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The Island Of Dr. Moreau Essay

1993 words - 8 pages

Upon writing the novel The Island of Dr. Moreau, H.G. Wells used many literary techniques which imply that the world is imperfect. Rather than only criticize, Wells also provides the reader with some suggestions of improvement and advancement. By revealing to the reader all the faults and fallacies of the world through the plot, characters, and other issues presented, H.G. Wells addresses the controversies found within the ethics of scientific awareness.The opening chapters introduce the reader to Edward Prendick, who awakes from unconsciousness on a small boat, which rescued him earlier from the sunken Lady Vain. Montgomery, another passenger on the boat, shows compassion for him and sees ...view middle of the document...

The memory of his works in the transfusion of blood recurred to me. These creatures I had seen were the victims of some hideous experiment! (Wells 69) Montgomery, the head understudy of Dr. Moreau and alcoholic, is used by Wells to serve as an intermediary between Prendick and Dr. Moreau, and to subdue Prendick's character flaw: Prendick's actions are controlled by his emotional response to each startling discovery he makes. After he ran away from the lab to see what was on the island, Montgomery uses his diplomacy to cajole Prendick into coming back to the lab: "For God's sake," cried Montgomery, "stop that, Prendick...You're a silly ass. Come out of the water and take these revolvers, and talk. We can't do anything more then that, could we now?" (Wells 92) Moreau's strongest characteristic is his perfectionism which leads to his innate drive to create a perfect human by mixing and matching animal traits and grafting animal parts together. Dr. Moreau is a perfect example of personification of natural evolution; he picks out the flaws of humans and animals alike, and seeks to physically and mentally improve them to the point of perfection. (McMahon 213) The personification Wells uses brings up one of the largest moral controversies- is it ok for man to play God? Moreau manifests himself as a god, thinking himself to be the judge of perfection, and furthermore inculcates a set of laws for his creatures to follow."The law," which the beast people live by on the island, not only enthrones Dr. Moreau as a governor of life, but is also an attempt to make a perfect being out of an imperfect creation. "His is the hand that makes, his is the hand that wounds, his is the hand that heals." (Wells 80) is a phrase the creatures regularly chant to remind themselves of Moreau's power and authority. An even more astounding connection can be made between Dr. Moreau and Christianity.His doctrines challenge the traditional view of man as a distinct creation; his actions burlesque Christian mythology. The beast people he has created worship him in a vain attempt to appease his wrath and preserve their unstable human qualities. (McMahon 213) In the world of today, those who are similar to Moreau are the ones considered to be the corrupt and evil members of society. Ironically, H.G. Wells strongly supported the doctrine which Dr. Moreau practices. The Darwinist views and the ethics discussed in The Island of Dr. Moreau derive from a deeper question which Wells, and other scientists in the late 1800's, seeks an answer to: what is the purpose of man and of life? Thomas Huxley, a friend of Darwin and a famous defender of Darwinism, taught Wells biology during his first year of college in London. (Foot 16) Huxley, who was to become Well's role model, said "I deem it an essential condition of the hope [that the evil of the world may be abated] that we should cast aside the notion that the escape from sorrow and pain is the proper object of life… There is a nobler...

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