Your browser does not support script
TWV Presents...

Articles/Essays From Pagans

[Show all]

Views: 18,404,575

September 16th. 2015 ...

Sacred Lands, Sacred Hearts

Nature Worship: or Seeing the Trees for the Ents

Vegan or Vegetarian? The Ethical Debate

Weeds and Seeds

August 6th. 2015 ...

Lost - A Pagan Parent's Tale

July 9th. 2015 ...

Love Spells: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

The Magic of Weather

June 7th. 2015 ...

A Pagan Altar

The Consort: Silent Partner or Hidden in Plain Sight?

A Minority of a Minority of a Minority

Why I Bother With Ritual: Poetry and Eikonic Atheism

May 6th. 2015 ...

Sex, Lies, and Witches: Love in a Time of Wiccans and Atheists

Gods, Myth, and Ritual in Naturalistic Paganism

I Claim Cronehood

13 Keys: The Crown of Kether

March 29th. 2015 ...

A Thread in the Tapestry of Witchcraft

March 28th. 2015 ...

On Wiccan Magick, Theurgy, Thaumaturgy and Setting Expectations

March 1st. 2015 ...

Choosing to Write a Shadow Book

Historiolae: The Spell Within the Story

My Concept Of Grey

February 1st. 2015 ...

Seeker Advice From a Coven Leader

The Three Centers of Paganism

Magick is No Illusion

The Ancient Use of God/Goddess Surnames

The Gods of My Heart

January 1st. 2015 ...

The Six Most Valuable Lessons I've Learned on My Path as a Witch

Manipulation of the Concept of Witchcraft

Publicly Other: Witchcraft in the Suburbs

Pagans All Around Us

Broomstick to the Emerald City

October 20th. 2014 ...

Thoughts on Conjuring Spirits

A Microcosmic View of Ma'at

October 5th. 2014 ...

The History of the Sacred Circle

Abandoning Expectations and Remembering Your Roots

September 28th. 2014 ...

Seeking Pagan Lands for Pagan Burials

Creating a Healing Temple

September 20th. 2014 ...

GOD AND ME (A Pagan's Personal Reply to the New Atheists)

September 7th. 2014 ...

Deer Man- A Confounding Mystery

Web Oh-oh

The All

August 31st. 2014 ...

Coven vs. Solitary

A Strange Waking Dream


August 24th. 2014 ...

Thoughts on Cultural and Spiritual Appropriation

The Pagan Cleric

A Gathering of Sorcerers (A Strange Tale)

August 17th. 2014 ...

To Know, to Will, to Dare...

On Grief: Beacons of Light in the Shadows

The Darkness

August 10th. 2014 ...

As a Pagan, How Do I Represent My Path?

The Power of the Gorgon

August 3rd. 2014 ...

Are You a Natural Witch?

You Have to Believe We Are Magic...

July 27th. 2014 ...

Did I Just Draw Down the Moon?

Astrological Ages and the Great Astrological End-Time Cycle

The New Jersey Finishing School for Would-Be Glamour Girls and Boys

July 20th. 2014 ...

Being an Underage Wiccan

Greed, Power, Witches, and the Inquisition

Malleus Maleficarum - The Hammer of the Witches

Thoughts on Ghost Hunting

July 13th. 2014 ...

A World Of Witchcraft: Belief Is Only The Beginning...

From Christian to Pagan (Part III)

Being Wiccan

My Wiccan Ways...

July 6th. 2014 ...

Keys: Opening the Portals into Other Worlds

The Lore of the Door

Leaves of Love

June 29th. 2014 ...

What Does the Bible Say About Witches and Pagans?

Everything's Alright, Yes: Mary Magdalene

Are You My Familiar ?

Invocations of the God and Goddess

Results Magic and the Moral Compass

June 22nd. 2014 ...

Witchcraft vs. Religion

Christianity and Paganism: Why All Of the Fighting?

Norse Mythology

June 15th. 2014 ...

Becoming Your Own Wise One

Canine Familiars: Role of the Alpha

June 8th. 2014 ...

Moral Relativism and Wicca

Paganism in Cebu, Philippines

Color Infusion

NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.

Article Specs

Article ID: 14357

VoxAcct: 364018

Section: words

Age Group: Adult

Days Up: 1,644

Times Read: 2,510

RSS Views: 12,438
The Question of Dr. Moreau

Author: James Bulls
Posted: April 10th. 2011
Times Viewed: 2,510

I recently bought a copy of H.G. Wells’ classic “The Island of Dr. Moreau“. When I purchased the book, I thought it would be a fun trip in the way-back machine to the horror of yester-year, but the novel turned out to be both much better and much more than I expected. I anticipated Wells’ use of the novel to compare and contrast “human” and “animal” nature and also explore the relation of God to morality, but what I discovered is that the questions he presents through his writing are multi-faceted and defy a simple dichotomy of “human and animal” or “god and man.”

For those unfamiliar with the story, his novel tells the history of an English scholar and medical student, Edward Prendick, who is lost by tragedy at sea and then picked up by a merchant vessel sailing to an unnamed and uncharted island. Mr. Prendick is deposited on this island in the company of a shamed biologist Mr. Montgomery with the cargo of the ship: a gaggle of dogs, several crates of rabbits, miscellaneous cargo, and a caged puma.

Mr. Prendick discovers shortly that not everything on the island is as it seems and begins to doubt his hosts’ hospitality after accidentally witnessing Dr. Moreau vivisecting and physically rebuilding the previously caged puma into a form resembling a man. In horror, Mr. Prendick flees his hosts and runs into the island jungle where he finds himself in a primitive village.

This village is where all Dr. Moreau’s failed surgical reconstructions live and pass their days. These forsaken, cast-out creatures assume that Mr. Prendick is a new arrival and proceed to teach him the laws that support their society. In a pseudo-religious ritual, Mr. Prendick is made to sing in cadence the law as given to him by a particularly old and grotesque outcast named the Sayer of the Laws:

"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 Fish or Flesh; that is the Law. Are we not Men? Not to claw the Bark of Trees; that is the Law. Are we not Men? Not to chase other Men; that is the law. Are we not Men?"

Mr. Prendick remarks on this ritual:

"And so from the prohibition of these acts of folly, on to the prohibition of what I thought then were the maddest, most impossible, and most indecent things one could well imagine. A kind of rhythmic fervor fell on all of us; we gabbled and swayed faster and faster, repeating this amazing Law. Superficially the contagion of these brutes was upon me, but deep down within me the laughter and disgust struggled together. We ran through a long list of prohibitions, and then the chant swung round to a new formula: His is the House of Pain. His is the Hand that makes. His is the Hand that wounds. His is the Hand that heals. His is the lightning flash. His is the deep, salt sea. His are the stars in the sky."

After the ritual is completed, the Sayer of the Law gives Mr. Prendick a measure of explanation for the law as well as motivation to remember and follow the it:

“For every one The Want is bad, ” said the grey Sayer of the Law. “Some want to go tearing with teeth and hands into the roots of things, snuffing into the earth. It is bad. Some go clawing trees; some go scratching at the graves of the dead; some go fighting with foreheads or feet or claws; some bite suddenly, none giving occasion; some love uncleanness. Punishment is sharp and sure. Therefore learn the Law."

An outcast steps forward at this moment to tell a short story about how he refused to speak words and would only use animal sounds but was punished with a burning brand, at which others concur that “The Law” must be followed. Looking at this sequence in context to the obvious God-Mortal relationship established between Dr. Moreau and the pitiful inhabitants of his island, there are a number of intriguing questions, observations, and propositions that can be made:

The first is the nature of the outcast village. Here are these “manimals” living by a law that forbids and forcibly punishes their essential nature. Through no fault of their own, what were once natural animals living a presumably happy life, are now forced into an aberrant state and compelled to live by an unnatural law. From whence does this law come? Just because a law is given, is it just? Just because others follow the law, does that mean it is moral? Just because the law is supposed to be divine, does that make it righteous?

Human and animal natures are compared explicitly and implicitly several times, which leads the reader to ask, “Just what is human nature? Are we the same as animals? Better, worse, or just different?” Some groups – such as Anton Szandor LaVey's Church of Satan have already provided an answer to that question.

Dr. Moreau laments at great length that the bestial nature of his creations always returns and consumes the imprinted human mark. When the bestial qualities of the original animal begin to show through the sham human frame, Dr. Moreau casts the animal out of his compound and into the jungle to live with the other failed attempts; the comparison to Adam's and Eve's expulsion from the biblical “Garden of Eden” should be obvious.

In the Gnostic view of the Bible, Satan is interpreted as a force that exists from before creation. Satan brings enlightenment to Adam and Eve, thus freeing them from Yahweh’s jealous grip and forced state of ignorance. In this sense, Dr. Moreau casts his creations out into the jungle, away from his presence, because their bestial nature (akin to the forbidden fruit of legend) naturally compels them to disobey by failing to conform to his “human” standards.

Finally, the glaringly obvious comparison of Dr. Moreau to Yahweh leads one to ask if the God of Abraham is in fact a just and moral deity. If, as many claim, the Bible is the inerrant word of Yahweh, then one may presume to think that he is not a just and moral deity. Yahweh is described many times as a jealous, vain, vindictive spirit who kills entire nations to punish one person. He kills those who sin but blesses those who commit the same in his name – if you don't believe me, consider the story of the witch of Endor and her service to King Saul. Hypocrisy isn’t a divine virtue I would attribute to a supreme creator, but Yahweh flips (Matt. 26:52) and flops (Luke 22:36) to suit his needs.

Mr. Prendick does eventually return to his home in the United Kingdom, but returns a different man who sees the violence of animals in every person and the kindness of humans in every animal – and vice versa. The yelling crowds seem too much like the unsettled herd, and the only solace he finds is in nature and the contemplation of the natural, undisturbed order of things. Who or what is the God of Abraham to Mr. Prendick at the end of the novel? The question isn't precisely answered, but the reader is encouraged to imagine that the infinite, omnipotent, omniscient creative force does not suffer human frailties.

Like Wells’ novel, this article isn’t about proving a point but asking a question. After reading his novel, I have many questions and am forced to examine my own position on a number of issues. As a Reiki practitioner, I believe that there is a higher order than that which is known or perceived and that the world is innately good; however, after reading “Moreau, ” I ask myself the logical question: if the world is by default righteous, then why do wicked people choose behave so bestially?

Until the day when I transition and learn what lays across the veil, I have no conclusive knowledge if my beliefs in righteous choices and the purity of the spirit of life count for anything, but I can choose. Unlike the animals cruelly removed from their natural state and forced into an artificial mold of conformity, I can choose what I will do and how I will live. For now, I choose to be myself – nothing more, nothing less.


James Bulls

Location: Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario


Author's Profile: To learn more about James Bulls - Click HERE

Other Articles: James Bulls has posted 7 additional articles- View them?

Other Listings: To view ALL of my listings: Click HERE

Email James Bulls... (Yes! I have opted to receive invites to Pagan events, groups, and commercial sales)

To send a private message to James Bulls ...

Pagan Essays

Pagan Web
8,000 Links

Pagan Groups
Local Covens etc.

80,000 Profiles

Home - TWV Logos - Email US - Privacy
News and Information

Chapters: Pagan/Heathen Basics - Pagan BOOKS - Traditions, Paths & Religions - Popular Pagan Holidays - TV & Movies - Cats of the Craft - Festival Reviews - Festival Tips - White Pages (Resources) - Issues/Concerns - West Memphis 3 - Witch Hunts - Pagan Protection Tips - Healing Planet Earth

Your Voices: Adult Essays - Young Pagan Essays - Pagan Perspectives (On Hold) - WitchWars: Fire in the Craft - Gay Pagan - Pagan Parenting - Military - Pagan Passages

Pagan Music: Pagan Musicians - Bardic Circle at WitchVox - Free Music from TWV

Vox Central: About TWV - Wren: Words, Wrants and Wramblings - Guest Rants - Past Surveys - A Quest for Unity

Weekly Updates: Click HERE for an index of our weekly updates for the past 6 years

W.O.T.W. - World-Wide Networking

Your Town: A Link to YOUR Area Page (The largest listing of Witches, Pagans, Heathens and Wiccans on the Planet)

VoxLinks: The Pagan Web: 8,000 Listings

Your Witchvox Account: Log in Now - Create New Account - Request New Password - Log in Problems

Personal Listings: Pagan Clergy in Your Town - Adult Pagans - Young Pagans - Military Pagans

Events: Circles, Gatherings, Workshops & Festivals

Covens/Groups/Orgs: Local Groups Main Page

Other LOCAL Resources: Local Shops - Regional Sites - Local Notices - Global/National Notices - Local Skills & Services - Local Egroups - Political Freedom Fighters

Pagan Shopping: Online Shops Index - Original Crafters Sites - Auction Sites - Pagan Wholesalers - Pagan Local Shops

Web Site Content (including: text - graphics - html - look & feel)
Copyright 1997-2015 The Witches' Voice Inc. All rights reserved
Note: Authors & Artists retain the copyright for their work(s) on this website.
Unauthorized reproduction without prior permission is a violation of copyright laws.

Website structure, evolution and php coding by Fritz Jung on a Macintosh G5.

Any and all personal political opinions expressed in the public listing sections (including, but not restricted to, personals, events, groups, shops, Wren’s Nest, etc.) are solely those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinion of The Witches’ Voice, Inc. TWV is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization.

Sponsorship: Visit the Witches' Voice Sponsor Page for info on how you
can help support this Community Resource. Donations ARE Tax Deductible.
The Witches' Voice carries a 501(c)(3) certificate and a Federal Tax ID.

Mail Us: The Witches' Voice Inc., P.O. Box 341018, Tampa, Florida 33694-1018 U.S.A.
Witches, Pagans
of The World

Search Articles

 Current Topic
 Editorial Guide

NOTE: The essay on this page contains the writings and opinions of the listed author(s) and is not necessarily shared or endorsed by the Witches' Voice inc.

The Witches' Voice does not verify or attest to the historical accuracy contained in the content of this essay.

All WitchVox essays contain a valid email address, feel free to send your comments, thoughts or concerns directly to the listed author(s).