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Lord Of The Flies By William Golding

1029 words - 4 pages

On the surface, the storyline of Lord of the Flies is very entertaining. The idea of a group of people being stranded on a deserted island amuses people even to this day (i.e. – Lost, Survivor, etc.) However, William Golding wrote this novel as an allegorical tale meaning that everything – including characters, props, and actions – is attached to something deeper. When examining this story closer, Golding includes a general theme that the true nature of man is bad. He also injects many religious and biblical parallels that can be seen throughout the book. 300 years prior, Thomas Hobbes, in his famous piece The Leviathan, claimed that the “life of man” is, “nasty, brutish, and short.”1 Hobbes and Golding have similar views of the nature of man and Lord of the Flies is a fictional story exemplifying Hobbes thoughts in the Leviathan.
Golding sets up his theme with having certain characters represent different human aspects. The protagonist of the story, Ralph, represents civilization, leadership, good, and morals. Ralph was elected by the boys to be the leader of them and uses the conch, which is a symbol for civilization and order, to conduct group meetings. He does not use violence to get what he wants and cares about everyone in the group’s general welfare. His counterpart, Jack, is the antagonist of the story. Jack represents savagery, amorality, and the drive for power. Jack loves using force and violence in order to get what he wants and only cares about his own power over the group’s needs. Jack neglects the signal fire and does not help Ralph with building shelter for the group. We see this with his drive to kill a wild pig which elevates to using violence on the other boys which leads to the death of some. Ralph’s number two is Piggy who represents science, logic, and reason. He uses his glasses, which is a symbol for technology, to start the signal fire and practices reason when the littluns are scared of the beast. Another of one Ralph’s friends is Simon. Simon represents the goodness of man, nature in general, and religion (to some extent). He helps Ralph with building shelter and picks the higher fruit for the smaller boys to eat. He is also the center of many religious parallels. Roger, a member of Jack’s camp, represents evil, bloodlust, and human brutality. The characters associated with “good” qualities are Ralph, Piggy, and Simon while the characters associated with “bad” qualities are Jack and Roger.
These five main characters and their relationships between each other evolve as the story develops. Early on, tensions become high between Ralph and Jack when Ralph was elected as leader of Jack. More confrontations between these two occur throughout the books as if it was a battle of heavyweights going back and forth. These confrontations and character representations culminate at the end of the book. First, Simon is killed by the entire group during a tribalistic war dance one night. This represents that the savagery of man...

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