The Island of Doctor Moreau - Q9: Alcohol


“Moreau!” I said. “I know that name.”
“The devil you do!” said he. “What an ass I was to mention it to you. I might have thought. Anyhow, it will give you an inkling of our – mysteries. Whisky?”
“No thanks – I'm an abstainer.”

Mongomery partakes, Prendick abstains, and the captain is a drunk. What role does alcohol play in the story? It seems to alter Montgomery's character, and he's always referring to things a being 'rum'. Is it significant that Prendick doesn't drink the Cool-Aid?


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    I think it's a nod to some people being similar to beasts, and the alcohol is something that robs people of their personhood. It's a way Montgomery is closer to the beasts than Pendrick. Did Moreau drink alcohol? I think he drank a little. And there's a prohibition against giving alcohol to the beast-folk that Montgomery breaks at the end.

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    There's definitely something about alcohol and it's role in turning men into beasts. I wonder if Wells was a tea-totaler. Despite not drinking, Prendick seems to be finding his own path to decline, so I don't think there's anything as simple as a causal relationship. I do think it might be symbolic of Prendick's ability to resist the temptations that Moreau has clearly succumbed, too. Prendick may well represent 'British Society' ideals, as opposed to the foreign ideas of Moreau and the clearly de-based Montgomery and the sea captain.

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