Jack Griffin: Guilty or Not Guilty?

Jack Griffin: Guilty or Not Guilty?

Hannah Barham

Many people don’t know the classic Universal film, The Invisible Man from the 1930s. If you’ve read the book by H.G. Wells, or you’ve seen the 2020 version of The Invisible Man, you know the basics. Man goes invisible, he goes crazy and kills people. The main character in the book and the 1930 film is Jack Griffin, a brilliant scientist who has performed an experiment using a drug called monocaine, which absorbs the color of whoever ingested it. Griffin is a brilliant scientist who works under Dr. Cranley, a man who works in food preservation. Griffin is engaged to be married to Dr. Cranley’s daughter, Flora. He is worried that he, a lowly scientist, would not be able to fully provide for Flora. So one day, he aims to create something that will make him known worldwide. He uses a drug called monocaine and mixes it with other chemicals and creates an elixir that turns him completely invisible. But he gets so swept up in the success of the experiment, he doesn’t have a way to turn back. In fear of Cranley, Flora, or his associate Dr. Kemp seeing him, Griffin flees to a little town called Iping and stays at the Lion’s Head Inn. He appears wrapped completely in bandages, barking at the owners to give him “a room and a fire.” Griffin then works day and night in his room to find a way back to his humanity. Throughout the movie, Griffin is shown to be extremely tyrannical and shows no remorse for any of his actions. When his invisibility is revealed to everyone (including police), Griffin runs away and starts a reign of terror. He starts killing, robbing, etc. 

You may read these and chalk these up to Griffin being a cold hearted murderer with the perk of invisibility, but think about these things. If you were invisible with no way to turn back to human, wouldn’t you have gone a little insane? Also, keep in mind that Griffin injected himself with chemicals. Chemicals that have severe side effects and that can really mess up a mental state, and in this case, Griffin has severe mental health issues. From megalomania to straight up insanity. This was all caused by the monocaine that he ingested. According to the book and the movie, Griffin injected himself with it over the course of a month, which slowly led to his invisibility. Unfortunately for Griffin, the monocaine got to his head, which drove him to insanity. Griffin started to lose his mind, and eventually it came to him becoming filled with rage and delusions of grandeur. I am in no way shape or form defending Griffin’s actions, since killing people and kind of derailing a train and killing hundreds of people is frowned upon in most societies. 

Griffin breaks into Dr. Kemp’s house and explains to Kemp everything that he has done in the last few months, and explains the issue with the monocaine. Griffin then proposes an idea to Kemp. Kemp was going to an accomplice to Griffin’s reign of terror. Dr. Kemp agrees out of fear for his life. Kemp goes on to aid Griffin with getting his books and continuing his reign of terror. Kemp then calls the police to properly identify Griffin. 

The one little bit of humanity that Griffin had in the film was his love for his fiance, Flora. It’s very obvious that Griffin adores Flora, and wants to be the best husband he can for her. That’s why he ran off to do his little experiments. He wanted to sell off his invisibility serum and make millions off of it, and become famous. However, it all went wrong. During the movie, the invisible man is identified as Jack Griffin. Dr. Cranley learns of this, and tells Flora that the one who has been terrorizing the town is her fiance. Cranley comes to visit Kemp, and Flora comes with him. Griffin gets soft when he sees Flora, and he says that he nearly forgot about her. Griffin requests to see Flora alone. To his request, Flora comes to see him. Griffin approaches Flora and holds her hands, and he expresses how lovely it is to see her. Griffin then explains what he did and why he did it: to provide for Flora. Flora begs Griffin to come back to Dr. Cranley’s lab to help turn him back. Griffin tells her no, and he looks outside to see the police. Griffin puts together that Kemp called the police, and tells Flora to go. Flora leaves, and Griffin goes to disappear. (literally). Griffin leaves Kemp’s house and tells Kemp that he will be back at 10 PM the next day to kill him. 

Griffin can be chalked up to be a psychopathic, narcissistic, coldblooded killer. However, while murder is bad, think about how he feels. He ingested a harmful chemical, and it really messed up his brain, leading to his megalomania. Plus, he just went completely invisible and possibly won’t be able to see himself again. Wouldn’t you have gone a little crazy too?