Giordano Bruno Vs. Piggy Essay, Research Paper
Piggy & Giordano Bruno
From the dawn of humanity, to the eras of medieval and renaissance, all the way our
current modern society, and even to the yet to be experiences distant future humanity has always
had problems with one natural event…change. In late 16th century, there was an Italian
philosopher by the name of Giordano Bruno who was trying to bring about change in his time?s
thinking and beliefs, but naturally, society conflicted what Bruno had to say and would eventually
even kill Bruno for his views. It still affects us in our current times as written in the classic work
?Lord of the Flies?. Lord of the Flies, written by William Golding in 1954, contains a character
named Piggy who tried to bring about change in boys he was stranded with on an island.
Unfortunately, no one would really listen to Piggy. Eventually, he would pay the ultimate price
with his life while trying to bring common sense into their secluded island world. Throughout our
human history we have often demonstrated three reasons why new ideas and change are often
halted. Firstly, our belief that who we are and what we know is superior to that which someone
else believes or says. Secondly, as a society, whether as a singular person or collective as a group,
we do whatever it takes for our own views and beliefs to be kept alive, and finally, because of all
this, the people who offer controversial concepts often suffer controversial consequences. Both
Piggy and Bruno are perfect examples of how we as a society have an innate inability to consider
new and different concepts opposing it?s own and will do anything to protect itself from these
Piggy?s constant attempts to be heard and considered and the suppression of Giordano
Bruno?s unique thoughts both exemplify how we as a society try to suppress those which are
different than us, thus making ourselves feel superior. The conch shell made Piggy think he could
speak and be heard, but not everyone listened to him and even fewer considered his ideas, whereas
Bruno succumb to the same fate and was constantly suppressed for his outlandish ideas. In Bruno
and Piggy?s suppressions, its possible to deduce that society whether as a single person or group
has a tendency to place itself and what it knows above others, proving the idea or our innate
? ? I?m chief,? said Ralph tremulously. ?And what about the fire? And
I?ve got the conch–?
? ?You haven?t got it with you,? said Jack, sneering. ?You left it
behind. See, clever? And the conch doesn?t count at this end of the island–?
All at once the thunder struck. Instead of the dull boom there was a
point of impact in the explosion.
? ?The conch counts here too, ? said Ralph, ?and all over the island.?1
This argument between Ralph and Jack displays how Ralph believes the conch shell gives him the
power that whatever he says is right. But on the other side Jack doesn?t listen to Ralph because he
is the leader of his own tribe thus believing what he says is always right. Although this is an
excerpt from a Lord of the Flies, a novel, Golding displayed reality through story and it displays
how we as a society often force our opinions and ideas upon others if we have some sort of
authority over them. This controversy does not directly involve Piggy but it relates to him in that
he used the conch often so that his views and ideas could be heard. Feeling the conch gave him the
right to speak, Piggy usually had ideas which would benefit all the boys and not just himself, but
after the separation of boys, no one would really listen to him. Many of the boys thought what
they were doing was the best for them and Piggy was trying to impose what he thought would help
improve the boys lives on the island. Although Piggy was being heard for his ideas he was not
always considered with Ralph and Jack did as they saw fit.
?It was not long before the monks of Saint Dominico began to learn
something about the extraordinary enthusiasm of their young colleague. He was
frank, outspoken, and lacking in reticence. It was not long before he got himself
into trouble. It was evident that this boy could not be made to fit into Dominican
grooves. One of the first things that a student has to learn is to give the teacher
the answers that the teacher wants. The average teacher is the preserver of the
ancient landmarks. The students are his audience. They applaud but they must
not innovate. They must learn to labor and to wait. It was not Bruno’s behavior
but his opinions that got him into trouble.?2
This dictation of Bruno?s early school life portrays how even throughout his youth, Bruno was
quite controversial and confrontational by nature. Although he was proposing new ideas that were
different than what was pre-conceived, Bruno?s teachers believed in what they already thought they
and what the rest of the word thought was above and superior to what he was saying. Bruno?s
teachers were unwilling to even listen to Bruno and his ideas, thus displaying how society relies on
what it knows or thinks it knows, without even considering other options at the time. Once again,
another example of how many people in authority do not listen to their underlings, thinking of
superiority to inferiority.
Giordano Bruno in his work ?De La Causa, Principio, et Uno?, (On Cause, Principle, and
Unity), displays how we humans now know that the Earth is not the centre of the universe, but
whenever we look upon the universe we place ourselves as the central axis as its observer.
“Everywhere there is incessant relative change in position throughout the universe, and the observer
is always at the center of things,?3 this quote from this work is how Bruno backed Copernicus?s
heliocentric model of the universe where the sun is the centre. Bruno takes it one step farther to
make a statement about how we as humans place ourselves as the centre of whatever we do,
regardless if we know we are not or we do not. Although in our modern society we know we are
not the centre of the universe, often we still place ourselves above others, and Bruno?s view of the
observer being in the centre of all things will probably hold true for a very long time.
Within Piggy?s use of the conch shell and Jack?s/Ralph?s non-consideration of some of his
ideas, to Bruno?s teacher?s stubbornness of even listening to Bruno?s thoughts, it is easy to
recognize that who we are and what we think as individuals or a group will always come before the
views and thoughts of others, no matter how valid they are.
Self-preservation is when one will do anything to keep itself alive. Whether it be
protecting his life or his ideals, we will do just about anything to maintain them. Piggy and Bruno,
through their trying to change others, met face to face with these innate defense barriers within
ourselves. For Piggy, he faced this in his opposition of what Jack?s tribe was doing on the other
side of the island. So to keep doing what they wanted to do without distraction from Piggy?s
comments, eventually, killed Piggy with the crashing boulder. ?High overhead, Roger, with a sense
of delirious abandonment, leaned all his weight on the lever,?4 this short quote happens right before
Piggy is killed by the falling boulder pushed by Roger. This relates to the main point in that Roger
is probably doing what he thinks Jack would want him to do. Piggy always tried to speak of how
things should be done and what is needed to do, and that often contradicted what Jack and his tribe
thought. By Jack?s tribe killing Piggy, they keep alive their own views on that hunting and having
fun is their main priority on the island, not being civil and reasonable.
As for Bruno, he was imprisoned for years to try to get him to retract his ideas so that the
Church would not be threatened by them. The Church tried for years and when Bruno eventually
did recant his words, they still burned him at the stake of the Church inquisition. In both Bruno
and Piggy, you see how either a single person (Roger), or a collective group (the Church) will do
anything for self-preservation of themselves and their ideas.
?Wherever he went, Bruno’s passionate utterings led to opposition.
During his English period he outraged the Oxford faculty in a lecture at the
university; upon his return to France, in 1585, he got into a violent quarrel
about a scientific instrument. He fled Paris for Germany in 1586, where he lived
in Wittenberg, Prague, Helmstedt, and Frankfurt. As he had in France and
England, he lived off the munificence of patrons, whom after some time he
This recap of a period in Bruno?s life is about how he often went to a place, caused turmoil by
proposing and spreading his views, then flees for fear of his own safety from the controversy he
causes. Bruno may have intentionally caused controversy and turmoil but people would not even
consider his different concepts. His opposing ideas were always the subject to arguments and
people trying to shoot them down because what they believed was what they thought was right and
would not allow someone else to change that. The main thing is that they would not give Bruno?s
ideals a chance at all, and this portrays how we too often not listen to other because of differences
?Before the Venetian Inquisition Bruno knelt, recanted fully, and denied
all his theological and cosmological beliefs. He saw nothing wrong with this
dissimulation, nor was there anything wrong with it: why allow yourself to be
murdered by the vicious machinations of an insane system, if by a simple gesture
you could escape and live to fight another day??6
Through this quote of Bruno?s actions, Bruno eventually repented for his heretical ideas. How
even when Bruno dropped his heretical views and ideas, (although it was just for his own survival),
the people still ended up burning Bruno at the stake shows how even though they got what they
wanted, which was Bruno to stop his views, they feared his ideas had already been spread and
without killing him that his opposing opinions would get even stronger.
In both Piggy and Bruno?s untimely deaths, society shows how we don?t like change from
what we know. If what another says offends us or our beliefs in anyway we tend to try to protect
ourselves by blocking ourselves from this person and their thoughts, to even in some extreme cases,
such as Bruno and Piggy, murder those who are conflicting to us.
Both Bruno and Piggy were controversial in their own rights, and they both paid with their
lives for their ideas and opinions. In their deaths as well as many deaths of controversial figures
throughout history, you often see they suffer controversial consequences such as death or
imprisonment. In the controversial consequences, we find how society will often punish those who
try to change general ideas although there are better ways of handling these situations.
?The rock struck Piggy a glancing blow from chin to knee; the conch
exploded into a thousand white fragments and ceased to exist. Piggy, saying
nothing, with no time even for a grunt, traveled through the air sideways from
the rock, turning over as he went.?7
In this excerpt from the Lord of the Flies, Piggy gets crushed from the boulder pushed by Roger
while trying to restore order between Jack and Ralph?s fighting. This is a cruel fate for Piggy who
deserved better than to die from a crashing boulder. Piggy was the only one who brought scientific
reason and logic to the boys thinking, but they never listened to him or always wanted to joke about
him. He always expressed good, solid ideas and thoughts but often was shot down because some
of the boys not liking him. In their killing of Piggy, Jack?s tribe shows how a person who was
problematic to their society is often handled. In society we believe in rooting out the source and
Piggy was the source so therefore he was killed.
“His unbending integrity and lack of compromise resulted in him being
hounded throughout Europe by the Church, and he lived a life on the road as
wandering scholar, writer, and teacher. Eventually they caught up with him,
placed him into prison for eight years, and ordered him to recant the heretical
passages of his works. He would not cooperate or change his views. They
tortured him, still he would not recant. Finally, on February 17th, 1600, he was
taken out into the Campo dei Fiori in Rome, and burned alive at the stake as an
?He suffered a cruel death and achieved a unique martyr’s fame. He has
become the Church’s most difficult alibi. She can explain away the case of
Galileo with suave condescension. Bruno sticks in her throat.
He is one martyr whose name should lead all the rest. He was not a
mere religious sectarian who was caught up in the psychology of some mob
hysteria. He was a sensitive, imaginative poet, fired with the enthusiasm of a
larger vision of a larger universe … and he fell into the error of heretical belief.
For this poets vision he was kept in a dark dungeon for eight years and then
taken out to a blazing market place and roasted to death by fire.?9
In these two quotes, we learn of the fate of Giordano Bruno. The first quote demonstrates how
Giordano Bruno suffered at the hands of the Church and dies at the hands of the Inquisition for not
relenting from his own thoughts which were controversial for his time. In the second, is an opinion
of John Kessler, who wrote a biography on Giordano Bruno. His view that Bruno, although
described as a ?heretic? had solid ideas and points but was just disregarded because he was
attacking the foundations of establishments like the Church and the notion of a celestial being or
God. Had Bruno been more political like Galileo was after Bruno?s death, he might not have been
though of as a threat to the Church but that is not what happened and he was instead martyred for
his beliefs varying from what was generally thought and accepted.
Controversy surrounds those who propose new ideas and views, as well as danger. Bruno
and Piggy?s deaths display this example quite well in their confrontational natures, as well as
society?s quick final actions. From boys to society, we act the same and will solve problems as
fast as we can, often needing the source to be stopped, and in this case the sources were Bruno and
In our quest to find comfort and stability in life, we often find things that try to change our
lifestyles are things we don?t adjust well to. During Bruno?s life, he was often forced into fleeing
for safety of his own life, and Piggy was often scolded by the other boys. Eventually, the two were
persecuted and killed for what they said and believed. In Bruno and Piggy we find martyrs in their
own right who were just trying to change ideas and thoughts, regardless of whether they were right
or wrong, they have the right to do so. Both Piggy and Bruno died for similar reasons, but our
society?s innate inability to consider new and different concepts opposing it?s own, caused
extreme and controversial consequences where both were killed. Unless we can change
our acceptance of others and their ideas and thoughts, our progression as an entire human
race will falter and may even stop if we continue things such as racism, discrimination, and
abuse of power.
of Works Cited /Bibliography of Works Consulted
Bruno, Giordano. De La Causa, Principio, et Uno
Golding, William. Lord Of The Flies, 1954
Harrison, Paul. Giordano Bruno – pantheist martyr.
Kessler, John. Giordano Bruno: The Forgotten Philosopher
Van Helden, Albert. Giordano Bruno: (1548-1600), 1995.
No author (http://cadre.sjsu.edu/switch/sound/articles/wendt/folder6/ng6212.htm)
Giordano Bruno (1548-1600), 1996.
*Note: All Works Cited were also all works consulted.