The Island of Doctor Moreau: Wikis

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The Island of Doctor Moreau  
IslandOfDrMoreau.JPG
First edition cover
Author H. G. Wells
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Genre(s) Science fiction
Publisher Heinemann, Stone & Kimball [1]
Publication date 1896
Media type Print (Hardcover)
Pages 209 p.
ISBN NA
Preceded by The Wonderful Visit
Followed by The Wheels of Chance

The Island of Doctor Moreau is an 1896 science fiction novel written by H. G. Wells.

Contents

The novel

When the novel was written in the late 19th century (1896), European society was absorbed with concerns about degeneration, and Britain's scientific community was engulfed by debates on animal vivisection. Interest groups were even formed to tackle the issue: the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection was formed two years after the publication of the novel.


It begins with the protagonist, an upper class gentleman who was named Edward Prendick, finding himself shipwrecked in the ocean. A passing ship takes him aboard, and a doctor named Montgomery revives him. He explains to Prendick that they are bound for an unnamed island where he works, and that the animals aboard the ship are traveling with him. Prendick also meets a grotesque, bestial native named M'ling, who appears to be Montgomery's manservant.

When they arrive on the island, however, both the captain of the ship and Doctor Montgomery refuse to take Prendick with either of them, stranding him between the ship and the island. The crew pushes him back into the lifeboat from which they rescued him. When they see that the ship truly intends to abandon him, the islanders take pity and end up coming back for him. Montgomery introduces him to Doctor Moreau, a cold and precise man who conducts research on the island. After unloading the animals from the boat, they decide to house Prendick in an outer room of the enclosure in which they live. Prendick is exceedingly curious about what exactly Moreau researches on the island, especially after he locks the inner part of the enclosure without explaining why. Prendick suddenly remembers that he has heard of Moreau, and that he had been an eminent physiologist in London before a journalist exposed his gruesome experiments in vivisection.

The next day, Moreau begins working on a puma, and its anguished cries drive Prendick out into the jungle. As he wanders, he comes upon a group of people who seem human but have an unmistakable resemblance to hogs. As he walks back to the enclosure, he suddenly realizes he is being followed. He panics and flees, and in a desperate attempt of defense he manages to stun his attacker, a monstrous hybrid of animal and man. When he returns to the enclosure and questions Montgomery, Montgomery refuses to be open with him. After failing to get an explanation, Prendick finally gives in and takes a sleeping draught.

Prendick awakes the next morning with the previous night's activities fresh in his mind. Seeing that the inner door has been left unlocked, he walks in to find a humanoid form lying in bandages on the table before he is ejected by a shocked and angry Moreau. He believes that Moreau has been vivisecting humans and that he is the next test subject. He flees into the jungle, where he meets an Ape Man who takes him to a colony of similarly half-human/half-animal creatures. The leader, a large gray thing named the Sayer of the Law, has him recite a strange litany called the Law that involves prohibitions against bestial behavior and praise for Moreau. Suddenly, Moreau bursts into the colony, and Prendick escapes out the back into the jungle. He makes for the ocean, where he plans to drown himself rather than allow Moreau to experiment on him. Moreau and Montgomery confront him, however, and Moreau explains that the creatures, the Beast Folk, are animals he has vivisected to resemble humans. Prendick goes back to the enclosure, where Moreau explains to him that he has been on the island for eleven years now, striving to make a complete transformation from animal to human. Apparently, his only reason for the pain he inflicts is scientific curiosity. Prendick accepts the explanation as it is and begins life on the island.

One day, as he and Montgomery are walking around the island, they come across a half-eaten rabbit. Eating flesh and tasting blood is one of the strongest prohibitions in the Law, so Montgomery and Moreau become very worried. Moreau calls an assembly of the Beast Men. He identifies the Leopard Man (the same one that chased Prendick the first time he wandered into the jungle) as the transgressor. The Leopard Man flees, but when the group corners him in some undergrowth, Prendick takes pity and shoots him, sparing him a return to the operating table in Moreau's "House of Pain". Moreau is furious but can do nothing about the situation.

As time passes, Prendick begins to deaden himself to the grotesqueness of the Beast Folk. One day, however, he is shaken out of this stagnation when the puma rips free of its restraints and escapes from the lab. Moreau pursues it, but the two end up killing each other. Montgomery falls apart, and having gotten himself quite drunk, decides to share his alcohol with the Beast Men. Prendick tries to stop him, but Montgomery threatens violence and leaves the enclosure alone with bottle in hand. Later in the night, Prendick hears a commotion outside; he rushes out, and sees that Montgomery appears to have been involved in some scuffle with the Beast Folk. He dies in front of Prendick, who is now the last remaining human on the island. After the death, Prendick notices the sky behind him grow brighter and sees that the enclosure is on fire. He realizes that he had knocked over a lamp while rushing out to find Montgomery and that he has no chance of saving any of the provisions located inside the enclosure. He suddenly decides to flee from the island but notices that Montgomery has burnt the only boats, in order to prevent their return to mankind.

He does not attempt to claim Moreau's vacant throne on the island, but he instead settles for living with the Beast Folk as he attempts to build and provision a raft with which he intends to leave the island. He lives on the island for 10 months after the deaths of Moreau and Montgomery. As the time goes by, the Beast Folk increasingly revert to their original animalistic instincts, beginning to hunt the island's rabbits, returning to walking on all fours and leaving their shared living areas for the wild. They also gradually cease to follow Prendick's instructions and eventually kill his faithful companion, a Beast-Man created from a dog. Luckily for him, eventually a ship inhabited by two corpses drifts onto the beach. Prendick dumps the bodies, gets supplies, and leaves the next morning.

He is picked up by a ship only three days later, but when he tells his story the crew thinks he is mad. To prevent himself from being declared insane, he pretends to have no memory of the year he spent between the first shipwreck and his final rescue. When he gets back to England, however, he finds that he is rigidly uncomfortable around other humans, because he has an irrational suspicion that they are all Beast Folk in danger of sudden and violent reversion to animalism. He contents himself with solitude and the study of chemistry and astronomy, finding peace above in the heavenly bodies.

Main characters

  • Edward Prendick - narrator and gentleman who witnessed the absurdity of the events of the island firsthand, and who reacted in defense of man's noble place in the animal kingdom
  • Doctor Moreau - mad scientist with no regard for morality nor things man wasn't meant to know, personally responsible for the abominable inhabitants of his island
  • Beastmen - unwholesome creatures that shouldn't be but were made by Doctor Moreau anyway, each a unique variety of beasts combined, given man's traits, and trained into domestic behavior through discipline
  • Montgomery - assistant to Doctor Moreau, torn between sympathizing with mankind or beastmankind
  • M'ling - Montgomery's dog-based assistant
  • Leopard Man - Edward Prendick's first beastman encounter, a leopard-based rebel who hunts him down upon his arrival
  • Sayer of the Law - many animals spliced together, counter-revolutionary leader of the beastmen
  • Hyena-Swine - a hyena and pig based clone of Leopard Man

Adaptations

The novel has been made into a movie on three occasions:

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Other

  • The Art of H. G. Wells, by Ricardo Garijo, is a 2006 trading card adaptation of three stories by Wells, the second of which is The Island of Dr Moreau.[1]
  • The final (25th) episode of Sliders third season, This Slide of Paradise is based on The Island of Doctor Moreau
  • Australian author Jack Heath wrote a short prequel to The Island of Doctor Moreau which suggested that Montgomery might be one of Moreau's creations. Heath's story (entitled Flesh) was first published on The Book Post in 2010.[2]

References

  • In a one-shot comic, Van Helsing: From Beneath The Rue Morgue, Gabriel Van Helsing battles with the creatures of Dr. Moreau. This event can be placed before the events of the book because at the end, we see Dr. Moreau escaping with one of his creations, stating that "the world lacks vision", and that he should "move to an island perhaps. Somewhere drastic, like... the South Seas...".
  • The classic line associated with the Punk/New Wave band Devo "Are We Not Men?" is a key line of the story.
  • The Island of Dr. Moreau is a playable area in the MMORPG Champions Online, in which it is referred to as 'Monster Island'. In the game, Dr. Moreau's son has continued his father's research on the island and created beast men of his own, including a super-intelligent Gorilla named Dr. Silverback, who has rejected his creator's ways and became a hero.
  • The second series of Alan Moore and Kevin O' Neill's comic series The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen features Doctor Moreau prominently, having apparently survived the events of the book and have relocated to England on the behest of British Intelligence. In it, he is revealed as the creator behind the humanised animal characters of Rupert the Bear, Wind in the Willows, and Beatrix Potter's Peter Rabbit, among other series, as well as anachronistic work with biological weapons. Prendick also appears, and is shown to have gone insane from his experiences on the Island, among other things still fearing humans to be Beast-Men in disguise.
  • In the computer role-playing game Deus Ex, the login name of the MJ12 nanotech laboratory's database is "dmoreau".
  • In Zynga's Facebook game, Petville, one of the random loading screens says "An apple a day keeps Dr. Moreau away".
  • In the anime One Piece, the Thriller Bark arc (episodes 339-381) is extensively based on the island of doctor Moreau, having three "humans" on the island and a bunch of half human half animal creatures created by the doc.

External links


Source material

Up to date as of January 22, 2010

From Wikisource

The Island of Doctor Moreau
by H.G. Wells
The Island of Doctor Moreau is an 1896 science fiction novel written by H. G. Wells, addressing ideas of society and community, human nature and identity, religion, Darwinism, eugenics, and the dangers of unchecked and irresponsible scientific research.
Excerpted from The Island of Doctor Moreau on Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Speaker Icon.svg one or more chapters are available in a spoken word format.

Table of Contents

PD-icon.svg This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1923. It may be copyrighted outside the U.S. (see Help:Public domain). Flag of the United States.svg

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