Once a figure gains control over other people, their mindset can begin to warp and change. Holding an element of control over others can have grave consequences for an individual. Nevertheless, strong leaders will suppress the urges to abuse this power, whilst weaker leaders may succumb to corruption and seek total dominance over others. Characters from the novels Lord of the Flies and Brave New World often witness and experience the overwhelming power held by certain groups, such as the hunters lead by Jack and the City State from the Brave New World.
When given control over a weaker or more vulnerable group of people, potential dangers arise for both the possessor of power and the victim of power. It may manipulate the controller, and increase the lust for power that has already been planted in their mind. Jack from Lord of the Flies demonstrates that as his desire for power grows stronger, he becomes more savage and fierce. Jack’s mind was “crowded with memories; memories of the knowledge that had come to them when they closed in on the struggling pig, knowledge that they had outwitted a living thing.” The killing of the first pig causes Jack to feel immensely powerful, so that from then on he could no longer forget that satisfying sense of superiority. Previously he had decided to hunt for the sake of the group and to help find food for them, though later it becomes clear that he merely wishes to impose his will onto other living beings. The feeling of authority has taken control of both his mind and his actions. Similarly, the City State in Brave New World also takes advantage over the less fortunate citizens. The higher-class believe that they share no similarities to the lower Epsilon and Gamma classes, even though they are all human. The clear divide between the privileged and the damned is evident amongst the people, as they marvel at the thought of “a factory staffed by Alphas – that is to say by separate and unrelated individuals of good heredity and conditioned so as to be capable of making a free choice and assuming responsibilities. Imagine it!” The world controllers hold the power to create all types of humans, and finally use this power to cruelly create the lower class and work them like machines.
These demonstrate how overwhelming control can encourage the powerful to disregard the humanity of others and force their victims to relinquish their free will.
Moreover, the misuse of power can drive individuals to the extremities of murder, leading to irreversible devastation and death. In Lord of the Flies, Jack’s tribes are tainted with Jack’s savagery and mercilessness, symbolized by their wild hunting dance and their chant: “Kill the beast! Cut his throat! Spill his blood!” At the first sign of Simon, who appeared to be the beast, “the crowd surges….with no words, and no movements but the tearing of teeth and claws.” Never did they stop to think what they were truly doing - murdering a fellow friend and destroying the last hint of humanity. Jack’s influence on his followers mercilessly and senselessly decided Simon’s fate. The power of love is another form of control, which ultimately allows Lenina to drive John to his death. Entering a society devoid of the Shakespearean themes of love and philosophy, John succumbs to the temptations of the beautiful Lenina. Although he craves Lenina in love and affection, Lenina sees John as another pleasant way to spend her night. Unable to escape from her spell, he succumbs to his own sexual desires, and Lenina happily complies. This would be normal in the City State, though when John understands what he has done, he hangs himself in regret when he realizes he is no longer ‘free to decide for [himself]’. His death was a result of the fundamental conflict between John’s moral values and the reality of the world he was in.
Nevertheless, the existence of rules can be essential in…