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Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde | Study Guide

Robert Louis Stevenson

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Chapter 3

Course Hero's video study guide provides in-depth summary and analysis of Chapter 3 of Robert Louis Stevenson's novel Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde | Chapter 3 : Dr. Jekyll Was Quite at Ease | Summary



Two weeks later Jekyll has a dinner. When the other guests leave, Utterson remains in order to talk to Jekyll about his will. Jekyll doesn't want to talk about it, but he does say Lanyon is as upset by his will as Utterson is. When Utterson explains that he has learned things about Hyde, Jekyll asks him to drop the subject. "I am painfully situated," Jekyll explains. And when Utterson pressures Jekyll to tell him the whole story, Jekyll responds that he'd tell Utterson if he could tell anyone, but he can't—and as soon as he can get rid of Hyde, he will. Utterson agrees to drop the subject, and Jekyll asks one more thing of Utterson. If he disappears, he wants Utterson to take care of Hyde and make sure he gets "his rights." Utterson doesn't like the request, or Hyde, but he agrees.


This brief chapter mostly shows Utterson trying to learn more about Hyde and failing. It does introduce a few new elements to the narrative, however. The first of these is that the good characters—Lanyon and Utterson, mainly—aren't independently concerned about Jekyll's will; they form a kind of team and agree in their disapproval. The next is how it shows Jekyll's lack of independence. Jekyll would tell Utterson the whole story if he could, but he can't. Though the reader doesn't know it yet, this foreshadows a profound dramatic irony and shows that Jekyll has already lost control of the situation he created. In the novella's final chapter, Jekyll will claim that he created this situation in order to generate greater independence and freedom. A third insight readers may discern is how Hyde continues to distort everything around him. In the previous chapter, Utterson said he saw something satanic in Hyde's face. Now he agrees to protect Hyde's rights, thus aligning himself with the forces of evil.

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