The Invisible Man | Study Guide

H.G. Wells

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The Invisible Man | Chapter 25 : The Hunting of the Invisible Man | Summary

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Summary

After Griffin escapes from Doctor Kemp's house, Kemp fills Colonel Adye in. He tells him Griffin is "mad ... inhuman ... pure selfishness" and will "kill ... unless we can prevent him." Doctor Kemp comes up with a strategy to prevent Griffin's reign of terror: They will contain him within the district and use all available resources and their knowledge of his invisibility to hunt him down and capture him.

Their strategy is to use every available man to set up a dragnet on the roads, trains, and shipping routes. They will advise everyone to lock up their food, secure their houses, and hide their weapons to prevent Griffin from snatching them up. They will use bloodhounds and engage every man in the countryside to hunt Griffin. And they will use powdered glass as a weapon to cut his feet.

Analysis

Doctor Kemp's and Colonel Adye's strategy is strikingly similar to those used in war and fighting modern-day terrorism: confine the danger, exploit the opponent's weakness, saturate the area with troops, and employ a novel weapon. Colonel Adye's reluctance to use powdered glass, calling it "unsportsmanlike," demonstrates his humanity. Kemp counters his objection by pointing out the need, "The man's become inhuman," and citing Griffin's intent to "establish a reign of terror." He justifies using a cruel and inhumane weapon because the end justifies the means.

The powdered glass is comparable to contemporary methods of warfare that are considered cruel and inhumane, such as waterboarding and torture. The justification for such measures is based on the belief that the target—be it Griffin or a contemporary individual—is so evil, his or her capture and isolation from society demand extraordinary measures. Kemp justifies the use of what was then considered a cruel law enforcement tactic by saying, "He has cut himself off from his own kind. His blood be upon his own head." H.G. Wells's writing, even in his own day, was known to be ahead of its time.

Both Griffin and Doctor Kemp have now become advocates of the "end justifies the means" approach, as Wells broadens his thematic ideas, pushing them into the political arena. Doctor Kemp is motivated to protect society. Griffin underscores a political rebel who might argue that their morally wrong actions are for the good of society, undertaken for revolutionary purposes, such as those taken during the French Revolution.

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