H. G. Wells’s novel tells the tale of Edward Prendick, a natural historian (a type of biologist), who, after surviving a shipwreck, arrives on Dr. Moreau’s island. There, Moreau is carrying out experiments in vivisection—the dissection of live organisms—in secret, safely away from the prying eyes and petty ethics of human society. The scientist is consumed with his “research,” brutal experiments in which he tries to make human beings out of animals by…(read full theme analysis)
Although Prendick is initially horrified by Moreau’s actions and the cruelty with which he treats the Beast Folk, when it becomes a matter of survival, Prendick commits many of the same acts. This suggests that, especially in survival situations, morality is relative to one’s circumstances, rather than a rigid set of universal dictates.
Initially, Prendick is presented as a man with a firm moral conscience. In the first chapters of the story, having…(read full theme analysis)