Robert Louis Stevenson was born in Edinburgh in 1850. His family was Calvinist, that means that there is no possibility to be saved if a person is predestinated to damnation. He, obviously, was very much influenced by this religion.
He didn''t have an easy childhood because of Tuberculosis; he spent most of his childhood in bed left in darkness, this is the reason why many episodes, in his most famous book "The strange case of dottor Jekyll and Mr Hyde", happened during night.
His father was an engineer and wanted him to follow his steps, for this reason Sevenson started study engineering at university but then he decided that it wasn't his way and became a lawyer. This is another important element because he had always liked law, crimes, legal institutions; he liked very much reading Arthur Conan Doyle and Edgar Allan Poe's books which deal with mystery, suspense and police investigation and, the title "The strange case of doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde" gives us an idea of a police case.
PLOT: Basically, it's the story of this doctor, Dr. Henry Jekyll, who is th typical Victorian man: he's rich, noble, famous, has got a very beautiful house,lots of friends but since his childhood (as we know from the last chapter of the book) he had always had this idea of giving vent of his wild instincts and the only way to do that was to take a potion which could transform this man into his bad self. For this reason he decided to create a potion to transform himself into what he called Edward Hyde (the name is a kind of aptronym, "Hyde" means "to conceal", he represented repressed desires and wishes).
Jekyll, little by little, transformed into Hyde without taking the potion; so he realized that Hyde was taking th upper hand (the evil part became bigger an the other).
Jekyll, started to take the potion every six hours to avoid the transformation and, at the end of the story, he wasn't able to find the ingredients for the potion so there were two possibility:
To remain Hyde or
To committed suicide and eliminate the problem.
Jekyll decided the second one and kill himself. (the name Jekyll means Je kill = I kil; in fact Stevenson wanted to give some clues from the beginning of the story).
The main theme of this novel is the doppelganger (of double personality);
Stevenson is considered as a forerunner of Psychoanalysis because he was one of the first who realized that human mind wasn't unique but made up of several sens and each of us hav different personalities.