Tolkien’s own Mr. Hyde, Gollum.
The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson is a tale made infamous amongst pop culture. The term’s Jekyll and Hyde are often used to refer to a dual personality in a character or real person. In J.R.R Tolkien’s masterpiece The Lord of The Rings he creates a similar creature torn between good and evil. This creature in question is Smeagol and his ring corrupted other side Gollum.
The doppleganger effect known as the duality of man relates closely to schizophrenia, for both pieces of literature illustrates different faces and personalities that exist in the human mind and soul.(Reaney) The doppleganger effect in Tolkien’s work is quite similar to the transformation of the creature Stevenson creates. Both Smeagol and Dr.Jekyll would eventually lose control over their dark and evil side. Giving into temptations of greed, lust, and even violence leading to murder. Dr Jekyll however uses an internal force of evil as the potion he drinks brings it out, while the external force of the one ring is the what ultimately overpowers Smeagol into the transformation from good to evil.
The comparison between Dr Jekyll and Smeagol and subsequently Hyde and Gollum intensifies as one divides each counterpart. Smeagol and Dr Jekyll are both common beings of knowledge of right and wrong. Smeagol being an ancient Hobbit like creature who is generally a creature of simplicity. Dr. Jekyll before his studies regarding the potion was relatively a boring everyday man. Both Smeagol and Dr.Jekyll use this knowledge of morals for both the use for good, or rather it is used for the choosing or not choosing of evil. Dr Jekyll exemplifies his selfish nature by continuing to drink the potion which brings out Mr Hyde. Smeagol is mirrored by selfishness by keeping the ring of Sauron which continues to corrupt him. Both characters are fully aware of the consequences of their actions, yet both have a deep desire for the evil to be released from it’s cages within them.
This supernatural transformation eventually progresses until neither party is able to control the evil-doer within them. Towards the end of Tolkien’s trilogy of Lord of the Rings and the end of The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde both Smeagol and Dr. Jekyll become indistinguishable from their evil manifestations Gollum and Mr. Hyde, respectively. We see in these two characters the amount of similarity of one feeding the negative emotions and passions and the dire consequences of becoming the darkest of their beings. These characters fail in their arrogance that these manifestations of evil could ever be controlled, rather the manifestations quickly show the opposite.
Reaney, Peter. “The Lord of the Rings vs Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde” WriteWork.com. WriteWork.com, 07 November, 2004. Web. 22 Nov. 2013.
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