- Jekyll-Hyde Personality
- The term Jekyll and Hyde is most often used to designate a two-faced person who alternates between a charming personality and one that is extremely unpleasant. The phrase is taken from a classic tale by Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894), The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll'and Mr. Hyde (1886).In the story, Dr. Jekyll was a physician who enjoyed a good reputation. He discovered a potion that would change him into an evil dwarf named Mr. Hyde. After experimenting with the drug several times, Jekyll found it difficult to reconvert. He was becoming more Hyde than Jekyll. With time Hyde committed a murder and was tried for it. His lawyer revealed the gruesome secret of Jekyll's life, whereupon Hyde committed suicide. Psychologists might term Jekyll/Hyde a split personality. Stevenson had probed deeply into the so-called split personality. He had been taught from his youth that man consisted of evil, wild urges kept in control only by dint of great effort, ever threatening to break out in "the duality of man's nature." It is said that Stevenson fashioned his story after a case involving William Brodie (1741-1788), a respected citizen of Edinburgh who at night joined a masked gang of toughs, robbing and terrorizing the very same persons he championed during the day. Brodie was caught and hanged.Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde has caught the imagination of many dramatists and screen writers. In the last few decades, there have been at least three movies dealing with the story of Dr. Jekyll, each one approaching the character from a different psychological angle. John Barrymore portrayed Jekyll/Hyde without makeup in 1920; Fredric March won an Oscar in 1932 for his sensitive portrayal of that split personality; and Spencer Tracy presented another version just nine years later.
Dictionary of eponyms. Morton S. Freeman. 2013.