The Invisible Man is about a lone researcher, Griffin, whose discovery of invisibility alienates him from other people. At first, Griffin merely wants to be left alone, taking a room in a boardinghouse and secluding himself with his apparatus. In the midst of ignorant, prying people, he is a figure of some sympathy and mystery. As his means of support diminishes, however, he feels no compunction about stealing from others, viewing his crimes as a necessary way of continuing his research for a way of reversing his invisibility.

Growing more and more irritable because of the curious who try to discover the purpose of this strange man swathed in bandages, Griffin arrogantly throws people out of his room, and finally he is forced to leave his room, setting off on a cross-country rampage that leads to injury or death for those who get in his way.

Griffin eventually takes refuge in the home of an acquaintance, Dr. Kemp, and confides to Kemp his plans to establish a reign of terror based on his discovery of invisibility. Having lost all sense of humanity, Griffin does not see the impact of his words on Kemp, who promises not to betray Griffin but who almost immediately decides that he cannot allow Griffin to carry out his plans. Summoning the police, Kemp puts his own life in jeopardy, but he survives and an exhausted, irrational Griffin is eventually subdued and killed.

Obviously a portrait of the amoral scientist, The Invisible Man demonstrates Wells’s affection for the common individual and his criticism of modern scientists who forget the purpose of their discoveries and believe that they can legislate the quality of existence for others. The early part of the novel, when Griffin’s motivations and his invisibility are not yet discovered, is the best, for there is much humor and tension built up around the...

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