A Whimper, Not a Bang: An Analysis of the Prophecy for Humanity in The Time Machine
H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine is a story of a time travelling storyteller who witnesses the devolution of humanity through time. As he travels many, many years into the future, he bears witness to the descendents of the human race; the Eloi, and on the opposite side of the spectrum, the Morlocks. Wells uses the evolution of the human race as a means to criticize the current class system in society. I think, in particular, he uses the story to criticize the ruling classes, as well to serve as a warning to people in both the ruling class and the working class. The Time Machine acts as a warning to those who simply participate in society without actively considering where they are and what place they have in society. No matter where you lie on the spectrum between the ruling class and the working, you will either devolve into the brutish, terrifying Morlocks, or the ignorant and stupid Eloi. The Eloi and the Morlocks represent the two opposites that can result from the current state of humankind, and thus, the two sides of humanity. The Eloi represent the beautiful and tender people, while the Morlocks represent the ugly, brutish side. The shared ancestor between the two is hardly noticeable when looking at the both of them. In particular, the Eloi, while a beautiful species, were also not that intelligent. Their world of idealism and beauty involved them being bested by their co-evolvers, the Morlocks. The Eloi, by many stretches of the imagination, are a failed evolution. While beautiful, their tenderness is undermined by their stupidity, their frailty, and their ignorance to the reality of their relationship with the Morlocks. As many critics and analyst of The Time Machine have explained, this relationship is not very different from the relationship Karl Marx depicts in his description and analysis of the ruling and the working classes. The Eloi, meant to represent the descendants of the ruling class, represent the softness and the frailty of the ruling class. They are a joyous species to the point of foolishness. In addition to that, if we are following the same theory, then that means the Morlocks are the descendants of the working class. This would imply that over time, after being forced underground by the ruling class, they simply adapted to their circumstance, and in doing so became the opposite of what the Eloi represented. Where the Eloi were soft and tender, the Morlocks were hard and brutish. Where the Eloi were beautiful, the Morlocks were, by most accounts, ugly. Even as the time traveller began to express distaste with the actions of the Eloi’s ancestors, the ruling class, as they forced their fellow man underground to begin working for them, he admitted that he could not maintain this attitude towards the Eloi for very long; the very traits that resulted from this behavior are the same ones that prevented him from feeling any disdain towards them. It can be assumed that Wells means to criticize the typical lifestyle of the ruling class, by portraying the result of such needless pampering to be beauty, yes, but also stupidity and weakness. The weakness results from a willfull ignorance; an assertion that not only is there nothing wrong with the world, but there is nothing wrong with them (the ruling class) in particular. Their way of living is one free of flaws, just comfort and positivity. On the other hand, the Morlocks, meant to represent the descendants of the working class, are meant to send a message of warning to people participating in the class system. The Morlocks are the helpful workers that take care of the Eloi. In turn for taking care of them, the Morlocks eat the Eloi. The Morlocks, however ugly they may be, are much more intelligent than the Eloi. Wells is telling a story that bears the same moral as the old adage, “What goes around, comes around.” He is telling the members of the ruling class that they...
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