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The Theme Of Id, Ego And Supergo In "Lord Of The Flies" By William Golding

1469 words - 6 pages

"The Lord of the Flies" by William Golding tells the classic tale of plane wrecked English school boys decent to savagery on a desert island. Purposely stranded on an island the story shows how, when isolated, the weaknesses of human nature will emerge. Throughout the story three characters represent each side of Freud's theory of the human psyche; the id, the ego and superego. Jack represents the id, Ralph represents the ego and Simon represents the superego. In "Lord of the Flies" every person's state of mind is represented through a character in some way.Jack represents the instinctual needs and desires of man, in other words the id. The id is single-minded, motivated by primitive drives ...view middle of the document...

Jack takes pride in his kill and does not think about anything else. His mind is "crowded with memories" of the hunt. This feelings Jack has about the hunt connects to the feelings of power and superiority associated with the id. Jack's excitement is not from helping the group find meat but from outwitting another living thing and imposing his will upon it. This is a primitive desire; the pleasure of the hunt is what drives him not helping the group. Jack also tries to avoid pain; he apologizes to Piggy when they get in a fight and feeds Ralph and his tribe when they come over to his camp. Jack does not want anyone to ruin his moment of glory and bring him down so he welcomes Ralph. Also it symbolizes that Jack is the true leader since every one, even the supposed chief, goes on his side. Jack's id first takes of when he kills his first pig, the loss of innocence. And is at its greatest when Piggy is killed and the conch is destroyed. This shows that society and order no longer exist, and that the id (Jack) has taken over. Overall Jack is the true representation of the id, his desire to seek pleasure and avoid pain is seen throughout the story. The id eventually takes over everyone except Ralph, but the savagery all begins with Jack.Ralph represents the ego, the conscious and rational mind rooted in reality. The ego operates on the reality principle meaning the gratification of impulses must be delayed until the appropriate environmental conditions are found. In other words Ralph knows he can't just do what he wants, every action has consequences. The first sign that Ralph is rooted in reality is in the beginning of the novel. He sets up a sort of democracy, the person with the conch has the right to speak and everyone must listen. This shows that Ralph understands that order is needed to maintain and organized society. He believes social rules are necessary to live in harmony with others. "There's another thing. We can help them to find us. If a ship comes near the island they may not notice us. So we must make smoke on top of the mountain. We must make a fire." (35). This shows that Ralph wants to be rescued, showing the egos main trait of the mind being rooted in reality. Another example of Ralph being the ego is when he builds the shelters. Instead of entertaining himself with hunting he does the logical thing and helps protect the group. Also at the end of the novel Ralph is the only person on the island that has not turned into a savage. Another trait of the ego is that it controls higher mental processes such as reasoning. This is seen when Ralph is rescued at the end of the novel, "Ralph wept for the end of innocence, the darkness of man's heart, and the fall through the air of a true, wise friend called Piggy."(184). This quote shows that Ralph has learned that evil lurks...

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