The Plot

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

The Island of Dr. Moreau opens with a brief introduction by Charles Edward Prendick, who explains that the narrative that follows was written by his uncle, Edward Prendick, and was found in his papers at his death. The papers reveal that the late uncle had been shipwrecked and stranded for nearly a year on a tiny island off the Sumatran coast. On January 5, 1888, Edward Prendick was rescued from a small open boat, presumably from a missing schooner, the Ipecacuanha. Prendick’s incredible account of his eleven-month adventure was attributed to dementia and discredited. The introduction by the nephew, Charles Edward Prendick, sets up the fantastic first-person account that follows.

Prendick recounts a terrible story. After his ship, the Lady Vain, goes down from a collision with a derelict, he and two other men are left stranded in a small dinghy. When his companions fight over who is to die so that the other two may eat his flesh, they both fall overboard to their deaths. Prendick eventually is rescued by the schooner Ipecacuanha. The Ipecacuanha is carrying a cargo of wild animals in the charge of a brutish red-haired captain accompanied by a former medical student named Montgomery. When the Ipecacuanha unloads its strange consignment at a lonely island, the captain forces Prendick ashore.

What Prendick discovers on the island shocks him. The white-haired Dr. Moreau, assisted by...

(The entire section is 476 words.)