The Invisible Man

by

H. G. Wells

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Doctor Kemp Character Analysis

Doctor Kemp is a medical doctor who lives in Port Burdock. He is tall and fair-haired; he also has a highly rational, even-tempered, non-superstitious disposition. He studied with Griffin at University College London. Griffin ends up breaking into Kemp’s house and reintroducing himself to him, telling Kemp the long story of how he came to be invisible and what happened after. Griffin presumes that Kemp will be an ally to him and help him conduct a “Reign of Terror.” In reality, Kemp is deeply disturbed by Griffin’s immorality and helps to bring Griffin down. Kemp is kind and merciful, as shown by the fact that he tries to stop the mob beating Griffin at the end of the novel, not realizing that it is too late, and Griffin is already dead.

Doctor Kemp Quotes in The Invisible Man

The The Invisible Man quotes below are all either spoken by Doctor Kemp or refer to Doctor Kemp. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Freedom, Anonymity, and Immorality Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Borzoi edition of The Invisible Man published in 2010.
Chapter 15 Quotes

“Another of those fools,” said Doctor Kemp. “Like that ass who ran into me this morning round a corner, with his ‘’Visible Man a-coming, sir!’ I can't imagine what possesses people. One might think we were in the thirteenth century.”

Related Characters: Doctor Kemp (speaker), Griffin/The Invisible Man
Page Number: 158
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 17 Quotes

All men, however highly educated, retain some superstitious inklings. The feeling that is called “eerie” came upon him.

Related Characters: Doctor Kemp
Page Number: 166
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 19 Quotes

“One could make an animal—a tissue—transparent! One could make it invisible! All except the pigments. I could be invisible!” I said, suddenly realizing what it meant to be an albino with such knowledge. It was overwhelming. I left the filtering I was doing, and went and stared out of the great window at the stars. “I could be invisible!” I repeated.

“To do such a thing would be to transcend magic. And I beheld, unclouded by doubt, a magnificent vision of all that invisibility might mean to a man,—the mystery, the power, the freedom. Drawbacks I saw none. You have only to think! And I, a shabby, poverty-struck, hemmed-in demonstrator, teaching fools in a provincial college, might suddenly become—this. I ask you, Kemp, if you—Anyone, I tell you, would have flung himself upon that research.”

Related Characters: Griffin/The Invisible Man (speaker), Doctor Kemp
Page Number: 180
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 21 Quotes

My mood, I say, was one of exaltation. I felt as a seeing man might do, with padded feet and noiseless clothes, in a city of the blind. I experienced a wild impulse to jest, to startle people, to clap men on the back, fling people's hats astray, and generally revel in my extraordinary advantage.

Related Characters: Griffin/The Invisible Man (speaker), Doctor Kemp
Page Number: 190
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 23 Quotes

“But you begin to realize now,” said the Invisible Man, “the full disadvantage of my condition. I had no shelter, no covering. To get clothing was to forgo all my advantage, to make of myself a strange and terrible thing. I was fasting; for to eat, to fill myself with unassimilated matter, would be to become grotesquely visible again.”

“I never thought of that,” said Kemp.

“Nor had I.”

Related Characters: Griffin/The Invisible Man (speaker), Doctor Kemp (speaker)
Page Number: 201
Explanation and Analysis:

I could not go abroad in snow—it would settle on me and expose me. Rain, too, would make me a watery outline, a glistening surface of a man—a bubble. And fog—I should be like a fainter bubble in a fog, a surface, a greasy glimmer of humanity. Moreover, as I went abroad—in the London air—I gathered dirt about my ankles, floating smuts and dust upon my skin. I did not know how long it would be before I should become visible from that cause also. But I saw clearly it could not be for long.

Related Characters: Griffin/The Invisible Man (speaker), Doctor Kemp
Page Number: 201
Explanation and Analysis:

“You don't blame me, do you? You don't blame me?”

“I never blame anyone,” said Kemp. “It's quite out of fashion. What did you do next?”

Related Characters: Griffin/The Invisible Man (speaker), Doctor Kemp (speaker)
Page Number: 206
Explanation and Analysis:

I thought my troubles were over. Practically I thought I had impunity to do whatever I chose, everything—save to give away my secret. So I thought. Whatever I did, whatever the consequences might be, was nothing to me. I had merely to fling aside my garments and vanish. No person could hold me. I could take my money where I found it. I decided to treat myself to a sumptuous feast, and then put up at a good hotel, and accumulate a new outfit of property. I felt amazingly confident,—it's not particularly pleasant recalling that I was an ass. I went into a place and was already ordering a lunch, when it occurred to me that I could not eat unless I exposed my invisible face. I finished ordering the lunch, told the man I should be back in ten minutes, and went out exasperated. I don't know if you have ever been disappointed in your appetite.

Related Characters: Griffin/The Invisible Man (speaker), Doctor Kemp
Page Number: 207
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 24 Quotes

Not wanton killing, but a judicious slaying. The point is, they know there is an Invisible Man—as well as we know there is an Invisible Man. And that Invisible Man, Kemp, must now establish a Reign of Terror. Yes—no doubt it's startling. But I mean it. A Reign of Terror. He must take some town like your Burdock and terrify and dominate it. He must issue his orders. He can do that in a thousand ways—scraps of paper thrust under doors would suffice. And all who disobey his orders he must kill, and kill all who would defend the disobedient.

Related Characters: Griffin/The Invisible Man (speaker), Doctor Kemp
Page Number: 212
Explanation and Analysis:
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Doctor Kemp Character Timeline in The Invisible Man

The timeline below shows where the character Doctor Kemp appears in The Invisible Man. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 15: The Man Who Was Running
The Future vs. the Past Theme Icon
Skepticism vs. Belief Theme Icon
Humans, Science, and Nature Theme Icon
Doctor Kemp is sitting in his office overlooking Burdock. The bookshelves are piled high with books and... (full context)
Freedom, Anonymity, and Immorality Theme Icon
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Doctor Kemp observes that the man is clearly in a great rush, but that he is moving... (full context)
Chapter 17: Doctor Kemp’s Visitor
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Skepticism vs. Belief Theme Icon
Doctor Kemp is writing in his study when he hears the shots being fired. He wonders what... (full context)
Freedom, Anonymity, and Immorality Theme Icon
Skepticism vs. Belief Theme Icon
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Doctor Kemp hears a voice saying his name, but dismisses it because he is “no believer in... (full context)
Freedom, Anonymity, and Immorality Theme Icon
Skepticism vs. Belief Theme Icon
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...explains that he really is an Invisible Man and that he doesn’t want to hurt Kemp, but that if Kemp behaves like a “frantic rustic” then he will have no choice.... (full context)
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Greed and Self-Interest Theme Icon
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Griffin demands some whisky, saying he is “near dead.” Kemp gives Griffin the glass and insists that he must be hypnotized. Griffin dismisses Kemp’s confusion... (full context)
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Griffin explains that Marvel tried to steal his money. When Kemp tries to ask him more questions, Griffin protests that he wants to eat without having... (full context)
Chapter 18: The Invisible Man Sleeps
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Kemp lets Griffin sleep in his bedroom. Griffin bids him goodnight, and warns him not attempt... (full context)
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Kemp suddenly worries that Griffin is not just invisible, but also insane and “homicidal.” He is... (full context)
Chapter 19: The Invisible Man Sleeps
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The Future vs. the Past Theme Icon
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Kemp asks Griffin what’s wrong, and Griffin replies that it is nothing but a “fit of... (full context)
Chapter 20: At the House in Great Portland Street
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Doctor Kemp stares silently for a moment, then takes Griffin’s arm and tells him to sit down,... (full context)
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...and eventually Griffin got so frustrated that he opened a window and the cat left. Kemp is stunned, asking if this means that there is still an invisible cat wandering around.... (full context)
Chapter 23: In Drury Lane
Freedom, Anonymity, and Immorality Theme Icon
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...gags him and ties him up with a sheet. At this point in the story Kemp interrupts, horrified at Griffin’s breach of morality. Griffin insists that he had no choice, and... (full context)
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Greed and Self-Interest Theme Icon
Kemp asks how Griffin got to Iping, and Griffin explains that he went there to work.... (full context)
Chapter 24: The Plan That Failed
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Doctor Kemp asks Griffin what he plans to do now, and why he came to Port Burdock... (full context)
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Humans, Science, and Nature Theme Icon
...Griffin’s invisibility will not help him escape. Griffin emphasizes: “It is killing we must do, Kemp,” which makes Kemp uneasy. Griffin continues that they must establish a “Reign of Terror” in... (full context)
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Kemp is distracted by the sound of his front door opening. He realizes that there are... (full context)
Chapter 25: The Hunting of the Invisible Man
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Doctor Kemp, having recovered from his blow, stands talking to Colonel Adye. He accuses Griffin of being... (full context)
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Kemp advises Adye that when Griffin eats, his food is visible. Tentatively, Kemp suggests that they... (full context)
Chapter 26: The Wicksteed Murder
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Griffin leaves Doctor Kemp’s house in such a hurry that he breaks the ankle of a child he pushes... (full context)
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...reported hearing a voice wailing and sobbing. Griffin must have found everywhere the evidence of Kemp’s testimony and the pursuit of him that ensued as a result. During the night he... (full context)
Chapter 27: The Siege of Kemp’s House
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The Future vs. the Past Theme Icon
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Doctor Kemp reads a strange letter accusing him of being “amazingly energetic and clever.” The letter-writer, Griffin,... (full context)
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Colonel Adye arrives at Kemp’s house and informs him that his servant has been “assaulted.” Adye explains that a note... (full context)
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...unseen, holds the gun, and demands that Adye go back into the house. From inside, Kemp watches Adye speak to the air and wonders why he hasn’t shot Griffin; at this... (full context)
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Kemp watches as the gun moves toward the house, and hears Griffin laughing and attempting to... (full context)
Chapter 28: The Hunter Hunted
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Doctor Kemp’s nearest neighbor is a man named Mr. Heelas, who is asleep during the commotion at... (full context)
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Kemp attempts to get into the house another way, before giving up and running out of... (full context)
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The crowd beats Griffin until there is a cry for mercy, at which point Kemp demands that they step back because Griffin is hurt. While some of the men hold... (full context)
The Epilogue
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...full of “wonderful secrets,” but adds that he would never do what Griffin did. Both Kemp and Adye have asked him repeatedly if he has the notebooks, but Marvel has kept... (full context)