The Island of Dr. Moreau

Does this government promote any virtues, or does it merely aim to stamp out vice?

Examine doctor moreau's island society with its rules and punishments as a system of government.

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Class and Government

As in his earlier work, The Time Machine, Wells plays with class expectations and distinctions. His protagonist, an educated and rich gentleman, finds himself quite useless among the crude practicality and simplicity of the island community. The bulk of this society consists of Moreau's created race of subhumans (representing the exploited underclass), with Moreau as dictator and Montgomery as second-in-command. The events of the story provide an unflattering account of authoritarian rule. Remembering Wells's class sympathies and his later communism, one could take the novel as an indictment of social stratification in general. The Beast Men even take a Marxist revenge toward the end of the story--a universal uprising against their rulers that results in the death or expulsion of all authority figures. At this point, though, their choice of reversion to bestiality allows them to escape the constraints of Moreau's imposed humanity.

The Law as Religion

The injunctions and prohibitions that Moreau ingrains in the minds of his creatures are known collectively as the Law, and they are what bind the Beast Men to Moreau's vision of vivisected humanity. But because they have no memories of past lives before Moreau's operating table, the Beast Men's belief in their humanity is based almost entirely on faith. In that sense, their quest for humanity is comparable to the spiritual purity sought by followers of many religions; we believe that we are meant to be something more than we are today.

The Law is, as it is referred to several times in the narrative, a litany. Also significant is the actual recitation of the Law, which is analogous to the fervor of many religious rituals. That is, when the Beast Men call out the Law, they regurgitate the text as an incantation, rocking back and forth and beating a rhythm off their bodies and their surroundings. The Sayer of the Law then functions as their priest, uniting the community in a theocracy defined by Moreau's idea of what separates men from animals.