1/17/2020 0 Comments
The Wise Men of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and SHE I have heard it said that a smart person learns from his own mistakes but a wise person learns from the mistakes of others. In the two books, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and SHE, we have two characters that emerge as wise men. In Jekyll, it is the character of Utterson, the stoic but curious lawyer, and in SHE it is the character of Holly, the stoic but curious academic. It is interesting to note that neither character chooses this fate of wise man, but rather has it thrust upon him through fate and curious circumstances. It is because of their high moral character that they are selected to bear witness to extraordinary events. The question is, how far are we willing to go to push the bounds of knowledge; when do we stop being smart and start being wise? Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Curiosity begets the quest for knowledge and curiosity is essential to these characters, "If he be Mr. Hyde, I shall be Mr. Seek"(Jekyll, pg 8), Utterson thinks to himself as he begins his journey. In order to become wise though, it is important to avoid being consumed by that which you seek. Instead, it is crucial to bear witness to that which either limits us or somehow gives us a greater understanding of ourselves. Holly at first is skeptical. "Anyway, I believe the whole thing is the most unmitigated rubbish. I know that there are curious things and forces in nature which we rarely meet with, and, when we do meet them, cannot understand. But until I see it with my own eyes, which I am not likely to, I never will believe that there is any means of avoiding death"(SHE, pg 46-47). I wonder if Utterson would not have responded similarly had he known what depths he was about to plumb. Nevertheless, Holly takes up the quest in the name of duty and adventure or maybe it is just plain curiosity.Â Â These two characters share a common purpose in that they have both been entrusted with something valuable yet perplexing. For Utterson, it is Jekyll's will and for Holly it is the chest given to him by Vincey as well as the responsibility for his only son Leo. This idea of trust is important because the wise must be of a certain moral character as well as educational background to accept knowledge that will extend the bounds of reason without corrupting that which they learn.