Barbarism prevailed over civilization in a series of events that resulted in the tragic death of Piggy when Roger released a boulder on him in William Golding’s novel Lord of the Flies. Although Roger was influenced by Jack to act savagely, his own actions warrant a first degree murder charge for the death of Piggy because of his willfulness, deliberation, and premeditation to hurt Piggy. Roger always had a destructive nature and a clear motive to kill. The Pyramid of Hate and the Stanford Prison Experiment further explain why Roger is guilty. Some argue that Roger was influenced and just wanted to have fun with games, but this is not true as evidence from the beginning of the book reveals his true self.
Roger’s bad nature slowly got worse as time passed, and when the opportunity presented itself to cause severe destruction, he made use of it. Roger is introduced as “a slight, furtive boy whom no one knew, who kept to himself with an inner intensity of avoidance and secrecy” (22). Golding describes Roger with a dark tone isolated from everyone else which makes the reader wonder what dark secret Roger holds. Later on, it is clear that his secret is his destructive nature. One day as Roger is exiting the forest, he “led the way straight through the castles, kicking them over, burying the flowers, scattering the chosen stones … The three littluns paused in their game and looked up” (60). Golding presents vivid imagery to show how Roger intends to cause havoc, in this case destroying the littluns sandcastles, even in a time of peace. This is not the only time where Roger exerts this behavior; just after the sandcastle incident, Roger “gathered a handful of stones and began to throw them [at another boy]” (62). This is all for no reason and shows his willfulness to cause harm to anyone. Eventually, Roger’s demeanor turns from wanting to harm to his desire to kill. After a while, the boys start to attack another boy like the boy is a pig. Jack “had him [the boy] by the hair and was brandishing his knife. Behind him was Roger, fighting to get close” (114). As all of the fighting is happening, Golding chooses to describe Roger “fighting to get close” to show how Roger wants to deliver that final death strike. Although it was a group effort that got carried away in the killing, Godling sends a message that Roger desires to kill. Roger finally gets his moment to kill when he has the chance to release a boulder on Piggy. Previously, Roger came across the boulder and found out what it was for. A boy told him “The chief [Jack] said we got the challenge everyone” and showed Roger “a log that had been jammed under the topmost rock and another level under that … A full effort would send the rock thundering down to the neck of the land. Roger admired” (159). By Roger learning about and admiring the rocks capabilities, it shows that the group was planning on releasing the boulder. Jack had instructed everyone to eliminate any threats, and Roger wasn’t going to miss out on any opportunity. Finally, the time comes when Piggy is in reach of the boulder’s path. Roger “with a sense of delirious abandonment, leaned all his weight on the lever” (180), causing the boulder to fall and strike and kill Piggy. Roger clearly expressed deliberation as he leaned all his weight while also enjoying it. All in all, Roger expressed willfulness to kill Piggy with his nature to kill, premeditation when learning about the boulder, and deliberation when he delivered the final blow.
Similarly to evidence from the book, The Pyramid of Hate and the Stanford Prison Experiment also show that Roger is guilty of murdering Piggy. Roger and the other boys singled out Piggy for being fat from the beginning after barley meeting him, which caused Roger and the others to get annoyed at Piggy. According to The Pyramid of Hate, these small acts of prejudice can escalate, and in this case, become Roger’s motive to kill Piggy. The Stanford Prison Experiment was an experiment that divided two groups into prisoners and guards. The result was the guards taking the job very seriously and behaving in a destructively towards the prisoners. This relates to Roger went on pig hunts and took it seriously as well and shows that Roger’s destructive behavior is normal and no fluke. This means that Roger acted under his own conscious when he decided to kill Piggy.
Counters and Rebuttals:
Roger’s demeanor clearly shows that he is guilty of the murder of Piggy, but some skeptics still disagree. Some skeptics argue that Jack, not Roger, should be at fault since Jack heavily influenced Roger, however they don’t realize that it was still Roger’s actions and intent to kill. Also, Jack only influenced him when the boys split up, and numerous incidents such as the sandcastle one show that he was always bad natured before that. Jack only wants power, while Roger wants terror.
Although all the evidence points to Roger being a psychopath, some still argue that Roger is an innocent young boy. They state that Roger just wants to have fun with no intention to harm, as shown when he throws rocks at a boy while aiming to miss. They don’t realize that the reason he misses is not that he doesn’t want to cause harm. When he was throwing the rocks, his arm “was conditioned by a civilization” (62). He threw the rocks because the sense of civilization was still affecting him. If the did throw the rocks directly at the boy, he would have gotten in trouble back home. Later on in the book, when it is clear that civilization is not present, it is clear to Roger that he can do what he wants with no consequences.
In conclusion, Roger showed willfulness, deliberation, and premeditation to hurt Piggy, which displays why he should be deemed guilty of first degree murder. His bad nature got the best of him, and an innocent boy paid the price. This relates to us, the readers, as it shows how a sense of civilization can disappear very quickly if there is no one to enforce any rules. The consequence of this is that terror can rise quickly if there is no outside force to prevent it.