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The Island of Dr. Moreau

The Island of Dr. Moreau


by H. G. Wells

The Island of Dr. Moreau Morals and Ethics Quotes

How we cite our quotes: (Chapter.Paragraph)

Quote #4

Yet had I known such pain was in the next room, and had it been dumb, I believe—I have thought since—I could have stood it well enough. It is when suffering finds a voice and sets our nerves quivering that this pity comes troubling us. (8.26)

An age-old moral issue. Only once suffering becomes obvious for Prendick—it makes his nerves quiver—does it start raising moral flags for him. If suffering is silent it doesn't bother him and he can more or less continue on with his day. Thank goodness we're not at all like Prendick in this respect, right?

Quote #5

Could the vivisection of men be possible? (10.26)

First, let's get this off our chests: ew. Now onto the good stuff. The question may seem rhetorical. Obviously you can experiment on a person while he's still alive. It's sick, but if horror films have taught us anything, it's doable. However, here Prendick is really thinking in terms of morals and ethics. He just can't imagine anyone would actually do it. The idea is so utterly alien to him and his moral code.

Quote #6

"Not to go on all-Fours; that is the Law. Are we not Men?" 

"Not to suck up Drink; that is the Law. Are we not Men?" 

"Not to eat Flesh or Fish; that is the Law. Are we not Men?"

"Not to claw Bark of Trees; that is the Law. Are we not Men?"

"Not to chase other Men; that is the Law. Are we not Men?" (12.12-16)

There you have it, folks: the moral code of the Beast Folk. Notice how it not only gives them a code of conduct, but also ascribes to them social place based on that code. Follow the code, and you're a man. Don't and you are a beast. Check out our "Society and Class" theme section for more.

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