The Island of Dr. Moreau

The H. G. Wells series continues with a novel that was made into a movie at least four times.

The story is simple. Disgraced Doctor Moreau thinks he can turn animals to humans, give them law and civilization.

Raw Feed (1996): The Island of Dr. Moreau, H. G. Wells, 1896.H G Wells

This novel is much grimmer than I remember.

Essentially, using the metaphor of the Beast People, Wells argues that humans are beasts as well.

At novel’s end, the narrator sees his fellow man as irrational, bestial, caught up in day to day cares, Man as animal “with some strange disorder in its brain”. Religion and moral education can not quell man’s bestial nature any more than the chanted dictums of Moreau pacify the Beast People.

As critics have pointed out, Moreau is unapologetic unlike Victor Frankenstein. Moreau, like Frankenstein, creates uniquely alienated creatures, but he persists in his efforts, seeks to rule them. You can sort of see Moreau as some sort of gnostic god, the creator of flawed beings ruling over his island universe.

[I would argue this story is symbolic in a way that Wells definitely didn’t intend. As Moreau’s scalpel can not shape the biological impulses and behaviors of the Beast People and can not create what is not there, the socialist central planner cannot shape a society which ignores the deep biological drives, deficiencies, and differences among people. Moreau’s Law is not a catechism the Beast People can follow to perfect his faith.]

8 thoughts on “The Island of Dr. Moreau

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