The Island of Dr. Moreau

The Island of Dr. Moreau Essay Questions

  1. 1

    Examine Doctor Moreau's island society with its rules and punishments as a system of government. Does this government promote any virtues, or does it merely aim to stamp out vice? What is the import of the disaster of the Beast Folk's revolt?

  2. 2

    How does Wells create an atmosphere of bleak hopelessness, and how does this tone function in conveying a moral or spiritual point of view?

  3. 3

    Prendick says he finds "a strange wickedness" in Moreau's choice of the human form as the form he will try to recreate. What about the Beast Folk's struggle to become human makes them tragic? Does the ability to become a tragic feature extend to animals? How does their struggle reflect fundamental differences between humans and animals?

  4. 4

    How does Moreau take on the character of a godlike figure? How do the rest of the characters fit in this theological context? Does Wells appear to project an opinion about any aspects of religion?

  5. 5

    What is the significance of Prendick's abstinence from alcohol in comparison with Montgomery's alcoholism?

  6. 6

    The first-person narrative engages readers in a decision about how much to trust the account told by the narrator. What boosts or weakens Prendick's credibility? Does his credibility matter for readers to understand what Wells himself is saying through the text?

  7. 7

    There are few female beings in the novel. Do they (the puma, the Bear-Vixen, and the other Beast Women) represent a female essence any more or less than the various male beings represent a male essence, or is sex generally irrelevant to the novel? Does it make sense to draw out a statement about women or feminism from the female beings and their relationship with the males?

  8. 8

    How does Prendick's gentility or upper class background affect his experience on the island? How does it affect his interactions with Moreau, Montgomery, and the Beast Folk? What kind of social stratification exists in the island society?

  9. 9

    To what extent do Moreau's experiments suggest the dangers of toying with nature? If humans are always experimenting with nature and using technology, by what standards should we judge that a scientist has crossed a moral boundary?

  10. 10

    Moreau's idea about transforming animals into humans suggests an acceptance of Darwin's proposals regarding evolution. How does the story as a whole serve engage the theme of biological transformation, by natural and artificial means? Why is it that Wells chooses to make the Beast Folk gradually regress to bestiality? Are humans constantly fighting the tendency to become like animals, or are we naturally on the way up to something better?