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. . 2013.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • jekyll and hyde — Someone who has a Jekyll and Hyde personality has a pleasant and a very unpleasant side to the character …   The small dictionary of idiomes

  • Jekyll (TV series) — Infobox Television show name = Jekyll caption = The Jekyll intertitle. runtime = 55 min. (approx.) country = United Kingdom writer = Steven Moffat starring = James Nesbitt Gina Bellman Denis Lawson Michelle Ryan Meera Syal theme music composer =… …   Wikipedia

  • Jekyll and Hyde — noun Etymology: Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, representing the two sided personality of the protagonist in The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886) by R. L. Stevenson Date: circa 1922 one having a two sided personality one side of which is… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • jekyll-and-hyde — |jekələn(d)|hīd also |jēk or |jāk adjective Usage: usually capitalized J&H Etymology: after Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the two sides of the split personality of the chief character in The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886) by Robert… …   Useful english dictionary

  • Jekyll and Hyde — a Jekyll and Hyde someone whose personality has two different parts, one very nice and the other very unpleasant. Many alcoholics develop Jekyll and Hyde personalities …   New idioms dictionary

  • Jekyll-and-Hyde — /dʒɛkəl ən ˈhaɪd/ (say jekuhl uhn huyd) adjective 1. (of a person) having sharply contrasted good and bad qualities. –noun 2. a person having such sharply contrasted qualities. {from the dual personality character in RL Stevenson s The Strange… …   Australian English dictionary

  • Jekyll and Hyde — Jek′yll and Hyde′ [[t]ˈdʒɛk əl, ˈdʒi kəl[/t]] n. a person marked by dual personality, one aspect of which is good and the other bad • Etymology: after the protagonist of Robert Louis Stevenson s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886) …   From formal English to slang

  • Jekyll and Hyde — /jek euhl, jee keuhl/ a person marked by dual personality, one aspect of which is good and the other bad. [after the protagonist of Robert Louis Stevenson s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886)] * * * …   Universalium

  • Jekyll and Hyde — 1. noun Someone who alternates between a good and an evil personality. 2. adjective Alternating between a good and an evil personality …   Wiktionary

  • Jek|yll-Hyde — «JEHK uhl HYD, JEE kuhl », adjective. being or embodying both good and evil; having a good and a bad side: »a Jekyll Hyde personality; ... the Jekyll Hyde countenance of automation (Wall Street Journal) …   Useful english dictionary

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