The Island of Dr. Moreau Symbols

Written by H.G. Wells, the Island of Doctor Moreau, is a science fiction novel that still captivates reader to this day. This novel is read for pleasure and taught in schools due to the imagery. Although the base of the novel deals with a man who has been shipwrecked, there is a lot of imagery and symbolism within the text.

When we think of symbols, we think of shapes and not words creating inanimate objects. Symbols are created in many texts which give a reader a sense of imagery they can relate to or create in their minds. This is what makes most novels interesting.

The actual island itself is the Island of Doctor Moreau is symbolistic for society. The island is used to describe, as well as define, culture, and mankind. Society and culture are the main undertones hidden within this novel.

Many can argue that a fictional island cannot depict society as it defines isolation more so, but a fictional island where the main character is dropped can create a societal picture for its readers as he learns something new that will redefine him.

In the Island of Doctor Moreau, it can be said that we, mankind, are the beast folk. There is an evolution theory located in the text which derives from the “beasts”. We are all evolved, some say, from primates which possess human-like features and attributes.

The Beast Folk can also be said to be symbols as they can describe human emotion. Beasts, to most of us, are evil and portray hatred just like some humans can. Beasts are also known to be untamable. This is how they are portrayed in most novels and always reverting to old ways.

What most readers have a hard time seeing is the allegory of religion. There is a hint of religion in the Island of Doctor Moreau such as the laws regarding the Beast Folk. Laws are created to govern individuals just as modern day society.

As we see our laws different from the laws governing the Beast Folk in the Island of Doctor Moreau, we also know that there has to be something that keeps them from destroying one another let alone the rest of mankind.

It can also be said that the doctor, Moreau, is God-like to the beasts. The beasts look up to the doctor since they were created by him. Historically, we can see this as religious satire was used a lot in novels and related texts.

The conflict between man and beast wages war in the novel by H.G. Wells. In society, it appears that there are many “small” conflicts going on daily. We witness this in politics, religion, culture, and other branches of modern society.

The difference between mankind and animals is that mankind has strict laws preventing them from killing one another whereas animals are on the constant hunt for one another or other animals that step into their territory.

It can be argued that territory is another symbol found in the Island of Doctor Moreau. The main character has been shipwrecked who, in turn, is rescued by a boat from the island. He is brought onto the island as a stranger in a strange land where territory is set up from that moment on.

The House of Pain is also a symbol in the Island of Doctor Moreau. This House of Pain, aimed at the Beast Folk, is almost Medieval-like as it is a form of punishment. Punishment can also be a form of Hell which the Beast Folk also resemble.

Many readers and scholars have argued that the “island” is a representation of purgatory. We all know, depending on our religious views, that purgatory is an in-between that the dead have to go through before entering Heaven. Most only know of a Heaven or Hell, not an in-between.

Of course, we can see the island that way as it is a form of isolation that only a given few inhabit. But if purgatory is a go-between afterlife and on the way to Heaven, what’s next? Do some people get stuck on the island forever just the same way that some never enter Heaven?

The Island of Doctor Moreau is one of the greatest novels of all time. It is a book that needs to be read in order to understand even today’s society as well as for historical values. Each can be compared in the novel as H.G. Wells was an author well ahead of his time.

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March 14, 2017

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