Lord of the Flies - Character Analysis

Essay add: 30-09-2015, 19:03   /   Views: 154
In William Golding’s novel, Lord of the Flies, he uses a group of British schoolboys stranded on a tropical island to illustrate the nature of mankind. Lord of the Flies deals with changes that the boys undergo as they gradually adapt to the isolated freedom from society. The four main characters depict different effects under those circumstances. The ordeals of the four boys on the island makes them more aware of the evil inside themselves and, in some cases, makes the false politeness that was in them disappear. However, the changes experienced by one boy differs from those endured by another. The changes to the physical and mental differences between the boys also vary. Therefore, there are four main components to man’s personality.

Ralph starts as a self-assured boy whose confidence in himself comes from the acceptance of the boys. He has a fair nature and is willing to listen to Piggy. He is increasingly dependent on Piggy's wisdom and becomes lost in the confusion around him. He possesses the leadership qualities of man, but does not have the initiative that is needed when being a leader. For example, when Jack says “You shut up, you fat slug,” Ralph does nothing to stop Jack from downsizing Piggy or from hitting him, Ralph does not have the initiative to protect his friend or punish Jack’s wrongdoing. Also, later in the book Jack gives everyone except Piggy meat and Ralph does not say anything to Jack. Towards the end of the story his rejection from Jack’s society of savage boys forces him to fend for himself. Ralph is the only person who truly acknowledges the importance of being responsible, and he takes over as a leader even though he is not necessarily good at it. This sets him apart from the other savage boys and makes it difficult for him to realize and accept the changes they are undergoing.

Piggy is an educated boy who has grown up as an outcast because of his weight. Due to his academic childhood, he is more mature than the others and retains his civilized behavior. But his experiences on the island give him a more realistic understanding of the cruelty possessed by some people. The wisdom that he possesses is obviously greater than that of most of the other kids at his age. Therefore, he possesses the wisdom and intellectual components of man, but is lacking the strength of man. An example of Piggy’s wisdom and intellect is when he is speaking to Ralph saying, “The first thing we ought to have made was shelters down there by the beach.” He is able to think clearly and plan ahead with caution so that even in the freedom of their unregulated world, his wisdom and his isolation from the savage boys keeps him from giving into the evil that had so easily consumed Jack and his followers.
On the other hand, Piggy’s lack of strength is his negative part. He is unable to pick up firewood or go swimming because of his asthma, which truly is not his fault.

Simon is the Christ-figure in the book. He never does anything wrong in the whole novel. He bears the spiritual component of man. He was a part of the choirboys, although he did not join the evil group later when the tribe split. Simon’s negative characteristic is that he is shy and will not speak what is on his mind. For example, he knows that the beast is inside them all and will not say it aloud to them. Simon withdrew himself in the social group because he is afraid of not being accepted by Ralph and the others.

Jack Merridew begins as the arrogant and self-righteous leader of a choir. The freedom of the island allowed him to further develop the darker side of his personality as the Chief of the savage tribe. Jack has good leadership qualities, but he cannot control the evil within him. He gives out demands, and expects the group to answer him. This is what he is used to. Jack is a direct contrast of Ralph. Jack believes that no one else has the right to control him, and he should be in control of everyone. He even states, "I ought to be chief." He has no respect for Piggy, due to his appearance, even though Piggy could be a very useful asset to the group. He takes control of the assemblies because he wants to decide and be in control of what the group does. This is because he is a natural leader, and has never been in a position without control. When Ralph is voted as leader of the group, Jack is very embarrassed because, for the first time in his life, he is not in total control.

In conclusion, Ralph is one of the few boys who realize that the only way to survive is through peace and order. Ralph creates a stable and peaceful society for the children to live. This significantly bothers Jack because he wants to have fun and do things that he never did back in the civilized society. Simon, on the other hand, has the spiritual guidance needed in every man. He tries to guide them but is too shy to speak his mind. Piggy has the intellect and wisdom of man and he actually speaks what is on his mind, unlike Simon. Golding’s perspective of man is darkly pessimistic and creates a balanced image of the person, where no person is fully good or fully evil, but capable of being able to commit acts of either or both.

Article name: Lord of the Flies - Character Analysis essay, research paper, dissertation