Lord Of The Flies: The Id, Ego, And Super Ego

1321 words - 5 pages

Throughout history, it has been noted that when an individual is isolated from civilization, various psychological effects take a toll on that person’s well-being. Sigmund Freud, an Austrian psychologist, believed that when a person is isolated from civilization, a darker “savage” side naturally takes over (“Id, Ego, and Super-ego” n. pag). William Golding shared this belief and used it as inspiration to write one of his most well-known novels, Lord of the Flies. Freud’s findings on the human mind led him to believe there are three main parts: The id, the ego, and the super-ego (“Id, Ego, and Super-ego” n. pag). Jack, Ralph, Simon, and Piggy are not only the main characters in Golding’s Lord of the Flies, but also embody the id, ego, and super-ego characteristics of Freudian psychology.
Sigmund Freud was born in 1856 to Jewish Galician parents in the Moravian town of Pribor in the Austrian Empire (“Sigmund Freud” n. pag). During his education in the medical field, Freud decided to mix the career fields of medicine and philosophy to become a psychologist (“Sigmund Freud” n. pag). During his research as a psychologist, he conceived the Structural Model Theory, which he discussed in his essay Beyond the Pleasure Principle. The theory states that the human psyche is divided into three main parts: the id, ego, and super-ego (“Id, Ego, and Super-ego” n. pag). He concluded that the id was the desire for destruction, violence and sex; the ego was responsible for intellect and dealing with reality; and the super-ego was a person’s sense of right and wrong and moral standards (Hamilton, n. pag). Freud argued that a healthy individual will have developed the strongest ego to keep the id and super-ego in check (“Id, Ego, and Super-ego” n. pag). This theory led him to believe that everyone possesses a savage id side, it is only suppressed by the civilized ego and super-ego sides (“Sigmund Freud” n. pag).
It can be inferred that Golding’s common belief with the Structural Model regarding the underlying savagery of man comes from his traumatic experiences in World War II. Golding served in the Royal Navy on board a destroyer, later becoming an officer after participating in the Normandy Invasion on D-Day (“William Golding” n. pag). He believed the atrocities of war caused the inner id qualities of man emerge, which he pointed out after the war when he said, “The basic point my generation discovered about man was that there was more evil in him than could be accounted for simply by social pressures” (“William Golding” n. pag). Golding’s shared beliefs with Freud led him to base the characters of Lord of the Flies on the three main Freudian principles. Jack, the leader of the savages, represents the id; Ralph and his desire for civilization represents the ego; and Piggy and Simon with their conscience and morality represent the super-ego.
Golding’s “id” character, Jack, illustrates the consequences the lack of civilization can have on a person over time....

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