school and college friend of Utterson’s and Jekyll’s, and asked him about Hyde, but Lanyon had never heard of him. Lanyon uses several evil references when talking about Jekyll, such as “devilish”, and “gone wrong”, foreboding evil relations between Jekyll and Hyde. Utterson knows something is wrong between the two. Utterson can’t sleep for the rest of the night. Utterson considers how the strange man Enfield spoke of could trample a child and care nothing for it. Utterson staked out the door of the strange building looking for the strange man, whom he also believed was Mr. Hyde.
One night, he found him. He confronts him as he is about to go inside the strange door, and finds the strange man is indeed Mr. Hyde. Hyde is unpleasant, cool, defiant, and confident. Utterson convinces Hyde to show his face, and Hyde suggests Utterson should know his address, implying that he knows of Jekyll’s will. Utterson refers to Hyde to himself as “troglodytic”, meaning a primitive human being, detestable and unpleasant. Utterson decides to try and visit Jekyll at the late hour. At Jekyll’s home, he learns from the servants that Hyde never east dinner at Jekyll’s house, but is always there in the laboratory, with his own key.
The servants rarely see him, but they have orders to obey him. Utterson leaves, and reflects upon his own life, what evil deeds he may be guilty of, and what bad things his friend Jekyll may have done in his life. He decides that this Hyde must be gravely evil, far worse than anything Jekyll may have ever done. Utterson decides to try and discover what evil things Hyde has done and may be doing, but fears that his friend Jekyll will object. To finish, Utterson again considers the strange will of Jekyll, specifically that it he disappears for longer than three months, that his estate should be turned over to Hyde. Utterson fears that Hyde might kill Jekyll for the will.
Dr. Jekyll has a dinner party and Utterson attends. Utterson is a well liked and respected man, by Jekyll as well as anyone. Utterson stays behind after the party, and talks with Jekyll about the will. Jekyll tries at first to politely and jovially avoid the topic towards his scientific rivalry with Dr. Lanyon, but Utterson insists. Utterson explains that he thinks the will is a bad idea, and Jekyll wishes to stop talking about it. Jekyll states that he is in a unique situation that can’t be fixed through talking, but Utterson promises that he can be trusted to help in confidence. Jekyll insists that he is in control, that he can be rid of Mr. Hyde at his own discretion. He begs Utterson to leave the matter alone. He explains that he has great interest in Hyde, and that Utterson follow his will and secure Jekyll’s estate for Hyde if Jekyll passes away. Utterson promises to fulfill this duty.
One of Jekyll’s maid servants is watching out her window on a foggy night and sees Hyde and Sir Danvers meet by chance, They talk under her window, and without warning, Hyde explodes with rage and strikes Danvers with his heavy cane. Hyde stomped upon the man, crushing his bones, while the maid faints. The maid wakes up, calls the police. They find a purse and gold watch, and an envelope for Utterson on the victim, but no papers or cards. They find part of Hyde’s splintered, broken cane. Utterson goes to the police station to see the body. Utterson identifies the victim as Danvers, and notices that the piece of cane resembles one he gave to Jekyll a long time ago. Utterson leads the police to Hyde’s house in Soho. As they arrive at Hyde’s house, Utterson notices the darkness from the brown fog, and considers the fear people must have of the law and the police.
At Hyde’s, an very white skinned woman with grey hair and an evil face tells them she hadn’t seen Hyde for 2 months. At first the woman protests, but she seems happy to learn that Hyde might be in trouble. In the house, Utterson and the police inspector find that only a few rooms are being used. They find clues to show that Hyde was responsible for the murder: Hyde’s clothes had been ransacked, a burnt cheque book, the other part of the cane, and at the bank, Hyde’s account had several thousand pounds (British money) in it. The inspector believed that they could simply catch him when he returned to the bank, but found that without an accurate description of Hyde, they could not prepare the bank to recognize Hyde when he came in again.
Utterson goes to Jekyll’s house, and up to his cabinet (bedroom), where he finds Jekyll sick, not even getting up to say hello. Utterson tells Jekyll that Danvers was a client of his and asks if Jekyll is hiding Hyde. Jekyll declares that Hyde is safe, and Utterson finds it strange that Jekyll can be so sure. Jekyll gives Utterson a letter written by Hyde where he apologizes to Jekyll for causing so much trouble, although Jekyll is afraid that the letter might harm his own reputation. Utterson finds this a selfish consideration. Utterson believes that Hyde told Jekyll how to make his will, and tells Jekyll that he is lucky because Hyde was going to kill him. Jekyll is upset and says only, Oh what a lesson I have learned!”. Jekyll tells Utterson that the letter came to him by delivery, not through the mail, but as Utterson leaves, he asks the servant, who tells him that no letters came by delivery…
That night, Utterson has his assistant, Mr. Guest, over to look at the letter, so that he might hear his thoughts on the matter. Guest notices that Hyde’s handwriting is the same as Jekyll’s, except slanted differently. Utterson cannot imaging why Jekyll would forge Hyde’s letter for him. Chapter 6 The police’s investigation into Hyde’s background showed that he had a violent reputation. In the meantime, Jekyll seemed better than ever in his life. On January 6th, Jekyll had a dinner party, and Utterson and Lanyon went. However, after that date, Jekyll refused to allow any visitors. Utterson decides to visit Lanyon, but finds that Lanyon seems deathly sick, and won’t discuss why except that he “has had a shock”.
He seems that he has been terrified, and begs not to be reminded of Jekyll. Utterson goes home and writes a complaint to Jekyll about not taking visitors, and about Lanyon. The next day, Jekyll replies that he is sorry and doesn’t blame Lanyon for not wishing to ever hear of Jekyll again, but doesn’t say why. Jekyll asks Utterson to let me be alone to suffer for a great evil deed that he has committed. Utterson feels that there must be some very serious explanation for the strange behavior of both Lanyon and Jekyll. A week later Utterson receives a letter from Lanyon. Inside is another letter marked that it shouldn’t be opened until the time that Jekyll disappears. Utterson is tempted to open it, but honors the order on the envelope not to open it yet. Utterson checked in with Poole, Jekyll’s servant, who said that Jekyll stayed in his room, laid awake, did not read and was miserable. Utterson tried to visit less and less.
On a walk with Richard Enfield again, he and Utterson resolve never to see Hyde again. Enfield tells that he now knows that the building Hyde entered that night long ago was Jekyll’s house. As they strolled by Jekyll’s house, they saw him in a window. Utterson urges him to come for a walk, but Jekyll refuses. They agree to talk while Jekyll sits at the window. Suddenly, a look of terror comes over Jekyll’s face, and the window blind is shut in front of him, hiding him from the sight of Utterson and Enfield. Frightened, the two men look at each other. “God forgive us!” cries out Utterson, and the two men walk on. Chapter 8 Poole comes to Utterson’s house in a panic, saying that Jekyll is locked up in his room again. Poole fears that Jekyll has been murdered and that the killer is still in his room, pacing back and forth and moaning and crying out. Utterson agrees to go to Jekyll’s house with Poole.
When they arrive, they find all the house servants crowded around the fireplace in fear of what goes up in Jekyll’s room. Poole tells Utterson that he wants him to hear what is going on in Jekyll’s room. They proceed, and Poole calls out to his master, saying that Utterson is there to visit. A voice answers that is certainly Jekyll, pleading for Utterson to leave him alone. Poole reports that the person in the room tosses out papers with orders for chemicals from every company in London, but with every delivery, Jekyll/Hyde refuses them and sends them back claiming they are not pure. They examine the notes, and find that the writing is Jekyll’s, but with a strange slant like Hyde’s. Poole mentions that he saw the person in the room at one point, but it looked like Hyde, not Jekyll Poole and Utterson decide to break down the door and find out what has happened in Jekyll’s room, using an axe.
They post two other servants near the door to prevent Jekyll/Hyde from escaping should he get past Utterson and Poole. Utterson and Poole consider that they face some danger in doing this. While they wait for the other servants to get into position, they sit in the old surgery theatre, where Poole describes how Jekyll/Hyde paces back and forth across the floor and sometimes cries out. After the servants are ready, Utterson warns Jekyll that he is coming in, and the voice begs him not to. They burst in and find Hyde twitching and dying on the floor. They look around and find various articles, but no sign of Jekyll’s body. They find chemicals, a book, a cheval-glass, and a strange drug. They search the house, and still do not find the body. Utterson finds Jekyll’s latest will and learns that it leaves his estate to Utterson, not Hyde.
Utterson finds this strange because Hyde was in the room and cold have destroyed this will in favor of the one that names him the recipient of the will. Utterson finds a note written in Jekyll’s handwriting, and is afraid to read it. In it Jekyll says that he has disappeared, that Utterson should read the letter Lanyon sent, and also Jekyll’s own confession which is included with this note. Utterson returns to his office where he will read the two important documents. Chapter 9 – Lanyon’s Narrative On January 9th, Lanyon receives a letter from Jekyll. It tells Lanyon that this is a matter of life and death. Lanyon is to go to Jekyll’s house, and “The door of my cabinet is then to be forced; and you are to go in alone; to open the glazed press (letter E) on the left hand, breaking the lock if it be shut; and to draw out, with all its contents as the stand, the fourth drawer from the top or (which is the same thing) the third from the bottom”.
This is to get Jekyll’s drug. Then, Lanyon is to return to his own home’s consulting room, and wait for a visitor at midnight from Jekyll. Lanyon does this and finds the drug that Jekyll must have made because it is not as neatly done as a chemist would do. He returns to his home and waits for the visitor, keeping a gun with him (revolver) should he need to defend himself. At midnight, Hyde shows up, and is very excited to get the drug, almost crazy, but he stays calm enough. Once Lanyon gives it to him, a scary smile comes over Hyde’s face. He tells Lanyon that Lanyon was a fool, and that he would now see proof of “transcendental medicine”. He drinks the drug and changes into Jekyll in a terrifying way that haunts Lanyon for the rest of his few days until he dies. Lanyon ends his letter by saying that he cannot tell what Jekyll told him because it is too terrible, other than that Jekyll and Hyde are the same person.