Lord of the Flies Essay

Topics: Number of the Beast, English-language films Pages: 6 (1955 words) Published: December 31, 2013
Why does evil prevail over good?
Lord of the Flies explores the struggle between positive and negative forces within all mankind. It can be interpreted as a criticism of modern society, which sets its foundation in positive initiatives and expects favorable results. Unlike the peaceful state speculated, however, human history has experienced periods of violence and disorder. In Lord of the Flies, this is shown to be the natural direction of mankind, in which evil vanquishes all good intentions. All frameworks of society are therefore largely flawed as it disregards the stronger, dominating side of human nature. But what factors account for this natural phenomena? Through a synthesis of the novel’s characters and symbols, it can be concluded that evil skillfully eats away at positive consciences from within, attacking the weaknesses of resisting forces.

Mankind’s Essential Illness
The most alarming element of the Beast is it’s residence in a man’s heart. All along, the boys have fabricated images of evil. From a snake to the parachute figure to Simon, anything unfamiliar that hinted danger was deemed the Beast and several attempts have been made to physically defeat it. At the culmination of the novel, Simon reaches the revelation of “mankind’s essential illness” (89). “Fancy thinking the Beast was something you could hunt and kill!” said the Lord of the Flies. “You knew, didn’t you? I’m part of you? Close, close, close!’” (143). After confronting the evil within himself, Simon came to understand evil’s ultimate secret. He recognized the beast not as a physical entity, as the boys’ misinterpreted it to be, but as a quality all humans possess. Piggy also comes close to this realization. “I know there isn't no beast—not with claws and all that,” he said, “but I know there isn't no fear either. Unless we get frightened of people” (84). In this statement, Piggy essentially expresses that the Beast only exists if they are “frightened of people”, therefore associating it to man.

As there is no escaping, hiding from, or defeating it, the beast obtains strength and power. Furthermore, it’s true nature is hard to uncover, lying deep at a man’s core where most are too afraid to reach into. Fear causes evil’s residence to remain unknown, which cultivates more fear of the unknown. Everyone is afraid of the Beast, and that fear controls their actions. Even as Jack’s control over the boys strengthened towards the end of the book, he still recognized the higher power of the Beast. “The beast is a hunter” he said, “we couldn't kill it” (126). Additionally, Jack laid much emphasis on offering the sow’s head as “a gift for the Beast”, sacrificing courage, ego, sanity, and literally food for the protection of and from it. Ralph also admits their fear. "I don't think we'd fight a thing that size,” he said, “We'd talk but we wouldn't fight a tiger. We'd hide. Even Jack u’d hide.”

Flawed Counteracting Forces
In this naturally corrupt world, the positive forces at work have a weaker stance in society compared to that of the Beast. Ralph, Piggy, and Simon serve as personas of these human qualities that control or combat evil. Unfortunately, each of their unique approaches have imperfections that are taken advantage of mercilessly by their enemy. Therefore, despite the mindfulness that exists, positive forces ultimately fail to triumph over evil.

Law and Order
To start off, Ralph’s voice of law and order is not effective for extended periods of time. His attractiveness symbolizes the desire for the organized structure to operate from associated with adulthood. Evil uses temptation to gradually overpower this desire until it can no longer withhold more primitive, animalistic instincts. Attempting to control evil from Ralph’s perspective is hindered by the diligence it requires. The moral integrity Ralph demonstrates is hard to stick to and eventually fades from most individuals. “We can’t keep one fire going. And they...
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