At the time of publication, THE STRANGE CASE OF DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE received instant acclaim by breaching the topic of split personalities, a subject unfamiliar to most of the population at the time. He plays with themes of human duality - good and bad residing in the same person - and the temptation to feed them both. For some time Robert Louis Stevenson had been toying with the idea for a story, and in 1886 struck gold with the publication of JEKYLL AND HYDE. It took the English-speaking world by storm, and forever embodied it's title characters in Western vernacular. When pressed upon its origins, Stevenson put it thus:

"I had long been trying to write a story on this subject, to find a body, a vehicle for that strong sense of man's double being which must at times come in and overwhelm the mind of every thinking creature."

Since publication the story's central theme has enjoyed such popularity and is recounted in so many books and films it's practically an industry unto itself. JEKYLL AND HYDE follows Dr. Jekyll, a Victorian England chemist, in his pursuits of his devil within by concocting a tincture that brings his dark side to the forefront in the form of Mr. Hyde; a side as physically different from Jekyll as it is spiritually. It's all fun and games for Jekyll to embrace his darkest compulsions in the form of Hyde. However, Hyde has no compulsion for Jekyll's civilized lifestyle which ultimately proves problematic. The genie, unleashed, becomes impossible to put back in the bottle.

As with other stories in this volume, a main theme of JEKYLL AND HYDE is that wishes are double-edged swords. What began as a harmless way to feed the Doctor's dark compulsions leads to criminal behavior, ultimately ending in murder. Jekyll finds he can't control Hyde, and so takes the fatal step of physically killing him, thus ending his own life as well. Similarly, in THE BOTTLE IMP the main protagonist relies on a genie-like creature for his happiness, but is ultimately cursed by the magic. Our main character in WILL O' THE MILL finds his double-edged sword within his own fierce independence, and in THE BODY SNATCHER it's ambition which cuts both ways.

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