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The island of Dr. Moreau, originally published in 1896, is a science fiction novel written by H. G. Wells that addresses the ideas of society, community and human nature. Wells also touches on the concepts of eugenics and Darwinism in this classic as well as timeless science fiction title. Wells is best known as a major progenitor of modern science fiction who for told the development of such present-day realities as atomic weaponry and chemical and global warfare.
A Shipwreck in the South Seas takes us to a palm-tree paradise where a mad scientist–the depraived Dr. Moreau-conducts vile experiments, unspeakable animal experiments with hideous, human-like results. Edward Prendick, an Englishman whose misfortunes bring him to the Island, is witness to the Beast Folk’s strange civilization and their eventual terrifying regression. Well he was frank about it: “The Island of Dr. Moreau is an exercise in youthful blasphemy.
Now and then, though I rarely admit it, the universe projects itself towards me in a hideous grimace. It grimaced that time, and I did my best to express my vision of the aimless torture in creation. “While gene-splicing and bioengineering are common practices today, readers are still astounded at Wells’s haunting vision and the ethical questions he raised a century before our time. The statements that H. G Wells gave out in the twenties and thirties about his early “Scientific romances” or “Scientific fantasies, “as he alternately called them, are not sympathetic to the spirit of these works written before the turn of the century.
On February the First 1887, the Lady Vain was lost by collision with a derelict when about the latitude 1’S and longitude 107’W.
The novel was written in the late 19th century, England’s scientific community was engulfed by debates on animal vivisection. Interest groups were even formed to tackle the issue: British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection was formed two years the publishing of the novel. The novel is presented as a discovered manuscript, introduced by the narrator’s nephew; it then ‘transcribes’ the tale.
After being rescued from shipwreck and brought to a mysterious island, Edward Prendick discovers that its inhabitants are the macabre result of experimental vivisections, the work of the visionary Dr. Moreao. In an attempt to create a race without malice, the doctor has transformed various beasts into strange-looking man-creatures, “human in shape, and yet human beings with the strangest air about them of some familiar animal” (Wells 2007).
Predict slowly begins to recall the stories of the infamous Moreau, known for his experimental science and work with morbid growths. Exposed by a journalist published a pamphlet called The Moreau Horrors!, Moreau was shunned by the scientific community and forced to leave England Moreau and his assistant, Montgomery, eventually share more and more with Prendick concerning their eleven years of work in the island. The animals are held in check by a series of prohibitions that have been “woven into the texture of minds beyond any possibility of disobedience or dispute.”These creatures have deemed these prohibitions as “the Law, ”which are repeated ad nauseam.
According to Moreau, the law is ever repeated and ever broken as it battles in the creatures ’minds against the deep-seated, ever-rebellious cravings of their animal natures. Apart from the Law, Moreau had infected the creature’s dwarfed brains with a kind of deification of himself. Moreau explains that he fashions and attempts to educate the creatures only to find that when his influence is taken away, the “beast creeps back in and begins to assert itself again” through a reversion process.
Once the beast-men begin to revert; Moreau releases them into the wild, taking no interest in them due to a sickening sense of failure. The loosed creatures form a community—“a mockery of rational life “according to Dr. Moreau_in an attempt to maintain a sense of humanity (Wells 2007). Prendick has no choice but no remain on the island as Moreau’s guest. As he continues to observe life on the island, Prendick, along with Montgomery, eventually discover instances where the law has been broken: scratches on trees creatures sucking water from stream, and several mutilated and half-eaten rabbits.
Realizing that one of the beasts has tasted blood, Moreau confronts the perpetrator, rebellious leopard-man. When accused of the offense, the leopard-man assaults Dr. Moreau and is killed in defense. The slaying is the catalyst to a downward spiral of events. Moreau’s most recent experiment, a puma, escapes before the transformation is complete. Moreau pursues the escaped puma and both are fatally wounded in a confrontation. With the knowledge of their creator’s death, the animals begin to rebel, continually breaking the Law and imposing anarchy. Montgomery is forced to kill several of the beasts in self-defense.
Overcome with a feeling of hopelessness, Montgomery becomes drunk and leaves Moreau’s compound only to be slaughtered by some of the feral beasts. Prendick attempts to rescue Montgomery, but in his haste, accidentally sets the compound on fire.
With both Moreau and Montgomery slain and the compound burned to the ground, Prendick is forced to live for a time among the beasts. Appalled by the creatures’ reversion prosses to their bestial natures, Prendick eventually makes his way back to the burned compound, surviving in Robinson Crusoe style until he happens upon a stranded sloop and is finally able to make his way out to sea. Prendick is eventually rescued eleven months after his original disappearance at sea, and returns to England. His attempt to relay his experiences is written off as madness, the assumed effect of his tenure on the island.
Moreau’s experimentation is focused on the altering of DNA, as opposed to vivisection. The Beast People’s physical condition is maintained by a series of serums,
While their moral and humanity conditions are held in check by not only the Law, but also with brutal electroshock tactics. The creatures eventually cast off the shackles of the Law and the imposed serums, reverting back to their bestial forms.
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U K scientists could create part-human, part-animal embryos in The Island of Moreau-British scientists will be allowed to create part- human, part -animal embryos for research into potentially life-saving medical treatments, the Government signaled yesterday. The health minister, Caroline Flint is considering removing a ban on such work from a draft bill that will form the basis for new laws on fertility treatment and embryo research.
Two teams of British researchers have applied for permission to create “hybrid” embryos that would be around 99.9 percent human and 0.1 percent rabbit, cow or goat to produce embryonic stem cells- the bodybuilding blocks that grow into all other types of cells. They want to use the stem cells to understand and provide new treatments for diseases such as Alzheimer’s, cystic fibrosis and Huntington’s. A draft will to replace the Human Fertilization and Embryology Act 1990 is currently being drawn. A White Paper published by the Department of Health in December stated that the government will propose that the creation of hybrid and chimera embryos in vitro should not be allowed.
Several scientists were left worried that advances they believed that it is helpful to a large number of patients, especially those with nervous system disorders, would be outlawed and that Britain would lose its position as a world leader in stem cell science. According to Tony Blair, the difficult issue of the Government was “not dead set against” the creation of early hybrid embryos for research. Then, according to the Government’s chief scientific adviser David King- research using part-human, part-animal embryos should be allowed under tight controls. Dr. Calum Mackellar said that millions of U K people would see the creation of animal-human embryo combinations as the creation of very profound ethical problems (Morgan 2007).
The scientist Miss Flint was asked by Lib Dem science spokesman Evan Harris, whether the draft bill being prepared could differ from the White Paper by not starting with a presumption that such research be banned. She replied that they would take on board all the views. It is a possibility; she tells that within the field was a spectrum ranging from work that would be unacceptable to most people to other research that would pose less ethical issues.
A White Paper published by the Department of Health in December state that the Government also proposes that the law will contain a power enabling regulations to set out circumstances in which the creation of hybrid and chimera embryos in vitro may in future be allowed under license, for research purposes only.
H. G. Well’s novel ‘The Island of Dr. Moreau’ is a chilling tale of a shipwreck survivor, Mr. Prendick, who arrives on an island-laboratory on which Dr. Moreau uses scientific techniques to “humanize” animals or to create animal or human hybrids. This essay contains three sections. The first section is Introduction. It contains the literary details of the novel ‘The Island of Dr. Moreau’. The second portion is ethical issues.
It contains the ethical issues and implications of this story. Then the third and final portion is Comparison. It includes the similarities or differences between Dr. Moreau’s creatures and the animal or human hybrids today. It also contains different opinions of U K scientists are namely David King, Dr. Calum and members of U K Government are namely Tony Blair and Caroline. There is a lot of things about genetics and bioengineering are explains throughout this novel. Readers are still astounded at Wells’ haunting vision and the ethical questions he raised a century before our time.
Wells, H G. The Island of Dr. Moreau. Summary. Book rags. 2007. Web.
Morgan, Pastor Dale. The Island of Dr. Moreau, H G Wells. Human hybrids to get go ahead. 2007. Web.