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The protagonist of the novel is Dr. Jekyll, a learned doctor and scientist. He devises a drug, which releases the evil side of his nature and he becomes Mr. Hyde. He eventually comes to regret his experiments and fights a losing battle to renounce and defeat Hyde.
The antagonist of the novel is Mr. Hyde, who represents the evil side of Jekyll's nature. Hyde commits crimes without feeling guilty and tries to take over from Jekyll. Hyde commits suicide in the end, when he realizes his capture is imminent.
The climax of the novel is reached when Utterson and Poole break open the laboratory door to search for Dr. Jekyll. There they find the body of Mr. Hyde, but no evidence of the disappeared Dr. Jekyll, except for a mysterious envelope addressed to Utterson, which contains Jekyll's confession. In the last two chapters, the mystery will be revealed through a note left by Dr. Lanyon and by Jekyll's confession.
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde are revealed to be one, and Jekyll details his struggle to overcome Hyde's grip on him. In the end, Jekyll can no longer keep himself from turning into Hyde, who kills himself when he realizes he is about to be captured. Jekyll's scientific discovery thus leads to his tragic death.