The Victorian era was a time of development and advancement. Whether it is medical, scientific or technological, the Victorian age was a great step forward for man. It was a time were the working class people began to move from the countryside to the new developing towns and cities. Man had jus discovered the use for fossil fuels in the industrial revolution, and it was after that point the human race started to excel. It is the Victorian age and its entire people that moulded our world into what it is today.
As the years went by, the cities and towns grew larger, the discoveries made were changing the way the world works and as all this was happening, the Victorian people began to get over confident about their achievements and their future. They believed that things in the future could only get better, and being as nai?? ve as they were, they continued to do so. The message Wells was trying to get across to his Victorian audience was that this arrogant, over confident attitude they had come to develop over time would get them into further trouble in the future and in his book “the time traveller” H.
G Wells shows the downfall of the human race and fears of the Victorian people coming true. Wells starts off the book by describing the main character in his story, the time traveller whose name through out the book is not mentioned. The time traveller is joined with a contrast of the various types of Victorian people. These include: a psychologist, a newspaper editor, the provincial mayor, a doctor, Filby and a very young man. Here Wells is trying to show the different views portrayed by the different people about time travel.
However, all the men involved fail to show any enthusiasm. They all either show scepticism, or pay no attention to what the time traveller has to say. The medical man in particular decides to contradict what the time traveller says on several occasions by interrupting his speeches with objective phrases such as “not exactly” or jus questioning the time traveller’s methods. Where as Filby shows arrogance towards the time traveller and shares most of the same view the average Victorian showed towards the future.
“You can show black is white by argument, but you can never convince me. In this story the role of Filby represents the average Victorian person, narrow minded and arrogant towards unique views. In the second chapter, the time traveller shows his audience a prototype of the time machine. He then sends his prototype ahead into time. “The little machine suddenly swung round, perhaps, as an eddy of faintly glittering brass and ivory; and it was gone-vanished. ” Then in the third chapter, the time traveller moves on to the future. “I saw the sun hopping swiftly across the sky, leaping it every minute, and every minute marking every day”
As the time traveller moves forward in time he witnesses rise and fall of great buildings and civilizations. He watches the Victorian world he knows and love, change in front of his very own eyes. “I saw great and splendid architecture rising about me, more massive than any buildings of our own time. ” As he watches the rise of these great buildings, he watches as they are eroded away into “Glimmer and mist” When he arrives in the future, he expects to find major developments and expects to find a better world.
“What strange developments of humanity, what wonderful advances upon our rudimentary civilization? As he leaves the vicinity of his time machine, he looks around only to find a deserted stretch of land which he describes as a “Little lawn in a garden” He also finds a huge statue of a winged sphinx. The thought of human decline then crosses his mind, when he fails to find any human life. “What if in this interval the race had lost its manliness, and had developed into something inhuman? ” This is the first sign of doubt shown by the time traveller, showing his worst fear, the decline of the human race.
Finally, the time traveller is revealed to the planets current life forms, known as Eloi. He struck me as being very beautiful and graceful creature, but indescribably frail… I suddenly regained confidence. I took my hands from the machine. ” Discovering the life form, his previous doubts about the human race have changed, however his enthusiastic attitude is set to change as he discovers more about the new inhabitants of earth. As the time traveller attempts to communicate with the Eloi, who fail to start conversation, but just smile and speak in “soft, cooing notes to each other”, the time traveller again begins to doubt this new civilization.
“Were these creatures fools? He then states to his audience what every Victorian person at that time thought about the future. “Eight hundred and two thousand odd would be incredibly in front of us in knowledge, art everything… Eloi showed to be on the intellectual level of one of our five-year-old children. ” Victorians believed in the future that thing could only get better, once again Wells shows the Victorian people that this might not be the case. As he enters the great hall, he is disappointed even more as he realises that at one point man had excelled, and some way along the line had declined into the Eloi.
The building had a huge entry, and was altogether of colossal dimensions. ” The time traveller then dines with the Eloi to discover that they are “strict vegetarians” He then comes to the conclusion that “Horses, cattle, sheep, dogs, had followed the Ichthyosaurus into extinction. ” And as the Victorian time consisted f many house hold animals, this statement must have been a shock to the Victorian reader. The time traveller then views more signs of decline, which may shock the Victorian readers. There was no hedges, no signs of proprietary rights, no evidence of agriculture; the whole earth had become a garden” This may have seemed strange to the Victorian people as they were at a time when people had started to move the city and mark out their territory, this once again shows the decline of the human nature of ownership.
The time traveller then reluctantly comes to the following conclusion: “There were no signs of struggle, neither social nor economical struggle. The shop, the advertisement, traffic, all that commerce which constitutes the body of our world was gone. Here the time traveller comes to this conclusion, confirming a Victorians worst fear of the future world. However, yet again, the time travellers views on the pointless, easy going life of the life forms of earth changes, as he meets the people of the underground, the Morlocks. The time traveller comes to meet the carnivorous Morlocks when he discovers, to his disbelief that the time machine has been stolen. “Can you imagine what I felt as the conviction came home to me? But you cannot. The time machine was gone! ” Then, in panic the time traveller began frantically searching for his machine, harming himself as his did so.
In anger the time traveller shakes some of the Eloi, expecting answers, only to find he had just awoken their dormant human feeling of fear. “Trying to retrieve their sensation of fear. ” This shows even more decline in the human emotions these creatures show. Finally in a desperate attempt to retrieve his time machine, the time traveller goes underground to search, this is when he first discovers the Morlocks. “Then I saw the horror and repugnance of his face, and all of a sudden I let him go” This contrast between the two species of humans represents the have and have-nots of our world today.
It signifies the segregation of the rich and the poor which still goes on today, here Wells is trying to tell the reader if capitalism and greed continues in the world, the human race will be divided into two, and from there will decline due to the absence of mutual thought and unbiased opinions. Wells also shows the great contrast between the two species, the Eloi, that live above ground in comfort, they have no worries and float around in their perfect world unaware of anything around them. Where as the Morlocks dwell in the underground, and live in constant labour.
They live like savages, and over the years have eaten the Eloi and other Morlocks, unlike the Eloi who have tasty ripe fruit to eat. “I saw a solitary white, ape-like creature running rather fast quickly up the hill… I saw a leash of them carrying some dark body” Here the time traveller explains as he witness the Morlocks capture an Eloi. This again amplifies the diversity between the upper and working class people of today’s world. Just as the time traveller thinks there is no hope left in the current human race, he meets Weena, an Eloi that resembles some of the human characteristics the time traveller is used to, such as love.
The creature’s friendliness affected me exactly as a child might have done. ” Weena was the only individual out of the Eloi that showed the time traveller any type of attention or human emotion. This gives the Victorian reader some hope in the future, and Wells does this purposely to reassure the reader, making them think that things aren’t that bad. Escaping from the Morlocks into the Palace of Green Porcelain, The time traveller observes the evidence of past civilizations in their prime, through the books and paintings he finds on the walls. He then realises that once the human race had reached its pinnacle. Going towards the side I found what appeared to be sloping shelves thick with dust” However, as capitalism and greed continued to occur the human raced was corrupted and began to devolve into the Eloi and Morlocks. The situation then goes from bad to worse as the time traveller in a desperate attempt to flee the world of the Eloi and Morlocks, moves ahead another thousand years.
“The blinking succession of day and night… The alternations of day and night grew slower and slower, until they seemed to stretch through centuries. ” As the time traveller gets out of his machines, he analyses the environments, only to find even more decline. The sky was no longer blue” This statement shows that as the human race in declining, the physical condition was also declining, and coming to an end. He then finds the first signs of life as “intensely green vegetation” And then he sees the other types of life. “A thing like a huge white butterfly go slanting and fluttering up into the sky” Then what he had first taken for a reddish mass of rock, revealed itself to be a “Monstrous crab like creature” He The time traveller has found two different types of animal, crustaceans and butterflies, both of which have evolved to be larger in size.
Can you imagine a crab as big as yonder table, with many legs moving slowly and uncertainly, its big claws swaying… and its stalked eyes gleaming at you? ” Hoping to find more complex examples of life the time traveller looks around, only to find more of the crustaceans. “Dozens of them seemed to be crawling here and there. ” This confirms to the time traveller that all traces of human beings have been lost, and the human race was extinct, leaving these large crustaceans and butterflies to inhabit the earth.
“I then moved a thousand years or more, drawn by the mystery of the earth’s fate. The time traveller, now knowing there is no hope for the human race moves forward in time curious of the future of the earth. The time traveller looks around in search of any animals only to find nothing. He then witnesses an eclipse and the possible end of the earth. “Either the moon or the planet mercury was passing across the sun’s disk. ” As darkness fall upon the lifeless uninhabited world, silence spreads across the world, which along with the darkness, persuades to leave, and return to his own time. “Beyond these lifeless sounds the world was silent. Silent?
It would be hard to convey the stillness of it. ” The time traveller final trip into the future portrays everybody’s worst fear, the end of the human race. Here the human race has been replaced by crustaceans which have become the dominant species, the results of the decline and eventual extinction of the human race. As the time traveller returns to his own time he is relieved to see normal civilization again. “At last I saw the dim shadows, the evidence of humanity. ” He then leaves his time machine and tells his audience the shocking event that occurred during his journey though time.
Wells shows the Victorians people the possible consequences of their current attitude towards the future. He gives them a warning, that if their arrogant, egotistical attitude persists, it could result in the division of the human race. This in turn will prevent the discoveries and achievements science, technology and social issues. This would disappoint the Victorian people as they believed that the future holds advancements and more achievements, were as Wells is contradicting this, saying that if today’s problems are not solved, it will result in the decline and inevitable extinction of the human race.