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Evil In A Closet: Exploring Evil In William Golding's Lord Of The Flies

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In his 2008 Ted Talk, speech entitled: “The Psychology of Evil,” Philip Zimbardo explores the nature of human evilness. He argues that when a person changes it is because the situation changes. When he put a good person in a bad situation they turn into a bad person. Then he talks about how these experiments affected the people mentaly. Zimbardo’s research becomes especially helpful when Reading William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, which also explores the idea of a person’s evil. If one loses civilization, feels the emotions such as fear and power, and wants to prove masculinity all these aspects can lead to evil behavior proven in Goldig`s Lord of The Flies.

Evil shines when civilization is missing. Golding expresses this through one of the main characters named Jack.The boys were in a meeting and they were arguing about the beast. They are all talking over each other and yelling at each other. The novel states, “‘Bollocks to the rules! We’re strong- we hunt! If there’s a beast, well hunt it down! We’ll close in and beat and beat and beat!’” (91). Jack saying, “Bollocks to the rules” reveals that all his forms of being civilized is gone. Then Jack wants to “beat and beat and beat”, his evil has taken over him.The rules is kind of the only thing they have left of civilization. They were saying they don’t care about the rules and they should be gone. This means the whole aspect of civilization is gone. All they want to do is hunt and kill in the end, it’s their evil that takes over the civilized side of them. From birth we are evil, but to what degree are the children responsible for their actions if they have evil with them? The novel is showing civilization it’s what keeps evil in the back of our minds. When the rules are gone then evil has a chance to come out and take over. The characters are all children and when people think of children they think of innocence, but Lord of the Flies reflects children differently.

Another topic, Lord of the Flies suggest is that a person’s fears drive them to enact evil. The boys are all at Jack’s feast. Simon comes down the Mountain and tells the boys the beast on the Mountain is just a person. The Boys fear get in the way and they think that Simon is the Beast, so they attack him. In the novel they say, “ A thing was crawling out of the forest. It came darkly and uncertainty. The shrill screaming rose before the beast was like a pain. The beast stumbled into the horseshoe “Kill the beast! Cut his throat! Spill his blood! Do him in!” (152). Fear of the unknown motives the boys; fear of “a thing” that came “darkly” and “ uncertainty” toward them this motivates them. Fear is the feeling we have that keeps us away from danger. How our bodies reacts when fear is in control is not how we normally will react. Fear triggers the fight-or-flight response that is meant to save us. Fear also skews our perception of reality, and it’s for this reason we can easily turn evil.. They boys experience the heat of the moment when Simon came.Their consciences shut down;they forget their morality and their evil therefore shines.

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The Lord of the Flies suggest that the taste of power can shape an evil attitude. Piggy and Ralph went to go talk to Jack. Then Ralph called, an assembly so he can talk to all the boys. Before the assembly starts, “Roger took up a small stone and flung it between the twins, aiming to miss.They started and Sam only kept his footing. Some source of power began to pulse in Roger’s body” (175). Roger “ aimed to miss” so his civilized side stopped him from actually hitting the. After Roger almost hit the twins he got the feeling in the situation. If just this little action can get him to feel power it will lead to him actually committing an evil action. In Zimbardo’s “The Psychology of evil” he did an experiment called the Stanford prison experiment. He made 6 people guard and 6 people as prisoners. When the guard had the power they started do to evil actions to the prisoners. The taste of power made them lose all sense of innocence. They were good people put in a bad situation. That is what is happening to Roger. When he first got to the island he was a good kid. Then the small evil action he did gave him the feeling of power which led him to feel powerful. The taste of power gives the kids a rush and this causes them to commit evil actions.

In addition, The Lord of the Flies also suggests, that the urge to assert masculinity can lead to evil. In the beginning of the book the boys make fun of Jack for not being able to kill a pig. In other words they were scolding him for not being violent enough. This hurts Jacks ego to the point where he always wants to hunt. In the text it states, “‘ I thought I might kill.” “ But you didn`t.’” (51)This hurts Jacks ego to the point where he always wants to hunt. Later on Jack is trying to kill this pig he found after leaving Ralph and the rest of the kids. Jack finally catches the pig. Golding writes, “Then Jack found the throat and the hot blood spouted over his hands” (135). At this point of the book Jacks unhealthy obsession with hunting has expanded to many others in the group. Hunting in the group of boys is like representing their transition to manhood. Jack is trying to be the Alpha male of the island and he finds killing the pigs is the way to do it. He is limiting his emotional range so he can only express evil and anger. This all goes back to the fact that the coys where scolding him in the beginning of the book. The urge to assert masculinity changing their morals and is leading them to commit evil.

The Lord of The Flies clearly offers a clear outlook on evil; the novel reveals that humans loss of certain aspects of life and emotions can lead to evil intentions and actions. It is true that Golding reveals how when people are put in bad situations there intentions and moralities change. These emotions still happen in the time we are in now. If we put people on an island now and they have no connection to civilization I feel they will react the same way. We are all evil in our own way. Despite our best efforts to keep the evil in the backs of our minds we still fail in certain situations. Soe situations will break us and let our true evil themselves out, just like the boys in The Lord of The Flies.

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Evil In A Closet: Exploring Evil In William Golding’s Lord Of The Flies. (2022, February 18). Edubirdie. Retrieved February 3, 2023, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/evil-in-a-closet-exploring-evil-in-william-goldings-lord-of-the-flies/
“Evil In A Closet: Exploring Evil In William Golding’s Lord Of The Flies.” Edubirdie, 18 Feb. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/evil-in-a-closet-exploring-evil-in-william-goldings-lord-of-the-flies/
Evil In A Closet: Exploring Evil In William Golding’s Lord Of The Flies. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/evil-in-a-closet-exploring-evil-in-william-goldings-lord-of-the-flies/> [Accessed 3 Feb. 2023].
Evil In A Closet: Exploring Evil In William Golding’s Lord Of The Flies [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Feb 18 [cited 2023 Feb 3]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/evil-in-a-closet-exploring-evil-in-william-goldings-lord-of-the-flies/
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