Hyde’s depiction as a savage animal with atavistic traits is significant because Stevenson is reminding us of the Victorian fears of regression. Hyde is a metaphorical embodiment of the savagery and uncivilised nature of man and to be associated with such primitive uncontrolled behaviour would have frightened reputable and civilised society.
In chapter two, Stevenson’s depiction of Hyde as ‘pale and dwarfish’ reveals him as a character in contrast to the ‘smooth-faced’ Jekyll. Adjectives ‘pale and dwarfish’ suggest that he is not fully formed in some way: Hyde is not often revealed to the world. As in the Gothic genre, he is a night creature and so pale. The uncertainty with which he is described reinforces the appearance of Hyde as intangible: something that can’t quite be described. This could be because everybody who sees him depicts his appearance differently because he is a representation of the inner evil and sins within everyone.
In contrasting both Hyde and Jekyll’s physical appearance, Stevenson is reminding readers of the dual nature of man. He depicts Hyde as a smaller, shrivelled and distorted vision because he is not an appearance that can clearly be described but the twisted evil within us all that can occur when repressed. Throughout the novella Hyde grows in stature as he is exposed further into the world.
In chapter three, the theme of duality which has been seen throughout the novella is reinforced by the quotation ‘the large handsome face of Dr Jekyll grew pale to the very lips, and there came a blackness about his eyes. “I do not care to hear more,” said he. “This is a matter I thought we agreed to drop?”. This could be depicted as Hyde coming out in Jekyll while he is talking to Utterson. His ‘pale lips, the sudden blackness round his eyes’ and his curtness all increase the sense of mystery characteristic of a gothic novella. Jekyll seems to be ashamed and does not want to discuss his friend Hyde any further. He becomes quite defensive when Utterson brings up the subject. This is because Jekyll and Hyde are the same person and Jekyll is worried when Utterson tells him that he has met Hyde because he thinks that Utterson is close to finding out Hyde’s real identity.
In chapter four, Hyde ‘broke out in a great flame of anger, stamping with his foot, brandishing the cane, and carrying on (as the maid described it) like a mad man.’ this emphasises Hyde’s savage and ‘troglodytic’ nature. In this chapter the maid says that ‘she had conceived a dislike’ towards Hyde displaying that all classes are feeling a distaste for Hyde. Hyde doesn’t like democracy so he kills Carew, a Member of Parliament which causes uproar in Victorian society.