Short summary - The Island of Doctor Moreau - Herbert George Wells

British literature summaries -

Short summary - The Island of Doctor Moreau
Herbert George Wells

February 1, 1887 the ship "Lady Wayne" crashed. One of his passengers, Charles Edward Prendick, whom everyone considered dead, was picked up at sea on a boat eleven months and four days later. He claimed that he had spent all this time on the island, where incredible things were happening. His stories were attributed to the nervous and physical overwork that he had to endure.

After the death of Edward Prendik, his nephew found detailed records of his uncle's adventures.

After the death of his comrades in misfortune, Prendik woke up in the small and dirty cabin of the Ipecacuan merchant ship. His savior, Montgomery, explains that Prendica was half-dead on a boat. Montgomery was able to help him, as he studied at the University of the natural sciences and had the necessary medical knowledge. He eagerly asks Prendik about London, the university, and familiar teachers ...

Montgomery is carrying an unusual load - a puma, a llama, rabbits, a dog. Prendik stands up for the servant of Montgomery, whom the crew of sailors scoffs at, and deserves the hostility of the captain's drunkard. Prendik drew attention to the strange appearance of the Montgomery servant — eyes glowing in the dark, a wary look. He aroused in others a feeling of disgust bordering on fear. It, apparently, was the reason for his persecution.

Montgomery's journey is drawing to a close - an island is approaching where he is supposed to land. And again, Prendik is on the verge of life and death. The captain does not want to leave the unexpected passenger, and Montgomery to take him with him to the island. Charles Prendeck is pushed onto a half-sunken boat ... But Montgomery at the last moment took pity and hooked the boat to the longboat that met him.

Prendica from the first steps on the island is very amazing. And above all, the view of its inhabitants. «<...> there was something elusive in them that I could not comprehend, and it caused a strange disgust in me <...> their walk especially surprised me ... ... they were somehow distorted, as if they consisted of something pieces. "

Montgomery introduces Charles to his senior colleague and speaks open, calling his name - Moreau. Charles Prendick recalls a long-standing scandal associated with the name of the prominent physiologist Moro. One of the journalists managed to penetrate into the laboratory under the guise of a laboratory assistant, where Moreau carried out mysterious experiments. Under the threat of revelations, Moreau fled from England. The mystery surrounding the work of Montgomery’s senior colleague confirms Prendik’s hunch that this is Moro.

But what kind of experiments is he doing? In the room in which Prendika was placed, the heartbreaking moans and screams of the animal that Moro operates are heard. Prendik understands that this is a cougar. When the screams become unbearable, Charles runs away, wanders aimlessly and enters the forest. Here he has a meeting with a strange creature, not like a person. He begins to speculate on the essence of Dr. Moreau's experiments. Montgomery and Moreau find him and return him to the house. But the fear that he himself will be experimental, makes Prendik run again. In the forest, he stumbles upon a whole settlement of beast-people. The ugly bull-people, bear-foxes, man-dogs, satyr-ape-man. These monstrous creatures can speak.

Moreau, in order to keep his wards in obedience, created for them God himself.

Dr. Moreau and Montgomery found Prendica again. And Moreau reveals his secret to him - he gave the animals a human appearance. Man was chosen as a model because in his appearance there is something «that is more pleasant to the aesthetic feeling than the forms of all other animals».

To Prandik's question - how can he expose sentient beings to such suffering - Moreau objects that "it is so insignificant." "Pain is just our adviser <...> she warns and encourages us to be careful."

Moreau is not satisfied with his experiences - bestial instincts return to his creations.

The main difficulty is the brain. All instincts harmful to humanity suddenly erupt and overwhelm its creation with malice, hatred or fear. But this does not discourage him - man has been formed for thousands of years, and his experiences are only twenty years old. «Every time I immerse a living creature in a font of burning suffering, I say to myself: this time I will burn all the bestial from it ...» He connects his hopes with the operation on the cougar.

Among other animals, Montgomery brought rabbits to the island and released them into the wild - "to multiply and breed." Once in the forest, he and Prendik discover a torn carcass. So someone broke the law and tasted the taste of blood. Moreau, to whom they are telling about this, understands the terrible danger hanging over them. He decides to urgently collect the beast-people to punish the one who broke the law. Having come to the place of settlement of his creations, he blew a horn. Sixty-three individuals quickly gathered. All that was missing was the leopardo man. When he finally appeared, hiding behind the backs of animals, Moreau asked his wards: «What awaits the one who broke the Law?» And the chorus of voices answered: he «returns to the House of Suffering».

Then the leopardo man rushed to Moreau. Montgomery’s servant, Mling, hastened to help, the Aeopardo man hid more often, and the chase began. First, Prandik catches up with him to rid the House of Suffering. And the hyena-pig that followed them stuck their teeth into the neck of a dead leopard-man.

Charles Prendick is deeply shocked by everything he saw, especially the fact that "wild, aimless explorations carried Moro away." «I was seized by the strange belief that, despite all the absurdities and extraordinary forms, I saw before me human life with its interweaving of instincts, reason and chance ...»

The atmosphere on the island is gathering. During one of the operations on the cougar, she broke loose, tearing a hook from the wall to which she was tied. Moreau went in search of her. In the battle, they both died.

Living on an island is becoming even more dangerous. The animals were afraid of Moro, his whip, the Law invented by him, and most of all, the House of Suffering. Now, despite all the efforts of Prendik and Montgomery, human beasts are gradually returning to their instincts. Montgomery, who went to the island with Moreau because of his addiction to alcohol, dies from drunkenness. He gets drunk himself, watered his faithful servant and other beast-people who came to his call. The results were tragic. Prendik ran out to the noise, a tangle of beast-people fell apart from the sound of a shot, someone ran away in the dark. A terrible picture was revealed to the eyes of Prendica: a wolf-man bit through Montgomery's throat and died.

While Prendik tried to save Montgomery, the House of Misery lit up from a fallen kerosene lamp. With horror, he sees that Montgomery burned all the boats at the stake.

Charles Prendik was left on the island in private with the creations of Dr. Moreau. And this is what happens to them: «their naked bodies began to become covered with hair, their foreheads were overgrown, and their faces extended forward. But they didn’t even fall to the level of animals <...>, since they were a crossbreed, as it were, common features, and sometimes glimpses of human features, appeared. » Neighborhood with them was becoming more dangerous, especially after the hyena-pig tore the beast-dog, which protected Prendik's dream.


Prendik seeks salvation. The construction of the raft ends in collapse. But one day he was lucky - a boat was washed ashore, in which there were dead sailors from Ipekakuana. Prendik returned to the normal world. But Dr. Moro Prendik could not recover from the island for a long time.

«I could not convince myself that the men and women I met were not beasts in human form, who still look like people, but will soon begin to change again and show their bestial instincts ...», «... it seems to me that a beast is hiding under the outer shell, and the horror that I saw on the island, only on a larger scale, will soon be played out before me. »

Charles Prendick can no longer live in London. He moves away from the noise of a big city and a crowd of people, and gradually calm comes to him. He believes, "that everything human that is in us should find comfort and hope in the eternal, comprehensive laws of the universe, and not in the ordinary, everyday worries, sorrows, passions."