Evil Essay, Research Paper
The debate over man being inherently good or evil is a debate which has raged since the beginning of time. Rousseau and William Golding do not shy away from taking a stance on the subject. But while Rousseau believes “nothing can be more gentle than man in his primitive state,” Golding’s believes quite the opposite. In his novel, The Lord of the Flies, Golding attempts to prove his hypothesis by showing the behavior of a group of boys stranded on an island.
Golding’s characters allow their true human nature to show through while being stranded on the island. After some time of isolation, the boys lose the remnants of the rules they carried from their old way of life. They are reduced to the primitive state Rousseau claims is so gentle. But for the boys, that primitive state is not gentle at all. When the primitive, unguarded aspect of man comes out, Golding says that this is what happens. “The beast struggled forward, broke the ring and fell over the steep edge of the rock to the sand by the water. At once the crowd urged after it, poured down the rock, leapt on to the beast, screamed, struck, bit, tore. There were no words, and no movements but the tearing of teeth and claws.”
Golding takes the viewpoint that unmasked human behavior is destructive, chaotic and violent. Human nature is not gentle, but rather a beast which comes out to destroy all the order and civility in life. Jack and his band of savages did not care for order, but rather for having fun and making random violence. They did not realize the only thing that could save them was some time of order or system. Even the boy who longed for the order of his former life could not resist occasionally being caught up in the orgies of violence because, as Golding states, the urge for chaos is a part of human nature.
Golding and Rousseau differ on their viewpoints on the natural inclination of man. Golding’s novel demonstrates his idea that man in his primitive form is a violent savage. Through the actions of all the boys, Golding clearly shows his belief in man’s inclination towards evil.