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In The Invisible Man, H.G. Wells both demonstrates and criticizes
man's tendency to become moral or immoral with the acquirement of power.
Like many books of the same era, he uses science as the instrument of
retribution for the social crimes that have been committed.
Through invisibility, the Invisible Man gains triumph over science
and from this, great power; he can steal, kill, and abuse anybody without
fear of being caught, as he describes, "It's useful in getting away, it's
useful in approaching. It's particularly useful, therefore, in killing." He
also acknowledges the shortcomings of his invisibility, such as making
sound and being easily imprisoned once caught, vulnerable qualities which
eventually lead to his downfall.
The Invisible Man breaks into many people's homes, stealing money,
and leading eventually to physical abuse and killing. When faced with power,
such as invisibility, man becomes immoral and is willing to do anything for
personal gain and enjoyment. The Invisible Man's nemesis, Kemp, brings up
the immorality by saying, "But-! I say! The common conventions of
humanity." The Invisible Man just reinforces his arrogance by rebutting
with, "Are all very well for common people." He believes there is nothing
wrong with doing anything for his own survival since he is superior. He
also brings the situation one step further with his reign of terror, which
he describes as, "Not wanton killing, but a judicious slaying." He now
wants to have complete control over everybody through terror and wants to
start "the Epoch of the Invisible Man." This shows his complete thirst for
The use of science to give man superpower can likewise be found in
Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. Man should not create the invisible man or
the invincible man since they are too powerful and this gives them the role
of creator which, according to the society of the day, should only be a
god's role. He shows how science can accomplish great things and also how
it can cause great harm.
The harm that the Invisible Man's exploitation of power causes does
not go unpunished. Wells demonstrates the social need for a sense of
justice, as the Invisible Man is eventually captured and beaten to death
for the terror he both created and wanted to create.
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had stayed sane and went without punishment then people would have believe
that terrible actions might be worth doing. His death also signifies the
end of the immoral science that is too powerful for man.
H.G.Wells brings up many points that are important in a society. He
discusses the moral problems of mankind and its reaction to the power
science can bring. He criticizes man's hunger for power and science by
showing what havoc it can wreak. In the Epilogue he shows how man thinks of
himself as moral but cannot make constructive use of the power at his hands.
The person finally in possession of the Invisible Man's journals says, "I
wouldn't do what he did; I'd just--well!" Wells is saying that we really do
not know what to do with the power so we should not bother with it at all.