Human nature. Is it good or evil? Evil is not an outside force but rather resides within each person. In The Lord of the Flies, William Golding questions human behavior. In the novel, an airplane full of young British school boys crashes. The pilot dies and the boys must learn to survive on their own on a deserted island. Soon, Ralph one of the oldest, assumes position as chief. But as the strive for power and lack of restraint grows, the boys, lead by Jack power hungry from the start, turn on each other. What results is the author’s depiction of the inherent evil in man. In The Lord of the Flies, Golding illustrates that humans are evil by nature when he describes the beast, the hunt and the death of Simon.
Being stranded on the island has presented the boys with many fears; however, there is nothing on the island which they fear more than the beast. The beast is at first a make-believe monster that a littllun, Percival, claims to have seen in the jungle. What eventually is learned is that beast is not a physical being, but rather a symbol that represents what is inside all people. Golding writes: “Simon felt a perilous necessity to speak; but to speak in assembly was a terrible thing to him. ‘Maybe,’ he said hesitantly, ‘maybe there is a beast.’ The assembly cried out savagely and Ralph stood up in amazement. ‘You, Simon? You believe in this?’…’What I mean is…maybe it’s only us’” (Golding, 80). When Simon suggest that the beast is the evil that resides inside them every other boy rejects his idea and sees him as crazy. They ignore Simon’s insight because they cannot fathom that evil rises from inside themselves. Simon is the only one who realizes that the beast does not exist. What is a physical being in the minds of his companions is actually the darkness that dwells in all humans. Golding uses the beast to support the premise that man is not naturally good, but evil. The infatuation of hunting and killing the pigs that roam on the island, is another indication of the evil within the boys.
The boys’ constant pursuit to hunt and kill pigs is strong evidence that evil is deep-seated inside each individual. Jack and his choir are assigned the task to procure food for the island by hunting the pigs. Eventually the hunting and killing of the pigs became less of a tactic for survival and more of a game: “Then Jack found the throat and the hot blood spouted over his hands. The sow collapsed under them […].At last the immediacy of the kill subsided. They boys drew back, and Jack stood up, holding out his hands. ‘Look.’ He giggled and flicked them while the boys laughed at his reeking palms” ( ). Many of the boys, including Jack were at first timid about hunting. Increasingly they became bolder and take pleasure in robbing a living thing of its life. “ Kill the pig! Cut his throat! Kill the pig! Bash him in !”(104). Golding uses the fascination with slaying the pigs to illustrate man’s ability to be cruel and violent. The boys’ aescopalion necessities are not as important as having more power than the rest, whether it be over your friends or mere swine. They in turn use this new hobby to wreak havoc on the defenseless animals of the island. This ritual of hunting pigs for fun eventually leads to the demise of Simon. In the novel, the death of Simon is a strong example of how evil is inherent and how quickly it rises when factored with survival.
From the beginning Simon is a sense of good in the novel and is the only one to recognize early on that evil exists in each and every boy, not in a physical being or monster. Here, Simon sees a dead parachuter on the island, thinking that this could lead to their rescue, he decides to put on the chute and present it to the boys. However, the boys look past Simon, who they have grown to know over their extensive stay on the island, and see a strange figure barreling toward them. Naturally, they immediately look for the kill. “The circle became a horseshoe. A thing was crawling out of the forest. It came darkly uncertainly. The shrill screaming that rose before the beast was like a pain. The beast stumbled into the horseshoe…At once the crowd surged after it …leapt on the beast, screamed, struck, bit tore” (139). The death of Simon demonstrates the inherent evil in humans. Simon is the only who really understood that the beast is, in fact, them. The meaning behind the beast, the truth about the nature of humans is why Simon is killed. Inner savagery compromised moral thinking which resulted in a foul, rabid frenzy. When Simon is murdered, the boys lose the last sense of good in their lives, bringing out all their wickedness.
In the novel, The Lord of The Flies, William Golding weaves a tale of good vs evil by creating conflict between civilized behavior and savagery. At the start of the novel the stranded boys behave with some sort of civil structure. They establish a leader, make rules and, set out to create their own little society. Quickly the boys lose sense of right and wrong and progress into thoughtless, impulsive and overall nasty behavior. Golding uses his novel, The Lord of the Flies demonstrate the inherent evil that exist in humans when examining the beast that lies within oneself, the pig hunt and the brutal murder of Simon. Golding implies that evil exist within all people and that man’s veritable nature leans in on the impulse to be bad versus good.
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