The Invisible Man


H. G. Wells

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Themes and Colors
Freedom, Anonymity, and Immorality Theme Icon
The Future vs. the Past Theme Icon
Greed and Self-Interest Theme Icon
Skepticism vs. Belief Theme Icon
Humans, Science, and Nature Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in The Invisible Man, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.

Freedom, Anonymity, and Immorality

The Invisible Man is a novel concerned with immorality and the question of how humans would behave if there were no consequences. By turning himself invisible in a scientific experiment, Griffin secures an enormous amount of freedom. When telling the story of how he turned himself invisible to Doctor Kemp, Griffin recalls, “My head was already teeming with all the wild and wonderful things I now had the impunity to do.” The key word…

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The Future vs. the Past

The Invisible Man was published in 1897, on the brink of a new century and at a time of enormous societal upheaval. Scientific advancements such as the proliferation of electricity and Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution meant that people’s lives and belief systems were changing at an incredible pace. As a result, the novel appears to straddle two worlds: the world of the future and that of the past. In the narrative, the future is…

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Greed and Self-Interest

In some ways The Invisible Man is a didactic novel akin to a parable, meaning that it seeks to impart a moral message to the reader. Indeed, this message comes in the form of a warning about certain immoral behaviors, most notably greed and self-interest. These are mostly embodied by the anti-hero, Griffin, who turns himself invisible in order to gain power and glory, but also by other characters, such as Mrs. Hall and…

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Skepticism vs. Belief

Following Griffin’s experiences as the Invisible Man, the novel tests the extent to which it is believable for a man to actually turn invisible, and how people would react if this were actually to happen. While scientific ways of thinking tend to encourage skepticism over faith, the novel suggests that sometimes faith is necessary and advantageous. This is mostly shown through the different reactions of the townspeople to the Invisible Man. While those who…

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Humans, Science, and Nature

The Invisible Man explores humanity’s increasing ability to manipulate nature through science, including significant manipulations of the human body. At the end of the nineteenth century, medical advances meant that human corporeal (embodied) experience was changing rapidly, and early science fiction writers such as H.G. Wells were keen to explore where these new possibilities could lead. Advancements in medical technology led to the elimination of diseases, a better understanding of human psychology, the emergence of…

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