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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 #7

"But," said I, "I still do not understand. Where is your justification for inflicting all this pain? The only thing that could excuse vivisection to me would be some application—"

"Precisely," said [Moreau]. "But you see I am differently constituted. We are on different platforms. You are a materialist." (14.18-19)

Materialist! Ah, snap…wait, that was an insult, right? Either way, Moreau brings up an interesting point. Morality for him and Prendick are not the same thing. Not even close. Prendick's morality looks at the individual cases and the outcomes, while Moreau's looks at the larger, historical picture. Which is right or wrong? We'll let you ponder that one while we enjoy an iced tea.

Quote #8

"To this day I have never troubled about the ethics of the matter. The study of Nature makes a man at last as remorseless as Nature." (14.29)

Here, Moreau argues nature is free of morality. But if nature is remorseless, then why does Moreau impose the Law on the Beast Folk's natural state? Hmmm, something about this guy just doesn't add up. What do you think it is?

Quote #9

"We can't massacre the lot,—can we? I suppose that's what your humanity would suggest?… But they'll change. They are sure to change." (19.6)

Montgomery discusses with Prendick a no-win moral situation for himself. He (Montgomery) cares for the Beast Folk, so he doesn't want to kill them in their current state. But they will change into their dangerous beast forms, meaning they'll pose a greater risk to him. Can you imagine? We have a hard time deciding on a breakfast cereal, let alone whether or not we should loose a beast on the world.

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