Essay, Research Paper
Lord of the Flies and Othello Comparison
The age-old theme of good versus evil is presented in both William Golding s Lord of the Flies (LOTF), and William Shakespeare s Othello. The characters are used to show the battle between the two. Simon and Desdemona who represent purity and embody an innate goodness are challenged by many characters that do not possess the same holy qualities- who have actually subsided to the evil that is, in every way, their opposite. Jack and Iago represent the evil in the novels. Unfortunately in both pieces we see the loss of life for the pure characters through the clutches of evil. The evil does not necessarily win, as both characters maintain their standings as upright and completely pure individuals, even in their brutal murders.
Simon and Desdemona clearly represent all that is good in the world. The characters are portrayed by the authors to be very understanding and compassionate individuals. Desdemona expresses in her language and actions, an innocent, unselfish love and concern for others. This is evident when Desdemona makes pleas on behalf Cassio for Othello s forgiveness, and in her inability to comprehend a woman s desire to cheat. Cassio has asked Desdemona to make a plea to Othello for his return to office. Desdemona, being the compassionate woman that she is asks Othello the first chance she gets,
Good my lord, If I have any grace or power to move you, His present reconciliation take. For if he be not on that truly loves you that errs in ignorance, and not in cunning I have no judgement in an honest face. I prithee call him back. (94-95)
Although this act of good will makes Desdemona appear guilty of an affair with Cassio, it also shows her love and concern for others. After Othello s accusations Desdemona talks to Emilia about adultery. Desdemona asks if there be women do abuse their husbands in such gross kind? And later says, I do not think there is any such woman (142) she cannot comprehend that a woman would do such a thing, let alone commit the crime herself. Simon also shares that same compassion and sense of concern for others. This is demonstrated many times throughout the text but is highlighted by his care for the littluns and Piggy.
They talked, cried out unintelligibly, lugged him towards the trees. Then, amid the roar of bees in the afternoon sunlight, Simon found for them the fruit they could not reach, pulled off the choicest from up in the foliage, passed them back down to the endless, outstretched bands. (57)
In this scene Simon appears to be a savior for the littluns. He is unselfish in his labour to provide everyone with the food they need to survive. Another instance of this occurs when Jack and the hunters return from the hunt with meat for all of the boys, excluding Piggy. Piggy is infuriated with the treatment he is receiving, but is still refused meat from Jack. At this point Simon wiped his mouth and shoved his piece of meat over the rocks to Piggy (78) Through these and other scenes Desdemona and Simon s good nature and concern for others is made obvious.
Iago and Jack are the main characters in the books that use aninnate evil to challenge all characters, especially those that possess an inborn goodness. Honest Iago who is a completely deceitful character is convinced that Nothing can or shall content my soul Till I am evened with him wife for wife. Or failing so, yet I put the Moor at least into jealousy so strong that judgement cannot cure. (76) Iago’s slanderous poisons soon take their effect, and the Moor rages over his wife’s imagined infidelities. After many lies and set-ups Iago has convinced Othello that Desdemona has not been faithful. He advises Othello to Strangle her in her bed, even the bed she hath contaminated (126) His destructive lies have encircled the entire play and end in the murder of Desdemona by the hands of her loving husband.
Jack first appears coming out of the “darkness of the forest.” This image foreshadows the evil role he plays in the story. Jack, who is the leader of hunters, persuades many of the boys to join in the hunt and kill of pigs, and later of Simon. After the first pig is murdered Jack gives out the meat proudly to the all the children, except Piggy. Jack had meant to leave him in doubt, as an assertion of power (78). Right before Simons murder he screams Do our dance! Come on! Dance! (167) Jack insists that everyone join in on the rituals. The children get carried away in the satanic dance and when Simon crawls out of the forest to share his knowledge they kill him. Both Jack and Iago spread their evil and play a major role in the death of the innocent.
Although the murder of both characters is uncalled for and unjust, the authors make it clear that they have not been corrupted by the evil that took their lives. Golding makes a point to carefully detail Simon s burial. The following in an exert from his burial-
The water rose further and dressed Simon s coarse hair with brightness. The line of his cheek silvered and the turn of his shoulder became sculptured marble . Somewhere over the darkened curve of the world the sun and moon were puling . Softly, surrounded by a fringe of inquisitive bright creatures, itself a silver shape beneath the steadfast constellations, Simon s dead body moved out towards the open sea. (Golding 170)
It is a very poetic passage from the text and Golding places such emphasis on it to cement the fact that Simon truly was a virtuous individual, and remains this way in death.
As Desdemona lies in her deathbed she is given one last breath to speak to her nurse. The nurse demands to know who hath done this deed? and Desdemona who has stayed gentle and loving creature replies Nobody- I myself. Farewell. Commend me to my kind lord. O, farewell! Desdemona s true nature is shown in her death. Her ability to forgive the man who stole her life highlights the compassion and understanding this woman had. Both Golding and Shakespeare make it very clear that the evil and corruption that surrounded Desdemona and Simons death do not effect them.
The theme of good versus evil is evident in both LOFT and Othello. Desdemona and Simon who are the pure characters are challenged in life by the immoral characters represented by Jack and Iago. Although the evil prevails in taking their lives it is not victorious in the fight to corrupt the pure.