The Island of Doctor Moreau
is an 1896 science fiction novel
written by H. G. Wells
. When the novel was written in the late 19th century, European society was absorbed with concerns about degeneration
, and Britain's scientific community was engulfed by debates on animal vivisection
. Interest groups
were even formed to tackle the issue: the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection
was formed two years after the publication of the novel.
It begins with the protagonist, an upper class gentleman who was named Edward Prendick, finding himself shipwrecked in the ocean. A passing ship takes him aboard, and a doctor named Montgomery revives him. He explains to Prendick that they are bound for an unnamed island where he works, and that the animals aboard the ship are traveling with him. Prendick also meets a grotesque, bestial native named M'ling, who appears to be Montgomery's manservant.
When they arrive on the island, however, both the captain of the ship and Doctor Montgomery refuse to take Prendick with either of them, stranding him between the ship and the island. The crew pushes him back into the lifeboat from which they rescued him. When they see that the ship truly intends to abandon him, the islanders take pity and end up coming back for him. Montgomery introduces him to Doctor Moreau, a cold and precise man who conducts research on the island. After unloading the animals from the boat, they decide to house Prendick in an outer room of the enclosure in which they live. Prendick is exceedingly curious about what exactly Moreau researches on the island, especially after he locks the inner part of the enclosure without explaining why. Prendick suddenly remembers that he has heard of Moreau, and that he had been an eminent physiologist in London before a journalist exposed his gruesome experiments in vivisection.