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The Power Of Power Essay

1066 words - 5 pages

Abraham Lincoln’s quote shows his thoughts on the power of power and its ability to corrupt even the best of men. The same opinion is shared by Philip Zimbardo, the psychologist responsible for the Stanford prison study. In his study, he observed the effect of power on college students in roles as prison guards and prisoners. The experiment had to be cut short due the effect the power had on the students in the the role of the guards. William Golding’s novel, Lord of the Flies, supports Philip Zimbardo’s claim that evil is a natural consequence of power through the development of Roger and his personality. Golding shows this through Roger’s shift from civilized and shy to savage and bold in the time spent on the island.
When the boys first landed on the island, Golding describes Roger in the quote, “There was a slight, furtive boy whom no one knew, who kept to himself . . . He muttered that his name was Roger and was silent again,” (Golding 14) Roger wasn’t really one of the bolder boys and was timid at the beginning, when they had first landed on the island. He says his name quietly and that is all to be heard of shy little Roger. Roger is also the one who suggests having a vote to pick a chief, ending the argument between Ralph and Jack and coming up with a solution that is more sophisticated than other options. When they are trying to light a fire, Roger says “‘You make a bow and spin the arrow,’ . . . He rubbed his hands in mime,” (Golding 32). This indicates that Roger knows about how to survive and that he is slowly coming out of his shell, the transition to savagery has begun.
In the transition from being civilized and shy to savage and bold, the change in Roger becomes more evident. This transition is shown when Roger follows Henry, a littlun’, down the beach:
He sat there, crooning to himself and throwing sand at an imaginary Percival . . . Roger gathered a handful of stones and began to throw them. Yet there was a space round Henry, perhaps six yards in diameter, into which he dare not throw . . . Round the squatting child was the protection of parents and school and policemen and the law. (Golding 51-52)
Roger is slipping into savagery because he imagines “throwing sand at an imaginary Percival” and throws stones in the direction of Henry. Roger has not slipped totally into savagery at this point, indicated by Roger throwing around Henry, not at Henry, it shows that his mind still follows civilization and its rules set by adult authorities. As the power shifts so does Roger’s morales, the closer to Jack the more savage Roger is. At this point, Roger is on reaching the border of becoming a savage, yet he has not quite reached that point yet.
When the tribe splits, and the power goes to Jack, Roger progresses to a total savage. When Jack’s tribe has the upper hand, and all of the power, Ralph, Piggy, Sam and Eric go to the other tribe to...

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