Ever wondered why a close friend or relative behaves a certain way around one person and then seemingly transforms into a whole new person when surrounded by other people? The belief that everyone has multiple personalities is one that is very common and can be seen amongst almost all in society. In The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde written by Robert Louis Stevenson, the idea of dual personalities is taken beyond the normal circumstances, as the main character frequently morphs into an entire new persona. This new persona commits violent acts and often finds himself in a great deal of trouble.
Although, in reality, extreme cases like the one presented in this novella are rarely heard of, the truth still lays in the fact that not everyone is whom he or she appears to be. When initially inquiring about secondary personalities, it makes the most sense to begin with how these second selves come about. The answer is quite simple in that everyone is born with many different “layers” to their personality, many of which either never show up or appear later in life. For that reason, the way in which one thinks or functions is not always discernable.
This entire concept plays a large role in why each and every person on this Earth is so incredibly distinct in his or her own way. Having a dual personality is one side of the issue; the other is how one utilizes it. Life can become quite dull at times and this can often trigger one to consider a personality change. Hence, in order to escape reality, the majority of people tend to employ diverse personalities. By doing so, one can add some much needed excitement to his or her otherwise uninteresting life and still have the option to revert back.
For example, in the movie Daddy Day Care, a boy at a day camp named Tony decides one day that he is tired of being himself and wants to become The Flash. By simply putting a costume on, Tony instantly becomes a superhero with lightning quick speed. This newfound personality liberates Tony from his normal, everyday life and in return makes his life that much more exhilarating. Similarly, in The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde the main character, Dr. Jekyll (who is a respected doctor throughout the town), begins complaining that he is tired of a life of study and normalcy.
Therefore, he begins drinking a self-concocted potion that turns him into Mr. Hyde, his alter-ego. In both cases, Tony and Dr. Jekyll come to the conclusion that in order to break away from the familiarity of their daily lives, another side of themselves must be freed. When trying to decide whether or not having another personality is beneficial, one must look at the effects it has not only on that specific person, but others as well. Using the same two case studies, the effects both of these characters’ other halves have are on opposite sides of the spectrum.
For instance, by altering his personality into that of The Flash, Tony only enhances the quality of his life. In other words, doing so truly makes him happier. When looking at how his decision affects the other children at the camp there are still no negatives to be found. All of Tony’s peers are amused by The Flash and his crazy antics (Daddy Day Care). However, when looking at the same two facets from the point of view of Dr. Jekyll, the same cannot be said. By turning into Mr. Hyde, Dr. Jekyll is damaging himself both physically and mentally.
Dr. Jekyll goes through with the transformation much too frequently and as a result begins, “…slowly losing hold of [his] original and better self, and becoming slowly incorporated with [his] second and worse” (48). The problem is that Mr. Hyde is an evil character at heart and those near him are also affected. There is no better proof of this than when Mr. Hyde brutally murders Mr. Carew late one night. Mr. Carew does nothing to provoke Mr. Hyde; nevertheless, Mr. Hyde beats the poor man with a cane and proceeds to trample all over him (Stevenson 14-15).
Originally, Dr. Jekyll creates Mr. Hyde as an escape to an otherwise dreary lifestyle and he is pleased with the results. Nonetheless, as time progresses he quickly grows to regret morphing into Mr. Hyde, as there are no benefits from doing so. This is why one must be quite precautious when deciding whether or not unleashing a second personality is safe for him or her and others. Multiple personalities do exist and are used by many each and every day. In some cases the change in behavior may easily discernable such as the cases of Tony and Dr. Jekyll.
However, in other situations the distinctions between the two personalities may be very minute, but that does not mean the change is unimportant. One truly cannot be careful enough when dealing with dual personalities because looks can be deceiving and one may be surprised when uncovering the truth behind another’s personality.
Daddy Day Care. Dir. Steve Carr. Perf. Eddie Murphy, Jeff Garlin, Anjelica Huston. Columbia Pictures, 2003. DVD. Stevenson, Robert Louis. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. New York: Dover, 1991. Print.