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Man’s Inherent Evil in The Lord of The Flies by William Golding

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According to William Golding, “Man produces evil as a bee produces honey”. This quote encompasses one of the major themes of Lord of the Flies, man’s innate capacity for immorality and savagery. Throughout the novel Golding utilizes symbolism as well as the obstacles Ralph faces to identify his responsibility to protect his peers’ wellbeing, and civil nature. To discuss this, the theme of man’s inherent evil in Lord of the Flies is analyzed in this essay.

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From the beginning of the novel one major theme is presented, that man will always be inherently evil in nature. Ralph is the main deterrent to this savagery representing civility and order, whereas Jack, the antagonist, represents evil and uncontrolled brutality. Ralph immediately displays the ideas of civilization by becoming chief and delegating roles to individuals. “Seems to me we ought to have a chief to decide things.”…“Jack’s in charge of the choir. They can be — what do you want them to be?’ ‘Hunters”. This first decision by Jack to make the choir a group of hunters shows the difference in ideals between him and Ralph. Hunting implies the death and bloodshed which eventually leads to the creation of an insatiable bloodlust in the boys who participate. The boys then start to become invested in a being called “The Beast”.

The beast is a figment of the boy’s imagination, things that they think they see in the night. Jack sees the beast as a giant ape, and some of the other boys describe it as something with teeth and eyes. A boy named Simon later discovers a pig’s head on a stake. The pig talks to him and says “Fancy thinking the Beast was something you could hunt and kill!”…“You knew, didn’t you? I’m part of you?” This statement implies that the “Beast” is not a beast at all, but something deep within every person. The fact that it is deep inside every human being means that it cannot be hunted and killed, but that it will always be there as a part of the human nature. Jack uses this idea of a “Beast” to distract the other boys and to focus on to focus on hunting. This change in focus distracts the boys from the idea of civilization and draws them more into savagery.

Eventually, the hunting is not just for sustenance and turns into a ritual to satisfy their desire for bloodshed. The children take part in dances and chants such as “Kill the pig. Cut her throat. Spill her blood.” This chant has some changes throughout their time on the island and displays how the children delve further into their inner darkness. The chant eventually turns into “Kill the beast! Cut his throat! Spill his blood!” when the boys take part in the killing of Simon. Ralph fails to stop the boys’ from killing Simon standing by and watching the murder take place. At this moment Ralph loses all or any control he had left over the boys, failing his responsibility to them.

In Lord of the Flies Golding makes a statement on human nature and how it is controlled by society and its constructs. The absence of society ultimately results in animal instinct superseding morals. Ralph being unable to control this resulted in his failure as a leader. This shows that societal constructs do not eliminate the evil within humans, but only masks it.


Humans’ Inherent Evil In The Lord of the Flies

The ideology of “mankind is evil and needs the assistance of society to become good” is a very important theme In the novel Lord of the Flies. There are three of the characters that are best examples for this theme are Jack, Roger, and Ralph. The character Jack starts out a great kid, but as his freedom from society gets more intensive, he becomes more and more evil. Roger on the other hand, he’s not perfect at the beginning of the story, but becomes more and more violent throughout the book, this is because he puts society’s beliefs and morals out of his mind. Ralph remains good throughout the whole book but only by holding on to society and the one thing that can get him back, the signal fire. By having Jack and Roger, who have chosen to disregard the ways of society, become far more violent and evil, and by having Ralph, who still has a strong connection to society, remain good throughout the novel, the author expresses that men are born evil and needs society to make them good.

Jack shows that he is indeed evil many times throughout the book because of his lack of connection with society. When all the boys arrive on the island, they are substantially good because the expectations of society are still fresh in their heads. They elect Ralph as the leader of all boys on the island, Jack does not complain too much because he thinks that some adult would get mad at him for digressing on who’s the leader, even though there are none on the island. This means that Jack is very used to have adults who would get mad art him for arguing or talking back. When jack fully realises, he goes against Ralphs right to lead by saying” He aint a proper chief… He’s a coward himself” (page 126). Jack feels very big and powerful of the fact there are no adults present and no one can tell him what to do, and after that he goes against Ralph and his leadership and leaves this group. Jack then moves away to the other side of the island with some of the other boys and hunts wild pigs. Jack figures out that there are no on the island to tell him what’s right and what’s wrong and brings a savage tribe to existence in which most of the boys join. Jack is now the president of the tribe and in total control. He creates scary feasts like eating pigs which he violently kills, and screams phrases like “kill the beast, cut his throat, spill his blood!” (page 182) By the end of the book Jack become very horrific and orders his people kill Ralph without any hesitation, by telling his followers that Ralph is a big threat to the tribe. When Jack commands his tribe to “throw our spears at him like a pig” the author tries to visually explain to us that Jack is dehumanizing Ralph, so that the boys in the tribe don’t hesitate to kill Ralph. Jack starts off as a regular kid who got stranded on an island who is happy, enthusiastic and ready to go for an adventure. But also Jack is also the first to stop following the rules of society and then as a conclusion he does whatever he wants with out any consequences.

Since Roger doesn’t have society to conceal his evil mindset, he turns very violent on the island. At first Roger’s life is still altered by society, so that results in him not doing anything wrong. As time flies his connection to the society gets weaker and weaker, but still is strong enough from him doing anything in which harms others. Later in the book out of boredom he throws rocks not at, but around a young boy named Henry. He can easily hurt Henry by throwing the rock directly at the kid but purposely misses the boy because he doesn’t want to hurt him. This is an example of his action of being violent but not enough to hurt someone. Further on in the story Ralph, Piggy (Ralphs good friend) they go to Jack requesting to give back Piggy’s glasses back, Rogers starts to throw rocks at them and then griping a lever which is holding down a big boulder, at this point Roger is debating whether or not to pull the lever out the way of the boulder which will roll down the hill and kill them. Which at the releasing the big rock, and due to Piggy not having his glasses he gets hit and dies to impact. Since is no one there to punish Roger for his crime, he continues being a horrible person, and earning to become the tribe’s torturer. Since he lost his touch to the society to once lived in he becomes eviller. The character roger shows us how society controls our inner nature

Ralph stays a good person throughout the whole novel by using the signal fire as a strong bridge between him and the society. When Ralph was appointed to leader he created some ground rules for him and the boys, and repeatedly talks about how important it is to get off the island by saying “We can help them find us… We must make a fire” (page 38) Ralph is a smart leader and he knows that the most important thing is to get rescued, and the help of the signal fire will most definitely help them get to his goal. Ralph is continuously using this signal fire and the fact that they can get rescued as a way to stay good and strong with society and not turning into an animal. One example is in the book the boys believe that the beast is on the top of the mountain, Jack says that he is going up there to kill it. But Ralph finds out that it’s a way to distract them from being rescued and says “Hasn’t anyone got any sense? We’ve got to relight the fire. You never thought of that, Jack did you? Or don’t any of you want to be rescued.” (page 102). A thought comes to Ralph, if he stops trying to keep the signal fire lit he is going to turn into an animal like the rest of the boys on the island. It is very hard for Ralph to stay well connected with the society, and by staying connected he never turns out bad in the book.

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The author William Golding uses the characters in the book to say that if the rules on society don’t impact a man, the true evil nature will show itself. Jack and Roger are one of the first to realize they are not part of the society no longer and which they are free to do whatever they desire. Ralph continues to stay strong and doesn’t let him to turn bad. Jack and Roger were used as examples that without the society and its rules men will turn to evil, while Ralph is used to show us that if you keep strong with your beliefs, your good. However, it is a little exaggerated in the book that you need society to stay good. But there are many examples that this theme of the book also is for the world that we live in, for example Law enforcement, where you will be punished if you if you go against the law. Punishment by prison or even death in some places in the world. Many people will go against the law because of the inner evil in them. But the law, and the society keeps us the people from doing it due to the consequences. Another example is a person’s own life. For instance, an individual will grow up with a set of friends and family and rules they must follow. But till the age of 4-5 the child doesn’t quite understand the world just yet. He/she will do anything it desires, slowly after realizing that it can’t do that. He/she through maturity and discipline, the young individual can start to act good and in a well manner. If the child is true and stays influenced with the society, the inner evil will not be shown.


  1. Giri, P. K. (2019). William Golding’s Lord of the Flies: A Study of Evil in Man. The Batuk, 5(1), 52-58. (
  2. Sobh, M. A. A., Al Khamaiseh, A. Z., & Al-Zoubi, S. M. (2022). The Symbolic Representation of Evil and Good in William Golding’s Lord of the Flies. International Journal of Applied Linguistics and English Literature, 11(1), 21-24. (
  3. Gindin, J., & Gindin, J. (1988). The Fictional Explosion: Lord of the Flies and The Inheritors. Macmillan Modern Novelists: William Golding, 20-37. (
  4. Sundström, N. (2001). Human nature as depicted in Lord of the Flies and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. (
  5. Juranková, M. (2016). Savagery in The Inheritors and the Lord of the Flies by William Golding. (

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Man’s Inherent Evil in The Lord of The Flies by William Golding Essay
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The author attempts to discuss the theme of man's inherent evil in Lord of the Flies and does so through a few examples from the novel. However, the essay jumps back and forth between analyzing the theme and describing the events of the story, which makes it difficult to follow.
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To improve this essay, the author should start with a clear thesis statement and use topic sentences to guide each paragraph's focus. Additionally, the author should proofread the essay for grammatical errors and rephrase awkward sentences.
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