The Island of Dr. Moreau

Wells' Caustic Attack on Vivisection in The Island of Dr. Moreau

Vivisection, an issue explored by many different scholars, including religious, scientific, and literary, has engendered a fierce debate since its inception. Philosophers early as Aristotle and St. Thomas Aquinas began addressing issues concerning mankind's relation to animal, which had great implications in shaping societal views on vivisection during later years. Such views were shaken, however, when Darwin began publishing his work delineating the relationship between animals and humans. H.G. Wells, a student of science and a well-acclaimed science fiction writer, employs a unique setting in his novel, The Island of Dr. Moreau, to question supporters of vivisection. Wells attacks the act of vivisection by providing the reader with acoustic filled descriptions of the suffering experienced by the animals, satirizing the traditional Christian belief system, and discussing Darwinism and its implications on the relationship between animals and humans.

One of the primary means by which Wells attacks vivisection is through his descriptions of the pain the animals are forced to undergo. These descriptions are important because they draw empathy from the reader. Wells focuses his descriptions on stimulating the reader's...

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