What if the roles were reversed ? RL Stevenson’s tale has two major protagonists,
1. The Hero – Dr. Jekyll – The good personality ,
2. The Villain – Mr. Hyde – The bad personality.
This classic tale portrays how Dr. Jekyll creates a potion through which his inner negative personality comes out, the Id takes over the Ego and Super-Ego.
Id is portrayed as negative, raw, villainous, angry – someone undesired in the society and tamed by society and culture by the overlaying layers of Ego and Super-Ego.
Id in its raw form is looked upon as an animal – Mr. Hyde.
What if this animal caged within the Ego and Super-Ego, had a different voice, a different story to tell. In the story , Dr. Jekyll writes a letter, discovered upon his death, telling his side of the tale.
In a different take on the same, Mr. Hyde writes his version:
“I was always there, more vocal in our youth, before I got subdued again and again. Who am I? I am Mr. Hyde. I am the Id present in Dr. Jekyll. I always was present in Dr. Jekyll. As a young school student, I was the most vocal I could be. Most expressive. I m the summation of all emotions, in all their extremities ever experienced by Jekyll. I am also the summation of all desires ever felt, all thoughts ever occurred, all happiness, all sadness, all anger, all pleasures, all pain. I was vocal in our childhood when I cried at the slightest pain, I laughed at the slightest humour, I got excited at the slightest pleasure, I got sad at the slightest sorrow. I was expressive and free, like a bird in an open sky. In years that followed, more and more interactions occurred. With family first, then with friends, then acquaintances, then strangers, the society at large. Strangers became acquaintances, acquaintances became friends, and friends became as close as family. Jekyll had a place now, in society, in this vast jungle, he felt he belonged to a herd now, a herd of humans, civilization they called it, a society of culture, a society of rules. In it he felt new emotions, new feelings, new desires… I tried expressing them all, for that was my identity.. but he subdued me. He stopped me from expressing. If i tried to cry when in pain, he held me by my neck and throttled my voice. If I tried to express anger at being wronged, he covered me with a sheet and let me suffocate in a blind room. Even laughter was not spared, I had to measure the sound, the smile, the expression.. everything. This change in behaviour.. this separation of me from myself.. of Hyde from Jekyll.. was something I had never fathomed. I realised that Jekyll feared something. Something from the society. He perhaps feared of being judged at every action of his and therefore suppressed my actions to avoid those judgements. He feared an ouster from the herd, the herd he now belonged to, of civilized adult humans, each having his own sense of society and culture, each wanting to hide his “Id”, his inner self from the other, each having their own fears – Fear of been exploited on one’s weakness, fear of been misjudged, fear of ridicule, fear of abandonment, fear of suppression from an external world. To protect himself, he throttled me. He caged me. In a two layer cage, I remained, able to voice myself at times, but not always. At all times I was judged, by not the society, but by Jekyll, who felt it better to kill his inner self, in order to protect an outer image. When he created that potion, when he dissolved that very cage he had built, I felt free again.. Free to express myself, free to let out all the repressed emotions, feelings and desires that were subdued over the years. But they were just too many. What came out therefore was a far more undiluted expression of self, uncontrollable, un-steered and direction-less. Had I not been subdued over the years, I would have perhaps not been so angry, so much in pain. I am but just a part of Jekyll. Good or Evil, I have no stance. All I know is that I am what the Jekyll felt, what he was, but what he never expressed. Normal / Abnormal – that depends on the definition. When I was caged I was “Normal” but perceived to be Abnormal by the society that Dr. Jekyll was scrutinized to. When I was uncaged, the new man that I was, Mr. Hyde was not Normal by any means in in the society, but I as an independent man, free from my cage, free from Jekyll, and I felt normal at last. Would things been different had Jekyll not made that potion ? Perhaps…
But wouldn’t things been better, had he never caged me in the first place… I just keep wondering that over and over again….