The Lord of the Flies


The terms good and evil can be looked upon in many different ways. Most commonly, good is defined as “being positive or desirable in nature” and “having qualities that are desirable or distinguishing in a particular thing.” Evil is defined as “morally bad or wrong.” All humans have good and evil natures. In Lord of the Flies by William Golding, the theme of good vs. evil is very obvious. The characters display the good vs. evil natures of men including a balance character.


There are two characters in Lord of the Flies that symbolize good natures of men. Ralph resembles goodness and organization. The democratic voting that the boys used to pick Ralph as the leader shows the boys wanted organization and Ralph gave it to them. In a place where there were no adults Ralph was the children’s closest sign of an authority figure. He also puts the good of all of the boys before himself. All of the boys understood that the fire needed to stay lit in order to be rescued so when Jack lets the fire go out while he was hunting Ralph put himself on the line by confronting Jack about it. “The two boys faced each other. There was the brilliant world of hunting, tactics, fierce exhilaration, skill; and there was the world of longing and baffled commonsense.” (pg71). Controlled by his good nature and superego he wanted the boys and himself to be rescued and brought back to the modern world. The second good natured character is Piggy. He symbolizes wisdom. He finds the conch and know how to use it but instructs Ralph to use it. He knows that the sound will bring the boys together. Many of the boys didn’t listen to Piggy’s ideas so his valuable wisdom is thrown out. He also resembles a sign of order. Throughout the book he yells, “I got the conch!” He was trying to set universal laws on the island since the conch is the thing that brought the kids together. Near the end of the book Piggy realizes that Jack’s group is dangerous and all of the boys must be reunited. Piggy says to Ralph, “You let me carry the conch, Ralph. I’ll show him the one thing he hasn’t got.” Though his plan doesn’t work and he dies it was still a good, mature idea. Ralph and Piggy symbolize positivity, goodness, hope, maturity, and wisdom, Golding uses them to show that mankind has good natures.


In Lord of the Flies Jack represents the worst of men, evil. He starts out as a fairly innocent boy aside from being rather controlling. After he kills the first pig his innocence is totally gone. He becomes blood thirsty and forgets about the important things like being rescued. He and his hunters find pleasure in the killings of pigs. Jack is also the evil desire for power. He puts forth this power when he kills the pig and then enjoys “memories of the knowledge that had come to them when they closed in on the struggling pig, knowledge that they had outwitted a living thing, imposed their will upon it, and taken away its life like a long satisfying drink” (pg 70). Jack also shows his desire for power through violence like the rituals when they reenact the killings of pigs. True evilness comes out in Jack when Piggy is killed. He has a great amount of control over his followers so anything they did could be linked back to Jack. Not only was Piggy, their wisdom, killed but the conch was shattered, sign that they had abandoned the civil world. Jack took away all ties to order and put himself in the position of a god. In Lord of the Flies Jack is symbolizes the evil natures of men.


Simon is the character of balance; he is the enlightened one, a Jesus figure. Simon stays true to his word and helps build all of the huts until they are completed. When he talks to the Lord of the Flies it can be seen as Simon was talking to god. All of the boys think that Simon is crazy and are a bit afraid of him. Ralph likes him because he works hard but