The Problem Of Evil Within The Lord Of The Flies

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“There are very few people who are going to look in the mirror and say. ‘That person I see is a savage monster;’ instead they make up some construction that justifies what they do” - Noam Chomsky. In the novel Lord of the Flies, William Golding suggests that one cannot acknowledge the presence of evil if evil has overcome them. Golding demonstrates how some characters including Ralph, Piggy and Simon acknowledge the chaotic behaviour growing on the island while other characters indulge in their savagery, which is ultimately why evil overpowers innocence on the island. This is seen through how Jack’s tribe adapts a new identity and therefore acts without remorse, Jack, Roger, and Maurice’s transformation from civil to savage, and finally, how Ralph, Piggy, and Simon are silenced for ignoring the calls of savagery.

Primarily, Jack painting his face to find a new identity allows him to act without remorse towards his actions. After painting his face and taking Sam and Eric’s focus away from the fire, he is exhilarated about his new identity. “He split the water and leapt to his feet, laughing excitedly. Beside the mere, his sinewy body help up a mask that drew their eyes and appealed them. He began to dance and his laughter became a bloodthirsty snarling” (Golding 66). This shows how Jack is ecstatic to discover and endure in this new identity. However, as the novel progresses, Jack will soon forget who he truly is and make a new character out of this ‘mask’, overpowering the innocence of the island with savagery and evil. This also foreshadows how Jack does not want to acknowledge that he has turned evil and savage. Now, instead of being an innocent choir leader, he is becoming a leader of savagery, but he does not realize the wrong-doing of his actions just yet. Once Jack establishes his tribe, they are now being cautious of who is near them. “‘But didn’t we, didn’t we —?’ He squirmed and looked down. ‘No!’” (Golding 177). This exemplifies how Jack does not want to acknowledge the fact they have killed someone, and how they will have that stain on their hands even when they chose not to speak of it. Since they do not succeed in resolving their issues, this eventually leads to more tragic deaths among the characters. Especially since they did not talk about it all together, they start to get the sense that it is not bad to kill someone and when they do there will not be any consequences.

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Moreover, due to Jack’s transition from civil to savage, Maurice and Roger use this as an excuse to act evil as well. Both Roger and Maurice come down from watching the fire to go swimming, when all of a sudden Roger decides to kick down the sandcastles the littluns were making. Maurice was laughing before adding to the destruction. “Roger led the way straight through the castles, kicking them over, burying the flowers, scattering the chosen stones. Maurice followed, laughing, and added to the destruction” (Golding 62). The sandcastles symbolize the connection to civilization that is left on the island, however, once taken down by Maurice and Roger, the sense of civilization is gone and the island starts to become more savage. Similarly to the quote, they are adding destruction to innocence, as well as turning to the dark side of human nature. With no distinct authoritative figure, they assume that whatever they do will be followed with no consequences because they are hiding behind ‘masks’ or ‘new identities’. At this time, Roger is telling Robert that Wilfred, who has been tied up for hours, is going to get beaten by Jack. Robert shook his head with uncertainty. Without saying anything more, Roger’s climbs down from the rocks heads towards the cave with the rest of the tribe. “The chief was sitting there, naked to the waist, his face blocked out in white and red. The tribe lay in a semicircle before him” (Golding 176). This exemplifies Jack and his tribe's journey to savagery. Jack, the leader of the tribe, is showing savagery because he is now partially naked with his face painted, in which he partakes in the islands to harm the other boys with no remorse. Without Ralph being their Id like leader, they have no one to tell them what is savage or not. This only makes it harder for innocent characters like Ralph, Piggy and Simon to voice their opinions, and ultimately causes Simon and Piggy to be killed.

Furthermore, in cause of Ralph, Piggy and Simon trying to end this savagery, these characters are silenced and ultimately, some of them are brutally murdered. Jack is now arguing with Piggy, voicing that Piggy did not help with the fire being made at the top of the mountain. Simon, being the kind-hearted person he is, tries to defend Piggy by saying he helped by using his specs. “‘I got the conch,’ said Piggy indignantly. ‘You let me speak!’ ‘ The conch doesn’t count on top of the mountain,’ said Jack, ‘so you shut up’” (Golding 42). Through this quote, the demanding and rude actions towards Piggy from Jack, shows the readers that characters who try to make things right are silenced and overshadowed. Since Jack is starting to indulge in his savage nature, Piggy is now a victim of not being able to voice his ideas or opinions. With the characters who try to end savagery being silenced, the island is taking a dark turn towards the evil and savagery of the boys. Thus resulting in not only Simon’s death but also Piggy’s. When visiting Jack and his tribe, Ralph hears a rock before seeing it. The giant rock eventually crushes Piggy while the tribe shrieks. “The rock struck Piggy a glancing blow from chin to knee; the conch exploded into a thousand white fragments and ceased to exist” (Golding 200). In cause of all the distress on the island with the separate groups, Jack’s tribe decides to try, and successfully kill one of their competitors. After Piggy’s death, the island is now in disarray. Not only is Ralph the only sensible one left, but also the only prey to be hunted by Jack and his tribe. This goes to show that the characters who still stayed civil are hunted by those who have made a new distinguishable person and that even if they are doing the right things, savagery and evil still out rule the civil.

In the end, those who act upon their animalistic nature should acknowledge it and prioritize civilization instead of savagery. William Golding successfully demonstrates that one cannot acknowledge the presence of evil if it has overtaken them. The boys have all experienced a loss of civilization and humanity, some just to not recognize who they have turned into. They are scared to face the world for who they really are, thus having a new identity saves them from the savagery and chaos that they have caused.

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The Problem Of Evil Within The Lord Of The Flies. (2022, February 18). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 14, 2024, from
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