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Free Study Guide-The Time Machine by H. G. Wells-Online BookNotes/Summary
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CONFLICT

Protagonist

The Time Traveller is the protagonist of the story, and remains the focal character of the narrative, even when he is not narrating the story himself. His journey into the future and what he finds are the focus of the story. His thoughts dominate the story, and tend to shape the reader’s response to the various characters the he encounters.


Antagonist

On one hand, the main antagonists in the story are the Morlocks. These predatory creatures prey on the helpless Eloi, and on more than one occasion attack the Time Traveller, almost preventing him from returning to his own time. But even more so, the antagonist is the Time Traveller himself, as he attempts to remain a scientific observer, drawing the proper conclusions, discerning the truth of the future, and remaining somewhat distant from the situation, while at the same time wrestling with his fear and apprehension of what humankind has become as well as the possibility of being trapped forever.

Climax

The climax in the story comes in the forest, when the Time Traveller builds a fire to provide protection from the Morlocks. This starts the enormous forest fire, during which Weena is lost. His loss of Weena causes him to gain a better understanding of his careless actions throughout his time in the future, and the part he played in Weena’s death. From this point, the Time Traveller’s resolve to leave the future quickly is set, and he ceases to consider himself an outside observer. In the forest, the Time Traveller escapes from the Morlocks again, and gains the upper hand.

Outcome

The outcome, like many science fiction stories, is that the hero makes a narrow escape, as the Time Traveller leaves the Morlocks and the Eloi behind. He leaves with the knowledge of the repercussions of the policies followed by the Britons in his own time. Like many present day science fiction stories, he is awakened to the result of blind faith in scientific progress, a faith that he had shared. In the very end, the Time Traveller is lost due to his never-ending quest for knowledge.

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