Lord of the Flies. PLEASE check my essay and give feedback.

Badges: 3
Report Thread starter 5 years ago
How does Golding present the duality between good and evil in ‘Lord of the Flies?’
William Golding’s emblematic novel ‘Lord of the Flies’ captures the trajectory of a group of English schoolboys, who fail to attempt to recreate the culture they left behind and reason to the savage survivalism of primeval hunters as the’ desire to squeeze and hurt was over-mastering." Golding exemplifies the dichotomy of good and evil throughout the novel through moments of conflict such as the external conflict with one another and the internal conflict within themselves.
The duality between good and evil is externally dramatized through the rivalry between the antithetical characters, Ralph and Jack. The first signs of conflict in the novel are exhibited when Jack proclaims ‘I want meat’ whilst Ralph responds with ‘we want shelters’. ‘Meat’ and ’shelters’ acting as binary oppositions, highlight their opposing priorities. ‘Meat’ symbolises the primitive urges Jack is experiencing which is furthered through Golding’s zoomorphic verbs ‘track down’ and ‘kill’ which expose him as gaining qualities of an animal; he wants to hunt, not for the ostensible purpose of gaining food to eat but for his own gratification. According to Freud, his carnal desires advocate how he embodies the ‘Id’ of human nature. Whereas, ‘shelters’ represent civilization, and security; Ralph is trying to "build" an island civilization and is focused on the group's welfare. This clear rivalry and contrast is furthered by the conflicting pronouns , ‘I’ and ‘we’, indicating Jack’s egotistic, despotic ideas of leadership and Ralph’s democratic, civilised nature. Moreover, the external conflict between the protagonist and antagonist is heightened by ‘rub of feeling’, and the verb ‘rub’ captures the sense of friction between them and the fact they are ‘rub’ each other up the wrong way. Golding defines the two characters as: ‘two continents of experience and feeling’ and their metaphorical comparison to ‘continents’ may suggest their contrasting temperaments but can also be interpreted as a political allegory of the Cold War where there was a lack of understanding between the two superpowers which, in this case, helps elaborate their conflicted relationship. Therefore, Golding highlights the ideological contrast between Ralph and the Jack to establish the external struggle for power.
Golding also captures the internal struggle between good and evil through Simon’s confrontation with the Lord of the Flies. Golding describes the ‘flies’ that give the name of ‘Lord of the Flies, as having ‘found Simon’ , suggesting he himself also has power over the flies, and in doing so also becomes the Lord of the Flies. This is furthered by ‘his gaze was held by that ancient, inescapable recognition” since Simon can flee or “escape” anything except himself since the devil, symbolised by the ‘lord of the flies’ is not an external force but rather, it is a more nefarious evil, remaining within Simon himself; Golding hence drives the point that the instinctual evil within man is ‘inescapable’. Moreover, the creature’s grotesque language and bizarre appropriation of the boys’ slang ,“I’m the reason why it’s no go”, makes the creature appear even more hideous and devilish, for he taunts Simon with the same colloquial, familiar language the boys use themselves. His internal fear and savagery threatens his conscience to remain silent about his understanding of what the ‘beastie’ is, by saying,‘ Or else. We shall do you’. The pivotal phrase which marks the ultimatum of his internal conflict ‘or else’ captures the foreboding tone as his inner fear states the alternative consequences; the euphemism ‘we shall do you’ mocks the juvenile, childish guilt and trepidation to face the idea of murder furthering how the ‘beast’ is in fact the externalisation of all the boys’ inner fears. Nevertheless, this indeed foreshadows the imminent murder of Simon. At the moment he faints, Simon is shown as being engulfed by the disease of evil which is the ‘blackness that spread’ in the ‘mouth’ of his vision which signifies his new connection with the Beast. Using the semantic field of darkness, Golding is metaphorically comparing it to the ‘darkness of man’s heart’ which brings about the fear and savagery on the island and Simon will indeed be devoured by the residing internal ‘blackness’ of the boys. The internal conflict is therefore between the goodness of his conscience and the innate, internal evil Golding stresses through the novel as Simon struggles for the truth and what is right.
Simon’s death epitomizes the battle between good and evil where savagery is presented as triumphing. The stimulus for the murder is triggered by the triadic, patterned chants ‘kill the beast. Cut his throat. Spill his blood’, and this coupled with Jack’s image as an ‘idol’, strongly evoke the animistic religious traditions of native cultures and the boys' rejection of the civilization of the Home Counties. The sense of protection in the repetitive chanting allows the boys to feel as though they are relieved of all responsibility; this loss of existentialism expresses Golding’s understanding of crowd mentality. To further the loss of civilisation and the prevailing nature of evil in this conflict, Ralph and Piggy are shown as ‘eager to take place in this demented…society ‘capturing the two most civilised characters as succumbing to the primal instincts within all humans by indulging their inner violent and childish interests. Golding depicts Simon’s murder, through ‘there was the throb and stamp of a single organism’ and the use of onomatopoeic terms helps intensify the violence of the boy’s movements, corroborating the defeat of goodness. The transformation into a ‘single’ creature emphasises the lack of individuality and conscience which permits them to commit violent acts and gives them an opportunity to escape their own humanity. Furthermore, through "There were no words, and no movements but the tearing of teeth and claws." Golding highlights the dominance of the savagery by using the zoomorphic terms "teeth and claws”, which represent their primitive use of physical attributes or features as weapons. Savagery is also connected with a lack of verbal communication; language separates humanity most dramatically from the lower forms of creatures, reinforcing Simon’s goodness as the innocent prey that is devoured by their predatory actions caused by the evil. Overall, the murder represents the culmination of the boy’s violent tendencies who finally move from brutality against animals to brutality against each other; in this conflict, evil has not only suppressed the goodness which embodied by Simon but , the remaining incorruptibility within themselves.
The final duality between good and evil is established in the apocalyptic denouement of ‘Lord of the Flies’. Seeing that ‘Roger sharpened the stick at both ends’ , the tribe plans to hunt Ralph, the remaining symbol of civilization, like a pig and stake his head as an offering to the beast, exhibiting their descent into paganism and the urge for the complete victory of evil. Nevertheless, the spear simultaneously points at the one who wields it and the one at whom it is directed; it is capable of harming both equally and thus Golding alerts the reader to the counterproductive consequences of vengeance and conflict. This self –destruction is confirmed by the fact they ‘set the island on fire’ and this ‘fire’ which was formerly a symbol of civilization and survival, is now a tool for obliteration, denoting the dominant nature of savagery. The resolution is marked by the deus ex machina who appears in the form of a ‘naval officer’, who ‘saw’ the ‘smoke’ which is ironic since the appalling savagery brings about the rescue that their coordinated and purposeful efforts were unable to achieve and through Golding’s use of irony , he perhaps suggests the overshadowing forces of good through the collapse of Jack’s plan. Nevertheless, the patterning in ‘I’m, I’m..”when Percival hesitantly attempts to recall his name, represents the permanent emotional damage that the boys have inflicted on themselves and that they are no longer accustomed to the society from which they came. Despite, Ralph , the only one with remaining virtues of civilisation, survives, which may show evil has not completely triumphed, to further this emotional damage he ‘wept for the end of innocence’. He realises their descent from pre-lapsarian innocence and the inherent violence in humanity . Therefore, despite being rescued from self-destruction, poetic justice is not achieved as Golding suggests evil will triumph over the good, unless some force intercedes and in the final moral dualism, that force is much too late to save morality.
Overall, Golding presents the conflict between the two opposing forces of good and evil through: the external dualism between Ralph and Jack, Simon’s internal conflict, the murder of Simon and the resolution of the novel. Yet, seeing that the consequences of savagery, not civilization, are what saved the children, Golding blurs the boundary between civilization and savagery, implying that the two are more closely connected and that perhaps good and evil are less unlike than we believe; This makes the reader question the existence of the dichotomy of ‘good and evil’, distorting the idea that such conflicts between two force, that are no longer binary opposites, are necessary.

Quick Reply

Attached files
Write a reply...
new posts
to top
My Feed

See more of what you like on
The Student Room

You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.


Do you think receiving Teacher Assessed Grades will impact your future?

I'm worried it will negatively impact me getting into university/college (127)
I'm worried that I’m not academically prepared for the next stage in my educational journey (34)
I'm worried it will impact my future career (25)
I'm worried that my grades will be seen as ‘lesser’ because I didn’t take exams (67)
I don’t think that receiving these grades will impact my future (33)
I think that receiving these grades will affect me in another way (let us know in the discussion!) (19)

Watched Threads

View All