In Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Stevenson depicts a Victorian London that is almost entirely without women. There are many aspects of life that are associated with women. By excluding women from The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Stevenson avoids clouding up the plot with aspects irrelevant to the case.
The one woman in The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is the witness of the murder of Sir Danvers Carew. This one woman in the novel is a maid. The status of her occupation clearly displays Stevenson’s depiction of Victorian London women. The maid is described as “romantically given,” who “never had felt more at peace with all men.” She describes the victim as a “beautiful gentleman” and she was “pleased to watch it” (it being the gentleman’s face that shined in the moonlight). This is the only part of the novel that speaks of any connection between men and women. A murder is about to take place and the maid is cast upon her attraction to the “beautiful gentlemen”. Elsewhere in the novel events happen in a black and white manner. With a women involved there is a hint of romanticism. Romance, lust, love, and emotions are often associated with women; hence elements that Stevenson chose to avoid in The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
When a story contains both feminine and masculine characters there is an immediate suggestion of romance. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is in no way a romance. It is a straightforward tale about a very odd occurrence. There is no talk of family or leisure, elements that women also tend to be associated with. It appears that Stevenson had a story to tell and wanted to get it out in the most condensed form possible (hence it is only 75 pages).
A woman adds drama to a man’s life. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is not a drama. Women also tend to bring emotions into situations. Women do not just have an opinion on an issue they have a feeling about that issue. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde does not tell of feelings or emotions felt. It tells of occurrences in a direct and straightforward manner.
By leaving women out of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Stevenson says a lot about his main characters. The main characters Mr. Utterson, Dr. Jekyll, and Mr. Hyde appear to have no care in the world regarding women. They show no wonder about women, and no sexual tendencies whatsoever! That is about as strange as the case itself. Reading this novel a reader will most likely pity these men. A part of a man’s life that many would consider a necessity is not spoken of, let alone attempted or enjoyed. Mr. Utterson’s affections, “like ivy, were the growth of time, they implied no aptness in the object.” The characters of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde show no love towards anyone, and do not hint towards the desire to do so.
The one woman in The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was associated with words of beauty and emotion. The men of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde bring respect, wealth, education, work, and intellect into the novel. By reading this novel I do not think one could accurately learn about the life of Victorian Britain’s men. According to Stevenson’s depiction, life was all work and no play. Women meant nothing to men and marriage did not even appear an apparent custom of society. What one may get out of this novel regarding Victorian Britain men is that there were many well-educated and respected men among the community. Dr. Jekyll (hence doctor) was well educated and wealthy. He had a butler and his house was large with a laboratory and all. Mr. Utterson was a lawyer who at all times portrayed honesty and loyalty to his clients. Mr. Hyde showed qualities none other than that of pure evil. He was ugly and distorted looking, rude and ruthless, and desired crime and chaos. For these reasons among many, Mr. Hyde was an outcast to Victorian London’s society. Through Mr. Hyde the readers learn the characteristics considered unacceptable by Victorian society.
Love, women, marriage, and leisure are very important to men of today. Although Stevenson never said these things were unimportant in Victorian society, there is much more evident emphasis devoted to these things in life today. Despite that today’s society does consist of workaholics like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Utterson, I do not think that the majority of men today are as devoted to their work Stevenson portrayed Victorian men to be. Stevenson did not introduce a wide enough variety of characters into The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde for its readers to make accurate assumptions of Victorian Britain society.
The story of the strange case was told in a matter of fact manner, unclouded up by irrelevant details or emotional setbacks. Including women in the novel would have made the story nearly impossible to tell in this manner. Thus, Stevenson chose to depict a Victorian London that is almost entirely without women.