Character as Symbols in LOTF Essay

Submitted By ryanahn94
Words: 917
Pages: 4

Symbolic Characters in ‘The Lord of the Flies’ The book, The Lord of the Flies, is the first book by Nobel-prize winning English author William Golding about a group of boys that are stranded on an uninhabited island who try to govern themselves with disastrous results. The novel is essentially based around the idea of human nature and the loss of innocence using a great deal of symbolic ideas and characters. Among these characters are Ralph, Jack, Simon, and Piggy who all represent a certain role in society today. Each character plays a significant semblance in the book, and also a large part of civilization. Ralph is the athletic and charismatic protagonist in The Lord of the Flies. Elected leader of the group of stranded boys at the beginning of the novel, Ralph is the primary representative order, civilization, and productive leadership in the story. While most of the other boys are worried about having fun and avoiding work, Ralph is the individual that builds shelter and tries to maximize their chances of survival. However, as the group naturally succumbs to savage instincts, Ralph’s power as leader abruptly diminishes as Jack takes authority. Ralph’s calm and thoughtful mind process demonstrates his ability and representation of becoming the symbol of order. Although, Ralph is still a child at 12 years old and any adult would realize that such a person cannot properly run a ‘community’ such as the group of boys. But, Ralph’s resourceful and coordinated way of governing the group of boys would have been adequate to be rescued. The strong-willed, egomaniacal Jack is the novel’s representative of the instinct of savagery, violence, and the desire for power. From the beginning of the novel, Jack strived to be the leader of the boys. When that was no longer an option, he made himself second in power by appointing himself as the chief hunter. Since he was furious about not being elected chief, he continually pushed the boundaries of his subordinate role. The first time Jack encounters a pig, he cannot bring himself to end the poor animal’s life. After that, he soon becomes obsessed with hunting and devotes himself to the task, painting his face like a barbarian and giving himself over to bloodlust. By the end of the novel, Jack has found that he can use the boys’ fear of the beast to control their behavior. Just as Jack, many people and countries have the desire to be the best; to run the world. They have a passion and they yearn for power over others, giving Jack the symbol of the desire for dominance. Whereas Ralph and Jack stand at opposite sides of the spectrum between savagery and civilization, Simon stands on a completely different plane. Simon embodies a kind of innate, spiritual human goodness that is deeply connected with nature, where he also represents the innocence and goodness of humans. In Golding’s view, the human impulse toward civilization is not as deeply rooted as the human impulse toward savagery. Unlike all the other boys on the island, Simon acts morally not out of guilt or shame but because he believes in the inherent value of morality. He behaves kindly toward the younger children, and he is the first to realize the problem posed by the beast and the Lord of the Flies—that is, that the monster on the island is not a real, physical beast but rather a savagery that lurks within each human being. We later learn that Simon was right; the thought of the beast was just the inner-savagery inside of every human. He