The Island of Dr. Moreau

The Island of Dr. Moreau Chapter 10 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Montgomery meets Prendick as he arrives and escorts him to his little room. Prendick is nearly hysterical, demanding to know what it was that chased him. Montgomery still gives no answers, but convinces Prendick that his nerves are frayed. He gives Prendick a sedative and helps him crawl into the hammock to sleep off his terror.
The narration, which has been growing more frantic with each successive encounter with the Beast Folk, lulls the reader into the same brief false sense of security that Prendick experiences before witnessing another horrifying scene.
Themes
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Prendick sleeps until midday, waking with a hangover from the sedative. Montgomery briefly checks on Prendick but then leaves, evidently busy. In his passing, however, he neglects to lock the door leading to the interior of the enclosure from which the Puma’s screams emanate. The screaming itself has changed, sounding much more human than it had before, and Prendick, with horror, realizes that it must be a human that is being vivisected rather than the Puma as he had thought.
It will later be revealed that the screams are not from a human, but from the Puma, whom Moreau has made to be like a human. However, Wells’s use of an unreliable narrator draws the reader into Prendick’s horror and ultimately increases the dread of the story, reinforcing the dire possibilities of unchecked scientific progress.
Themes
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Morality, Survival, and Circumstance Theme Icon
Prendick bursts through the unlocked door into an operating room. There is blood in the sink, the smell of medical chemicals, and a live figure fastened to a board, flayed open and obviously mutilated. However, within seconds, Moreau’s powerful arms lift Prendick off the ground and throw him out of the operating room, raging that Prendick is ruining “the work of a lifetime.” Prendick, in his room, is horrified. It seems that Moreau is vivisecting human beings.
Due to the unreliable narrator, this is the most viscerally terrifying scene in the book. Although Prendick will realize that he was mistaken and that it is not a human being vivisected, the possibility of human vivisection has now been raised. This will color the subsequent discussion on scientific freedom versus ethical safeguards, inevitably tilting the balance in favor of ethics.
Themes
Scientific Knowledge and Ethics Theme Icon
Morality, Survival, and Circumstance Theme Icon