A Tale of Two Monsters, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Monster

The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson has seen many adaptations over the years, and through these adaptations we have seen Hyde evolve into an animalistic behemoth; a much different depiction of him than the short, dwarfish creature that Stevenson gave us within his original text.  This physical change from the human form to that of the monster within has permeated into popular culture, as we see in the similar transformation of Bruce Banner into The Incredible Hulk.

While Hyde and Hulk are described and depicted as monstrosities that are far from human and a threat to the populace as a whole, it is important to note that they are the physical manifestation of the anger and freedom from the moral inhibitions that reside within the human host from which they were birthed. These other beings are not only the outlet and release for the pent up rage and held back desires for Jekyll and Banner, but are representations of what lies inside all of us. What we see in these monsters is that through the constant use of this outlet, the manifestations grow in strength to the point that they cannot be controlled by the host, but instead take control and become the host for the former ego.

But while we are lead to believe that Hulk and Hyde are monsters that should not be in existance, an argument can be made that they are misunderstood creatures trying to adapt to our environment. If these beings are manifestations of the deep underlying human emotions they represent, then it would be safe to assume that their view of the physical world is going to be different from that of the societal norm. If the host ego has this slanted view of a person, thing, or society based upon an emotional stimulus that causes the metamorphosis, then the monster born from that transformation is going to react and lash out in the only way it would know how; a violent response to that stimulus. This counteraction would seem the normal way to react based upon the monster’s preconceived understanding and aspirations from the host ego to that emotional stimulus.

One final thing that we can learn from closely observing these monsters is that they have an intrinsic need for their host ego as much as Jekyll and Banner need them. While these monsters are an outlet for frustrations for the host, the host is a way back to grounded reality for the monsters. Hyde and Hulk are a way to let loose, while Jekyll and Banner are a way to clean up the mess caused by the release. For as much as the host and ego hate each other, it is vital for both to exist in order for both to survive, and to cope within their environment. Stevenson created an excellent character within Edward Hyde, and that legacy lives on through Marvel’s The Incredible Hulk.

Works cited:

“Hulk (Bruce Banner).” Marvel Universe Wiki. N.p.. Web. 22 Nov 2013. <http://marvel.com/universe/Hulk_(Bruce_Banner)&gt;.

Stevenson, Robert. “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.” Trans. Array The Longman Anthology of British Literature. . 4th Edition. Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc., 2010. 1780-1818. Print.