The Island of Dr. Moreau

The Island of Dr. Moreau Chapter 18 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Montgomery is so rattled that he starts getting himself drunk. To stop him, Prendick declares that they must go look for Moreau themselves, since something terrible has obviously happened or he would have been back already. Prendick, M’ling, and the intoxicated Montgomery set off through the forest, searching until they find a small gathering of Beast Folk who say that Moreau is dead.
In the breakdown of society, the swiftness with which Montgomery regresses to animalistic behavior confirms that he was always as close to regression as the Beast Folk were, despite the fact that he was a biological human. This suggests that outside of human society’s socializing influence, “civilized” human nature will weaken and fall away.
Themes
Religious Authority and Order Theme Icon
Humans vs. Animals Theme Icon
The Ape Man and the Sayer of the Law ask the humans if the Law still exists, now that Moreau is dead. Prendick proclaims to the Beast Folk that indeed Moreau is not dead, he has only changed shape and now watches from the sky, leaving his body behind. Moreau will now judge those who have broken the Law with death. The Beast Folk lead Prendick and Montgomery to Moreau’s body, and as they do so, they are attacked by another member of the Beast Folk who has become entirely feral. Prendick shoots it with the pistol, and the Sayer of the Law takes this as a sign of Moreau’s judgment.
The loss of the island’s god-figure immediately suggests that the Law itself has no authority, even to the simple intelligence of the Beast Folk. This demonstrates the way that such a central authority figure is crucial the survival of a religious system and its ability to maintain order. Prendick, though he once detested the deification of Moreau, shamelessly tries to uphold the lie; in his bid to survive, he has again reframed his morality to allow himself to do things he once found unconscionable.
Themes
Religious Authority and Order Theme Icon
Humans vs. Animals Theme Icon
Morality, Survival, and Circumstance Theme Icon
Related Quotes
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They find Moreau’s body next to the Puma’s. It appears that they have killed each other in a violent struggle. With the help of the Beast Folk, they bring Moreau’s body back to the enclosure. The Beast Folk return to the beach, joined now by M’ling. Prendick and Montgomery enter Moreau’s laboratory and kill every living creature they find there.
Prendick has now come full circle, taking life thoughtlessly just as Moreau had. His dire circumstances and impulse to survive have utterly reshaped his morality. His actions are even more chilling considering that in Moreau’s laboratory there were either innocent animals that could not have harmed him or partially-sentient Beast Folk, on their way to human-like consciousness. Thus, the killing seems needless and perverse.
Themes
Humans vs. Animals Theme Icon
Morality, Survival, and Circumstance Theme Icon
Related Quotes
Blue quotation bubble icon linking to an important quote associated with this summary and analysis.