The Invisible Man
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"The Invisible Man" Summary

By H.G. Wells

classics | 155 pages | Published in 2021

The Invisible Man H. G. Wells - The Invisible Man is an 1897 science fiction novella by H.G. Wells. Wells' novel was originally serialised in Pearson's Magazine in 1897, and published as a novel the same year. The Invisible Man of the title is Griffin, a scientist who theorises that if a person's refractive index is changed to exactly that of air and his body does not absorb or reflect light, then he will be invisible. He successfully carries out this procedure on himself, but cannot become visible again, becoming mentally unstable as a result.


Estimated read time: 5 min read

One Sentence Summary

A scientist discovers a way to make himself invisible, but the power quickly corrupts him.


"The Invisible Man" is a science fiction novel written by H.G. Wells. First published in 1897, the story has captivated readers for generations with its exploration of the consequences of invisibility and the darker aspects of human nature. The novel follows the story of a scientist who discovers the secret to invisibility and the chaos that ensues as a result. As the protagonist grapples with his newfound power, he delves into the moral and ethical implications of his condition. The novel's themes of power, morality, and the struggle between good and evil continue to resonate with readers today.

Brief Synopsis

"The Invisible Man" is set in the late 19th century in England, primarily in the rural village of Iping and later in the city of London. The story revolves around Griffin, a brilliant but reclusive scientist who discovers the secret to invisibility. After experimenting on himself, Griffin becomes invisible but soon realizes that his condition poses significant challenges, both practical and ethical. As he struggles to find a way to reverse the process, he becomes increasingly desperate and unhinged, ultimately leading to a series of disastrous events.

Main Events

The story begins with the arrival of a mysterious stranger, Griffin, at the Lion's Head Inn in the village of Iping. His peculiar behavior and reluctance to reveal his face arouse suspicion among the villagers. Griffin takes up residence at the inn, but his erratic and secretive conduct fuels rumors and unease.

As Griffin's invisibility is gradually revealed, the consequences of his condition become apparent. His initial curiosity and sense of liberation give way to frustration and a growing desire for revenge against a society that he feels has wronged him. He becomes increasingly isolated and deranged, using his invisibility to carry out a series of vengeful acts.

Griffin's actions draw the attention of the authorities and lead to a manhunt as he flees to London. In the city, he aligns himself with a fellow outcast, Kemp, and reveals his plans for establishing a reign of terror. As his megalomania spirals out of control, Griffin's relentless pursuit by the police culminates in a dramatic and tragic conclusion.

Main Characters

The Invisible Man features several key characters who play pivotal roles in the development of the story.

GriffinA brilliant and ambitious scientist who becomes invisible after a failed experiment. His descent into madness and pursuit of power form the central focus of the novel.
KempAn acquaintance of Griffin from their university days, Kemp becomes entangled in Griffin's schemes and is forced to confront the consequences of his friend's actions.
MarvelThe tramp who becomes unwittingly involved in Griffin's plans after stealing his scientific notebooks.
Mr. and Mrs. HallThe proprietors of the Lion's Head Inn in Iping, where Griffin initially takes up residence. They are among the first to encounter the invisible man and bear witness to his increasingly erratic behavior.

Themes and Insights

"The Invisible Man" delves into several themes that continue to resonate with readers.

Power and Responsibility

The novel explores the concept of power and its implications. Griffin's invisibility grants him a sense of authority and control, but he struggles with the ethical responsibilities that come with his newfound abilities. The story raises questions about the nature of power and the moral obligations that accompany it.

Alienation and Isolation

Griffin's invisibility leads to his gradual alienation from society. He becomes increasingly isolated, both physically and emotionally, as he grapples with the consequences of his condition. The novel portrays the psychological toll of isolation and the impact it can have on an individual's psyche.

Morality and Ethics

As Griffin's actions become increasingly erratic and malevolent, the novel delves into the moral and ethical implications of his behavior. The story prompts readers to consider the boundaries of morality and the choices individuals make when faced with extraordinary circumstances.

The Dark Side of Human Nature

"The Invisible Man" offers a compelling exploration of the darker aspects of human nature. Through Griffin's descent into madness and his pursuit of vengeance, the novel exposes the potential for malevolence within the human psyche and the destructive consequences that can arise from unchecked ambition.

Reader's Takeaway

Readers of "The Invisible Man" are presented with a thought-provoking exploration of power, morality, and the human condition. The novel's enduring relevance lies in its ability to prompt introspection and contemplation of the consequences of unchecked ambition and the ethical dilemmas that arise from extraordinary circumstances. As readers follow Griffin's descent into madness, they are compelled to consider the moral and psychological complexities inherent in the pursuit of power and the impact of alienation on the human psyche.


"The Invisible Man" continues to captivate readers with its timeless exploration of power, morality, and the darker aspects of human nature. H.G. Wells' masterful storytelling and thought-provoking themes ensure that the novel remains a compelling and enduring work of science fiction. Through the character of Griffin, readers are confronted with the complexities of power, morality, and the consequences of unchecked ambition, prompting introspection and contemplation long after the final pages have been turned.

The Invisible Man FAQ

  1. Who is the author of The Invisible Man?

    The author of The Invisible Man is H.G. Wells.

  2. What is the genre of The Invisible Man?

    The Invisible Man is a science fiction novel.

  3. What is the main premise of The Invisible Man?

    The main premise of The Invisible Man revolves around a scientist who discovers a way to make himself invisible but struggles with the consequences of his newfound ability.

  4. When was The Invisible Man first published?

    The Invisible Man was first published in 1897.

  5. Is The Invisible Man part of a series?

    No, The Invisible Man is a standalone novel.