Critical Lens

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  • Topic: Macbeth, William Shakespeare, English-language films
  • Pages : 5 (1944 words )
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  • Published : October 23, 2012
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Kris DiasCritical Lens Essay

“The evil that is in the world almost always comes of ignorance, and good intentions may do as much harm as malevolence if they lack understanding.” - Albert Camus. In the novel Lord of the Flies by William Golding, a group of British schoolboys become stranded on a deserted tropical island after their plane is shot down. Without the rules and structure of civilization the boys quickly descend into savagery. Some of the boys who are led by Ralph, the group’s chosen leader, are peaceful and work together to achieve common goals. The others led by Jack are hunters who act selfishly and indulge in violence. William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, tells the story of Macbeth, a brave Scottish general, who receives a prophecy from a trio of witches that one day he will be the King of Scotland. His ambitious thoughts and influence from his wife spurs him to murder King Duncan and seize the throne. Macbeth becomes a tyrannical ruler and is forced to commit more murders in order to protect himself from suspicion. In literature, evil seems like a good choice and is slightly successful but in the end it is proven to be less than good, possibly even harmful. The idea that evil often triumphs but never conquers in literature is true. This is shown in Golding’s Lord of the Flies and Shakespeare’s Macbeth. In Lord of the Flies, Ralph is chosen the leader and sets the goal of getting rescued using a signal fire to attract ships. Jack is the leader of the hunters and wishes to use authoritarian rule over democratic rule. Jack is ruled over by evil through his selfishness in wanting to hunt and forget about the fire. He hides behind a mask and quickly moves towards complete savagery. He never gets that far since the boys are rescued by a naval officer. In Macbeth, the main character, Macbeth is persuaded by his wife, Lady Macbeth, to murder the king of Scotland so he will take the throne. Lady Macbeth makes Macbeth feel unmanly and cowardly so he will be tempted to follow through with the plan. The evil that has won over Macbeth allows him to be more comfortable with having people murdered. He finds safety and security within the apparitions, but is surprised when he learns that he can be killed and ends up getting murdered. Jack in Golding’s Lord of the Flies and Macbeth in Shakespeare’s Macbeth are two characters that chose to be evil but are never dominated by it. The novel Lord of the Flies by William Golding can be applied to the idea that in any given situation evil will prove that it is powerful and can be successful even though in the end it will actually be weaker than it seems to be. This is true as it can be seen in the decisions that Ralph and Jack and his hunters make. The first literary element which establishes the force of evil is the rising action. At first the group of boys set a fire that gets out of control and ends up burning a quarter-square mile of the forest. Then later in the novel Jack and his hunters take the boys who are supposed to be tending the fire on a hunting trip and while they are gone the fire goes out. The smoke from that fire could have decided the boys’ fate on the island especially if a ship went by while the fire was out. The boys also haven’t been following the rules when it comes to drinking water and using the bathroom. Some of the things that aren’t being done are refilling the coconuts after they are emptied and using the appropriate place as a lavatory. The information provided by the rising action shows that evil seems like a good choice and can be successful even when reality it isn’t. You can see this in how the boys continue to pile wood on the fire so that they can stay warm and feel safe. They thought that doing this was a good idea even though they got carried away and caused destruction to the environment. This is also shown in how the boys begin to follow the rules less and less the longer they remain on the island with no adults. A second literary...
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