Published in 1954, Lord of the Flies by William Golding is a classic novel that talks about the conflict between the human impulse towards savagery and the rules of civilization. It is an allegorical tale where Golding explains the brutality of World War II, as it delivers a message about real-world issues and incidents from the war to help people understand the importance of laws and rules. Golding uses biblical allusion to portray the character of a boy named Simon, the pig’s head and the island through the conflicts and events shown in the novel.
The crash site, the island, is the main allusion in this novel, portraying as the garden of Eden from the book of Genesis. Its scenery, abundant fruit and idyllic weather, are keen similarities between the two paradises, that is, before the boys arrive and destroy it. For example, the author alludes the boys to the biblical characters of Adam and Eve. They represent the innocence that people are born into, much like they both are at the time of their creation: “Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame” (Genesis 2:25). Similarly, Ralph’s first act on the island is to remove his clothes and swim in the water, a gesture that recalls the nudity and the act of baptism. Later on, the boys too begin to wear less clothing and eventually go around naked. Another example shows how the boys are present around fruits and nature: “Flower and fruit grew together on the same tree and everywhere was the scent of ripeness and the blooming of a million bees at pasture” (Golding 57) as well as Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. This comparison is highly similar because the island and the garden once started as a paradise, however, it is ruined as Adam, Eve and the boys pursued their savagery and temptation instincts. On the other hand, the beast in both of these stories resemble Satan as it temps both characters from the stories to rebel. Adam and Eve encountered their beast, the snake, in the garden, in attempting to make them eat an apple from the forbidden tree. The boys imagined they saw a “snake-thing” (Golding 73-80) in the forest which made them fear and worship the beast without knowing what it really is. These examples show how similar Golding tries to express that a craving for temptation as well as an unhealthy fear drive this world, is a better understanding of how humanity is similar to the time of God’s creation. In the end, it drives the characters more to the brink of destruction and violence.
In addition to rebelling from their innocent selves, the pig’s head shows a major understanding of the danger of evil within the boys that propels them deeply into a state of savagery and violence, as well as Adam and Eve from God. By eating the apple from the forbidden tree, Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s only rule because of their careless and tempted actions “…So the Lord God banished them from the Garden of Eden..” (Genesis 2:15-17). Similar to this example, one of the boys named Jack is tempted by the desperation of the pig’s meat which symbolizes the forbidden fruit in Lord of the Flies. Here, Golding makes an affirmation of their step into savagery. Corrupted by fear because of the ‘beast’, their perception of it turn out to be more irrational and does what it wants “This head is for the beast. It’s a gift.” (Golding 151). Golding uses this to emphasize the importance of their blindness into temptation, to grow awareness to the world of bad people. Continuing, the beast, who is the Lord of the Flies, is shown as Beelzebub, who is Satan in Hebrew, a similar character to the snake in the book of Genesis. As the Lord of the Flies supposedly talks to Simon, we see that the beast is declaring his intention to destroy all that is good on the island, thus learning the beast’s attempt on tempting Simon to join Jack’s tribe. Simon gradually realizes that there is evil within everyone “You knew, didn’t you? I’m part of you?” (Golding 158) but as he tries to confront the boys with his discoveries, he died because of misunderstandings, a lead to his relations with Jesus. Golding shows the beast as an act of temptation through the characters in the novel, an act in which humans can not differentiate from.
Finally, one of the main characters in the story, Simon, is viewed as a Christ figure. He is spiritual, compassionate, non-violent, and in harmony with the natural world as Jesus did. Both characters are disregarded and not accepted by society. Some may say that his confrontation with the Lord of the Flies resembles Christ’s conversation with the devil during his forty days in the desert, where he tries persuading Simon into having fun by sinning, Satan does the same thing to Jesus by giving him his needs in an act of temptation. Both characters, challenged by evil, overcame it. In addition, readers noted the resemblances of their deaths. During Simon’s death, he was killed as a misunderstanding “the clouds opened and let down the rain like a waterfall” (Golding 153) – an emphasis to the power of evil. Christ’s sacrifice on the cross was killed for his beliefs “there was darkness over the whole land” (Mark 15:33), to relieve the burden of his people’s sins. Golding reveals the similarities in one another to show that they are not different, and that their characters play a big role in their stories. Furthermore, in relation to God, “Simon found for them the fruit they could not reach.” (Golding 56), Simon feeds the littluns fruit, just as Jesus fed the multitudes in the New Testament “Jesus feeds the five thousand” (Matthew 14:13-21). Additionally, the comparison between Simon and Jesus’ secret places are somewhat similar. Simon goes to his secret place in the forest as Jesus goes to the garden to pray. All in all, Golding makes a connection with Jesus to Simon to show their aspects of qualities, action, and death. These characters bring a light to their stories by keeping their beast at bay that resides in the depths people’s heart.
In conclusion, Lord of the Flies by William Golding has shown that all people are inherently evil, and that laws are a need to keep an ordered and civilised society. Their savageness and violence brings a world of destruction, a comparison of why Golding sends a message about war. This idea is worth learning about because it brings a reminder that rules, though sometimes frustrating, are truly necessary to prevent anarchy. Though the similarities of biblical allusions helps the understandings of the novel, to better understand the wildness in someone’s heart.