Lord of the Flies/Shutter Island Antagonist Comparison

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ENG3U1-01

7 May 2012

Comparison of Antagonists in Lord of the Flies and Shutter Island As a social human, it is impossible not to write a distasteful person off as an enemy. Every little thing they do seems to be laced with bad intentions. The novel Lord of the Flies written by William Golding, and the film Shutter Island directed by Martin Scorsese are both texts that contain antagonist characters with unique and similar qualities. An antagonistic character is usually written to be driven by blind hate, but in these stories they have far more complex thought processes. Jack from Lord of the Flies and Dr. Cawley from Shutter Island are not evil, but are driven to cruel actions by power and circumstance. Both antagonists are comparable by means of their need for control, their relationship with the protagonists, and their attitudes towards death. The goals of the antagonists on the island are vastly different, but they both seem to have a taste for control. Firstly, Jack Merridew is obsessed with being leader for the group of boys, because he is been used to being given leadership roles for seemingly no reason This is expressed when he insists on being chief based on irrelevant reasoning; “‘I ought to be chief,’ said Jack with simple arrogance, ‘because I’m chapter chorister and head boy. I can sing C sharp.’” (Golding 19). It already becomes painfully obvious that Jack demands the attention of the boys because he needs to feel in control. This is part of his persona that could easily fit him into the mould of most antagonistic characters. When Jack starts to lose the boys’ attention, he reverts his strategy to say what they want to hear; “We’ve got to decide about being rescued.”(Golding 19), which attributes to his characteristics as a leader; meeting the immediate needs of his society. Later in the novel when Jack can’t get anyone to vote Ralph an improper chief, storms off saying, “I’m going off to hunt by myself. He can catch his own pigs. Anyone



Cited: Shutter Island. DVD. Martin Scorsese. Paramount Pictures. 2010. William Golding. Lord of the Flies. London: Faber and Faber, 1954.

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