Competing Views of Science Assessment

Excerpt from Assessment :

Invisible Man by H.G. Wells

Character Analysis: Griffin and Kemp

The science fiction novel written by H.G. Wells called the Invisible Man is written about a talented scientist who is something of a rogue researcher. He represents a person who believes more so in the scientific methods than in humanity. These character traits are fully illustrated throughout the plot as Griffin undertakes many questionable activities. When Griffin was studying at the University of London he had a colleague named Dr. Kemp who has roughly an equal intelligence, yet some quite different character traits. Kemp also has a vast appreciation for science and the scientific method but these interests are utilized in efforts to help humanity progress and not necessarily for personal gain. This analysis will compare and contrast how the two individuals could have vastly different outlooks on life despite the fact that they both fully embrace and appreciate the scientific method.


Griffin's character can be summarized most simply by his dedication and obsession to his research. In fact, he becomes so obsessed with his own research, that he hides he apparatus away from any potentially prying eyes. His primary concern regarding protecting his research seems to stem from the fact that he wants the full credit for his discoveries and does not want anyone else to steal his ideas or even share in some of the credit for the work. These character traits help to illustrate the ways in which Griffin perceives the world and is motivated. He focuses only on his self-interest without considering himself as a member of a community. The actions he takes are only taken because they benefit himself directly.

He becomes obsessed with the possibility of discovering invisibility to the extent that it consumes his entire life. It is entirely likely that Griffin never actually had the intentions of conducting the experiment on himself in the earlier stages of his research. The decision to try the potion on himself was only made after Griffin felt the pressure of landlord and neighbor becoming curious about his activities. These individuals prompt Griffin to conceal his work as well as himself by taking his own potion and becoming invisible. At the time, he did not fully contemplate the implications that the experiment would have on himself or humanity in general.

The decision was rash and ultimately costly. It is ironic that Griffin spent so much time making the scientific breakthrough, yet so little time in deciding to experiment with it. Griffin clearly fancies himself a revolutionary figure, ready to inspire a new world order; he at one point declares Iping to be in "a beast of a county....And pigs for people." Griffin, one assumes, represents the next evolutionary step…

Sources Used in Document:


Bowser, R. (2013). Visibility, Interiority, and Temporality in the Invisible Man. Studies in the Novel, 20-36.

Sirabian, R. (2001). The Conception of Science in Well's The Invisible Man. Papers on Language & Literature, 382-404.

Cite This Assessment:

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