The Emnity Of Man Essay, Research Paper
The Enmity Of Man
In the Lord of the Flies, William Golding reveals, through the characters in his novel, the extent of evil in human nature and the complete dominance that malificence has on this young society of innocent school boys. When an airplane full of english school boys crashes on a remote island, the boys are left alone with the absence of adult guidance and must find ways for survival. The setting seems to be a perfect backdrop for innocence and goodness to flourish. However, Golding opens the reader’s eyes to the extensity of evil in human nature when allowed to run rampant. On the island there is a rigorous battle between good and evil where evil reigns supreme. Golding introduces a startling concept that mankind is virtually evil even among the most innocent. All rule and government are annihilated by complete anarchy. The reader sees how one child, through fear and manipulation, can destroy a whole society.
The protagonist Ralph represents the law-abiding citizen concerned with everyone’s needs and securities. When the boys choose Ralph for chief, he tries to set up some kind of order among the island. His chief mission is to be rescued, and in order to do this the signal fire must stay lit. Ralph receives most of his sense from Piggy, whose wisdom is most often shrouded because of his unpopularity with the other boys. In some ways, Ralph is the voice of Piggy. Ralph and Piggy represent the adult and humane influence on the island. This strong voice of sense and order creates an inclement struggle against the evil of the boys.
The antagonist of the novel, Jack is the mastery of evil who eventually leads the boys to savagery. Jack has many insecurities which he overcomes by carrying on the phisod of a leader. Jack and his group of choir boys are immediately described as the darker side. When the boys first arrive on the beach Golding writes, “Within the diamond haze of the beach something dark was fumbling along. Then the creature stepped from mirage on to clear sand, and they saw that the creature was a party of boys…”(19) Immediately, they are described as “the creature” which is in a way of foreshadowing for what the boys will become.
Jack holds a strong lust for power which is foreseen from the beginning. He covetizes Ralph’s position as the chief which creates fierce opposition of leadership. Jack lacks sense but demands control. Jack’s fierce disliking of Piggy is mainly because Piggy is the epitome of logic and adult perspective which Jack detests. With this strong desire to control, Jack turns away from all rules and standards set on the island. Therefore, it is verbally ironic when Jack says,”We’ve got to have rules and obey them. After all we’re not savages.”(42)
It is even more so because in the end, that is exactly what they become.
Jack is able to subjugate rule on the island because of his ability to manipulate the fears and insecurities of the others. While Ralph’s primary motive is to be rescued, Jack’s motive is to control. The creation of the beast on the island helps Jack gain influence. He is known as the chief hunter and he is able to provide a sort of false security for the littleuns and for the older ones as well. The idea of a beast from the outside is simply a fear of something unknown. As the novel unfolds, the reader finds that their trepidation is really fear of themselves. One sees this in the novel when Simon, who possesses preternatural powers, talks to the obscene idol, named Lord of the Flies, that Jack and his other hunters surmounted on the mountain. The Lord of the Flies is really the beast of malevolence within the boys. It says to Simon, “Fancy thinking the beast was something you could hunt and kill! You know didn’t you? I’m part of you.? Close, Close, Close! I’m the reason why it’s no go? Why things aren’t what they are?”(143) Civility can never preside on the island because of the extreme diabolism dominating.
Signs of evil are also shown through the symbols that William Golding illustrates in the novel. The face paint that the boys coat themselves with is really a shield from innocence. With this disguise, the boys can ignore the rules from the outside world and give way to the internal savage in each of them. With the face paint, the cruelty and inhumanity is unleashed. Golding writes, “He was safe from shame and self-consciousness behind the mask of his paint and could look at each of them in turn.”(140) Another symbol Golding uses is fire. In one way fire was symbolized security and a connection to the outside world. The signal fire was the strongest link to civilization on the island. Since Jack was leader of incivility and misrule, he used fire as a destructive tool. First, he used fire to cook meat from the hunt. Afterwards, fire was used to destroy all order left on the island. Golding vividly describes the fire’s enormity. “The flames, as though they were a kind of wild life, crept as a jaguar creeps on its belly toward a line of birch-like saplings that fledged an outcrop of the pink rock.”(44) The fire was a symbol of the destruction of the innocent.
The society that Ralph establishes is ultimately destroyed by the overwhelming evil bestowed in the boys. Golding proves that without reason, mankind is measured by the strength of evil. Jack proved most ambitious and also possessed intelligence without sense . He was able to manipulate, deceive, and transform the island into savagery and chaos. The good in humanity seems lost in the end as one sees the loss of Simon and then Piggy. Ralph remains alive but in many ways has been broken by the shadows of man. Golding closes the novel with the protagonist, Ralph weeping for once was. He is unable to go back to what he once knew. “And in the middle of them, with filthy body, matted hair, and unwiped nose, Ralph wept for the end of innocence, the darkness of a man’s heart, and the fall through the air of the true, wise friend called Piggy.”(202)