H.G. Wells’ story, “The Island of Dr. Moreau,” is, among numerous things, a science fiction adventure: but when I read it I thought there were strong, religious-satirical undertones (of course completely uncomic). “Religious satire” because it was my impression Wells deliberately parallels events in the story to religious themes (specifically Christianity) and in doing so, belittles religion. We see this when Montgomery and Prendick make a mockery of the beast people by telling them the dead Dr. Moreau is up in the sky watching them. It is also made evident when the beast people hypnotically and unquestioningly repeat their mantra (“the Law”).
By self-proclamation, H.G. Wells was an atheist and a proponent of Darwinism (“God the Invisible King,” Wells). With this knowledge of Wells’ background, it is no mystery that “The Island of Dr. Moreau” would be tainted with sentiment to reflect his personal views. Just like the other stories we have read, Robinson Crusoe and The Death of Ivan Ilyich, the authors had an agenda hidden in their books. In the latter, the authors were promulgating religion, or the idea that a better life is associated with a belief in God. However, in the former, the author seems to infer that to worship a higher power, a “Maker,” makes one stupid and animal-like.
An example of reference to religion is made is when Prendick is in the huts of the beast people and he hears their blind repetition of “the Law.” (“The Island” p. 43) Among the “long series [of] mostly quite incomprehensible gibberish,” they say, “His is the Hand that makes.” (p. 43) Moreau is their creator and they have a worshipping, fearful attitude of him–they are commanded to “salute” and “bow down.” (p. 65, 88). They also have this long list of Laws they must memorize and obey: it rules their lives, and defines their moral code. They also live in fear of breaking this Law, for if they do there is the consequence of being sent back to the “House of Pain.” Prayer is a crucial aspect to any religion. It is my opinion that here, Wells parallels the beast people to the religious who have memorized and committed to obeying the laws of God: that they are blindly stupid like these beast people. And (just like the Law of the beast people) in the laws of God there are stipulations, that those who break the laws are at risk of punishment and Hell.
Montgomery and Prendick mock the beast people’s brutish ignorance by telling them that the dead Dr. Moreau is up in the sky, watching them. Prendick says, “He has changed his body . . . For a time you will not see him. He is . . . there . . . You cannot see him. But he can see you. Fear the law.” (p. 80) This parallels exactly to the story of Jesus Christ, who “changed his body” first to come to man’s world, and then again when he died. “For a time you will not see him” are the words of Prendick–almost identical to the words of Jesus: “Yet a little while am I with you.” And the thought of Dr. Moreau hovering up in the sky, watching the beast people’s every move correlates with the general concept of most religions–especially Christianity–that there is an all-powerful Deity high above in the Heavens watching our every move to see whether or not we sin.