Moral and Sacrifice in William Golding's ‘Lord of the Flies’: Essay

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The world-renowned author Stephen King once said: “It is better to be good than evil, but one achieves goodness at a terrific cost”. Throughout the novel ‘Lord of the Flies’, Golding suggests that being evil has more moral consequences than being virtuous, but one must sacrifice their comfort for the greater good to take a stance with righteousness. This is evident when Piggy decides to go face Jack to get his glasses back, when Ralph loses Piggy at Castle Rock, and finally when Simon goes to inform everyone about the hoax of the beast, but instead gets murdered by them.

Firstly, when Piggy decides to go face Jack to retrieve his glasses and talk about the fire, he exits his comfort zone to take moral action. His unusual decision is demonstrated when Piggy says, “I just take the conch to say this. I can’t see no more and I got to get my glasses back. Awful things has been done on this island” (Golding, 188). Throughout the book, Piggy proves himself to be the most moral boy on the island and never betrays his morals regardless of the intensity of the situation. On the contrary, after getting invaded and stolen from, Piggy changes his mind because he gets tipped over the edge by the rival tribe. After spending his whole time on the island being suppressed by Jack, he decides to follow his moral compass and swiftly take the decision to stand up for himself. Morality is one of Piggy's strong areas as he always overcomes any negative thoughts which occur in his mind and he makes the virtuous decision. As compared to this judgment, in the previous chapters Piggy stays beside Ralph and follows his decisions, which are shown when he argues with Jack: “‘I got the conch’, said Piggy bleakly. He turned to Ralph. ‘I got the conch, ain't I, Ralph?’” (Golding, 45). Since their first meeting, Piggy has always remained close to Ralph and has never gone anywhere alone. Moreover, throughout the book, Piggy constantly asks for Ralph’s approval, and without it, he restrains from taking his desired actions. In contrast, after being assaulted, Piggy disregards his usual approval from Ralph and chooses to be his own leader. In the text, as important as Ralph seems to be towards Piggy, he also needs Piggy to make a rational decision.

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Regardless of the right moral intention, after Piggy is murdered, Ralph loses the mental support that Piggy once provided. Piggy has always been Ralph’s companion and has always supported him, no matter what drastic event took place. At the beginning of the novel, Piggy is the first person whom Ralph meets, and since then Piggy has helped Ralph whenever he is weak. This is exemplified when Piggy states, “‘It was an accident’, said Piggy suddenly, ‘that's what it was. An accident’. His voice shrilled again. ‘Coming in the dark – he had no business crawling like that out of the dark. He was batty. He asked for it’” (Golding, 173). Simon's death is a negative factor mental impact on Ralph's mind. He blames himself for the death because he deems himself responsible for the death, which makes him think he is a murderer. Furthermore, after Ralph's base is invaded by Jack's tribe, Piggy is attacked and Jack steals his glasses. Therefore, Ralph and Piggy decide to take the moral action and they travel to Castle Rock. Since the beginning of the story, both of them always make moral decisions and try not to forget their values. Both of the boys' intentions are positive, which are to reach an agreement with the opposing tribe without repercussions, but instead, Roger decides to pull the lever, resulting in the death of Ralph's closest friend Piggy. This event leads to Ralph experiencing a sea of emotions and struggling to distinguish between the rational decision and the irrational decision because of the absent reassurance that Piggy constantly provided. This is exemplified by Ralph's dilemma caused by the fear of Jack's tribe when Ralph says, “‘Think’. What was the sensible thing to do? There was no Piggy to talk sense… Most, he was beginning to dread the curtain that might waver in his brain, blacking out the sense of danger, making a simpleton of him” (Golding, 218). When Ralph is being hunted by Jack's tribe, he is full of fear and trying to make the right decision, but a curtain of indecisiveness takes over him and he struggles to take a sensible action. Contrary to his loneliness in this situation, if Piggy was with him, being the most rational bigun on the island, he would be able to quickly comfort Ralph and take the necessary action to ensure their survival. Hence, Piggy's death leads to Ralph's decision-making skills weakening due to the absence of a helper.

In the text, Simon follows his moral obligation to inform the others about the inexistence of the beast regardless of his immense discomfort, only to fall victim to murder. This is depicted when Golding describes Simon’s thoughts: “The beast was harmless and horrible; and the news must reach the others as soon as possible. He stared down the mountain and his legs have beneath him. Even with great care the best he could do is a stagger” (Golding, 162). According to Simon's imagination, the head of the pig was the Lord of the Flies with whom he has a conversation, but then he discerns that it is nothing but a figment of his imagination that he creates to make sense of the situation. Following his realization, when Simon quickly leaves to inform others about their false beliefs, he ignores the pain in his legs to help others. Correspondingly, he experiences a great deal of discomfort just to get mistaken for the beast by the dancing boys. As he leaves the forest, all the boys are scared because Simon appeared in the dark, hence they confuse him for the beast and all attacked him. Throughout the story, Simon's morals are only demonstrated a few times, but one of the times he attempts to be virtuous, it results in his demise. The death of Simon is a consequence of the boys' fear which is exemplified when a bigun yells, “‘Him! Him!’. The circle became a horseshoe. A thing was crawling out of the forest. It came darkly, uncertainly” (Golding, 168). Using Simon’s intentions, Golding shows the obvious irony of the situation because Simon’s goal was to inform others about their misinterpretation of the beast, but ironically, he is mistaken for the beast himself and murdered. It is evident that doing the right thing requires discomfort, but it does not guarantee a reward or even appreciation. Consequently, Simon's effort to notify others that the beast is nonexistent leads to the dissolution of himself.

Using his novel ‘Lord of the Flies’, Golding implies that being corrupt comes with more adverse outcomes than being idealistic, however, remaining moral for the wellness of everyone comes with the sacrifice of one's amenities. This was evident when Piggy and Ralph go to confront Jack, when Piggy is murdered by Roger, and when Simon travels to tell everyone that the beast is not real. Similar to ‘Lord of the Flies’, in anyone's life, sacrifices are necessary to do the moral thing.

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Moral and Sacrifice in William Golding’s ‘Lord of the Flies’: Essay. (2023, November 15). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 23, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/moral-and-sacrifice-in-william-goldings-lord-of-the-flies-essay/
“Moral and Sacrifice in William Golding’s ‘Lord of the Flies’: Essay.” Edubirdie, 15 Nov. 2023, edubirdie.com/examples/moral-and-sacrifice-in-william-goldings-lord-of-the-flies-essay/
Moral and Sacrifice in William Golding’s ‘Lord of the Flies’: Essay. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/moral-and-sacrifice-in-william-goldings-lord-of-the-flies-essay/> [Accessed 23 Jul. 2024].
Moral and Sacrifice in William Golding’s ‘Lord of the Flies’: Essay [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2023 Nov 15 [cited 2024 Jul 23]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/moral-and-sacrifice-in-william-goldings-lord-of-the-flies-essay/
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