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Disturbed Characters In Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’ And Golding’s ‘Lord Of The Flies

1092 words - 5 pages

In Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’ and Golding’s ‘Lord of the Flies’, the portrayal of disturbed characters differentiates. The story of Macbeth was set in medieval Scotland during an era where fear and violence dominated the world; a society where clans fought for power and craved the title of being the next king. In the play Macbeth is a glorified solider that meets his fate after being led astray by selfish ambitions. Similarly, Golding’s experience with World War Two had a profound effect on his view of humanity and the evils of which it was capable. His novel demonstrates a postmodernism view – the principal that rejects the idea of objective truth and universal social progress- by leaving boys stranded in an island. Free from the rules that the adult society formerly imposed on them, the boys struggle to maintain a civilised community and finally descend into anarchy. Both writers have different opinions toward the definition of disturbed and this is reflected through their characters.

Atmosphere and settings are used by both Golding and Shakespeare to foreshadow future events. In the Lord of the Flies, the island stands as an allegorical object representing the general modernist view of civilisation: that the world is improving and that progress is inevitable. With its “dazzling beach” and “open sea”, the island almost creates the sense that it is the Garden of Eden; a place of perfection. However, the image becomes tainted when the reader realises that the island is not pristine: it is marked by a “scar”. Although this “scar” was caused by the plane crash that brought the boys to the island, it can be interpreted in a way that allows us to understand what or who Golding classifies as disturbed. This flaw, on the otherwise untouched land, can connote the evil that mankind has wrought on the world and as a result it has left an ugly, permanent stamp on the island. Alternatively, the scar can be linked to Golding’s beliefs that the atrocities of the Holocaust and the horrific effects of World War Two have left an unhealable reminder that man itself is the beast. In addition to this, Golding goes on to present the island as a disturbing place with banks “covered in coarse grass” and decaying “skull-like coconuts”, all of these details foreshadow future events that may begin to unfold. The juxtaposition between the sweetness customarily linked to “coconuts” and the evilness of the “skull” can be suggestive of tragic deaths and hidden temptation in the near future.
Likewise, Shakespeare creates a negative aura around Macbeth using pathetic fallacy to manipulate the weather and mood. Introduced into the play after being mentioned by three witches, Macbeth arouses suspicions regarding how he and the witches are linked. At the time, the witches meet in foul weather and they speak of Macbeth during “thunder, lightning and rain”, the use of classic bad weather foretells tragedy. A bolt of lightning is symbolic as it normally represents power and...

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