One of the major themes in William Golding’s Lord of the Flies is that everybody has the potential for both good and evil; it is up to each individual, however, which of these two sides will become dominant. Writers often use literary elements to develop their ideas. This paper will explore how Golding used characterization to develop the aforementioned theme.The characters in Lord of the Flies can be interpreted as almost models basic of human behavior, where Ralph represents civilization and leadership, and Jack represents the savagery within the human soul. Although Ralph is a considered to be our good character, our protagonist also has evil in his heart, as we see in the case of Simon’s death.
Although Ralph is in denial about his participation in the event, we see that he is not completely consumed by savagery. Jack is in many ways Ralph’s opposite. Where Ralph’s basis for leadership is because he wants them all to get off the island, Jack wants it to satisfy his own need for being in command.Children are usually represented as innocent creatures in literature or in other words, considered to be “good”.
We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!
In Lord of the Flies the innocent boys end up committing murder and wreaking havoc on the entire island. If this interpretation is brought into Lord of the Flies, does that mean that the boys’ actions are true to their own savage behavior? Is that also why Ralph, Piggy and Simon, who seem the most mature, are the ones who resist this behaviour?Golding seems to answer these questions by leading on that the boys’ evil actions occur when they abandon their civilized ways and start acting according to their savage instincts, mostly because of the fear Jack puts in them. Ralph makes up new rules, like the rule about having to hold the conch in order to speak in assemblies, and probably expects others to be kept from the society they left, like the rule that you should not kill or steal. Ralph and most of the boys see the importance of these rules because they are enforced so naturally where they came from. In society you must act according to certain rules and laws, and if you break the rules, you are punished. But on the island there are no consequences if you break the rules. In the case of the boys on the island, they lose their sense of what is right and what is wrong when their maturity is put to the test by Jack who uses the fear of innocent children to feed into his lust for power.
Which further proves to us that evil exists in every human but it is up to the human themselves to tap into their good side as we see in Ralph or easily turn into evil savages as we see in Jack and his tribe. As we keep reading this complicated piece of work it seems to me that Golding considers evil to be part of what it is to be human and that an evil streak can be found in us all. Perhaps he is implying that society works as a way to keep our savagery at bay,and that tapping into our good side is how a society should function and if we risk testing out the evil side we get what happens towards the end of the novel. Considering this then it might be even more important to be aware that the characters are all children because they have yet to understand society to see why certain rules and are necessary.Although it is clear that evil lurks within us all Golding allows the reader to be aware that good will always win if we have that civilized order and maturity. Ralph lets us believe in goodness by showing strength and faith in civilization even when he is alone and shrouded in evil.
He lets the reader believe that even when you are surrounded by evil and you feel like you can’t do anything but give in to that strong evil side, that whenever you fight back that evil you will win. If we think about even if these boys had not been stranded on the island, they would still have represented goodness. They would have not been forced to make the same decisions but in the end their goodness would have a way to express itself. It is someone’s personality that makes them either good or evil. Ralph and piggy’s innocence would have still been the same because no matter the situation they would’ve still cared for the younger kids who couldn’t fend for themselves.
Because of this some people will always abuse or take advantage of others. They will mistreat them and cause fear and inflict pain whenever the opportunity presents itself. Society can’t predict who these people will be but the majority of human beings are good as my English teacher once said so laws and social orders are there to keep the few evil from harming the good.
But at times nations are led by people like Stalin or Hitler who use fear to fuel their power. That is why we need novels like Lord of the Flies to remind us that there are people in the world like Jack and Roger but there will always be hope because we will have people like Ralph and Simon as well.Lord of the Flies doesn’t make it easy for the reader to choose the right path.
But, hopefully, by reading about the paths taken by Ralph and Jack, and carefully thinking about the consequences of their choices, we are better equipped to make our own. Golding’s use of characterization was crucial in the development of his main theme; the creative manner in which he portrays his characters certainly positions the reader to better grasp the book’s primary message.