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The Time Machine

by H. G. Wells

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What were the Time Traveller's hopes and dreams while creating the time machine?

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When making the time machine, the Time Traveller's hopes and dreams lie in the exploration of time itself and the ability to make discoveries that he would have otherwise never been able to observe. This spirit of scientific curiosity and desire for knowledge will remain intact through to the end of the book.

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In H. G. Wells's The Time Machine, the Time Traveller (as Wells was English, I've preserved the English spelling of "Time Traveller," as that is the spelling seen throughout the book) is characterized as a scientific adventurer, largely motivated by a spirit of scientific exploration. This is established early in the book, at the end of chapter 1, when the Time Traveller states his intention "to explore time" before adding, "I was never more serious in my life."

We see this sense of adventurism particularly strongly in the beginning of the book's third chapter, when the Time Traveller actually embarks on his journey through time, possessed by what he himself calls "a kind of madness" as he throws himself headfirst through time. He wants to observe for himself the future turnings of civilization, with all of those future achievements he would otherwise have never lived long enough to be in a position to see.

In this, the future world of the Morlocks and Eloi comes as a shock to the Time Traveller. In his preparations, he had expected the future to have continued along the path toward greater and greater advancement and achievement. Thus, when he arrives in this distant future time, he expects "that the people ... would be incredibly in front of us in knowledge, art, everything" (chapter 4). This assumption proves to be of plot relevance, given that the Time Traveller arrived in the future "without arms, without medicine, without anything to smoke" (chapter 6).

However, even after his experience with the Eloi and the Morlocks, the Time Traveller's fascination with knowledge and discovery is not in the slightest quenched. In the story's eleventh chapter, after escaping the Morlocks, he travels still further into the future, and here, the Time Traveller recalls, after having made his escape,

I travelled, stopping ever and again, in great strides of a thousand years or more, drawn on by the mystery of the earth's fate, watching with a strange fascination the sun grow larger and duller in the westward sky, and the life of the old earth ebb away. (Chapter 11)

Throughout the book, then, Wells's protagonist is animated by a spirit of scientific curiosity and thirst for knowledge, and this spirit remains intact through to the very end.

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