Piggy in Lord of The Flies: Embodiment of Freud's Psyche

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About this sample


Words: 1113 |

Pages: 2|

6 min read

Published: Aug 31, 2023

Words: 1113|Pages: 2|6 min read

Published: Aug 31, 2023

Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Unrestrained Id in The Lord of the Flies
  3. The Balancing Ego in Lord of the Flies
  4. The Superego of Piggy in Lord of the Flies
  5. Conclusion
  6. Works Cited


Remember those T.V. skits which showed a devil standing on the left shoulder of the character and an angel standing on the right shoulder? Well, every human has these creatures within them except they're called id, ego, and superego instincts. In the novel Lord of the Flies by William Golding, a group of young boys were stranded on a deserted island and were without any adult supervision. The boys were hopeful of getting rescued in the beginning and had built their version of a government, but that soon fell apart due to conflicts of interest and violent instincts taking over. In the novel, there were three main characters that portrayed Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytic theory on human personalities. Jack represents id instincts that are based purely on 'pleasure principles,' Ralph embodies ego instincts, which differentiate and make decisions based on the id and superego's instincts, while Piggy, Lord of the Flies character analysis shows, embodies the superego instincts that are critical, and he takes on the moralizing role.

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Unrestrained Id in The Lord of the Flies

The character Jack represents the id instincts in the novel because he is invariably doing what he desires while disregarding everyone else on the island. Jack then obscures his desires by stating that everyone on the island is benefitting from his actions. This is evident when it was stated that, “‘We want meat-’... ‘But I shall! Next time! I’ve got to get a barb on this spear! We wounded a pig and the spear fell out. If we could only make barbs-’” (Golding 51). At this point in the text, after a chaotic group meeting on what to do next, the boys all decided on building shelters on the beach, and the hunters, who are Jack’s choir group, would hunt for a pig, yet Jack comes back unsuccessful and refuses to work on the shelters. This is significant because the id instincts are only concerned with what they desire at the moment and disregard the world around them as if they are unconscious. Jack is defying his leader, who is Ralph, by not helping him build the shelters and instead goes into a fit about how everyone on the island desires pig meat. Yet the boys on the island are just concerned about having fun and swimming. This shows that Jack could not care less about the government. As long as he can please himself, he doesn’t care. Ultimately Jack is concerned with his desires and wellbeing only, yet he disguises his desires by using the word “we”, to showcase that he isn’t doing this for himself, but rather, is doing it for others.

The Balancing Ego in Lord of the Flies

The character Ralph embodies is ego in the book because he is constantly put into situations where he has to please either Jack or Piggy and he has to make a selection between the id or superego. For instance when it was stated in the text, “You’re no good on a job like this…”We don’t want you...Three’s enough…”I was with him when he found the conch. I was with him before anyone else was.”(Golding 24). In this scene, Ralph, Jack, and Simon were about to go on an expedition around the island to explore, and Piggy wanted to go as well but Jack stated that he was simply not needed on this expedition. Then Ralph had to choose between letting Piggy go on the expedition with him which would please Piggy or deny Piggy’s request to go on the expedition which would please Jack. In the end, he chose to not let Piggy go and told Piggy to take the names of all the boys as a task for him. This exhibits ego behavior because he is comprising between Jack and Piggy, he pleases Jack by not letting Piggy go and Ralph is helping out Piggy by taking into consideration his asthma and gives Piggy a task which he states is important. In a way, Ralph pleased both Jack and Piggy and thus is the figure who balances them.

The Superego of Piggy in Lord of the Flies

The character that depicts the superego is Piggy because he is continually telling Ralph about what is morally correct and incorrect, essentially Piggy plays the moralizing role in the novel. This can be seen when in the text it was stated that, “How can you expect to be rescued if you don’t put first things first and act proper?”(Golding 45). In this scene, Ralph has called another group meeting to explain to everyone what the boys have discovered during the expedition around the island but the meeting soon turns into chaos due to Jack constantly interjecting and not following the rules that Ralph set in place. Jack not abiding by the rules angered Piggy and Piggy went on a rant about how they should take into account the situation of the world and that they should realize that they may not be rescued for a long time. This question that Piggy asks the others highlights superego behavior because according to Freud “ ‘The superego can be thought of as a type of conscience that punishes misbehavior with feelings of guilt’ ”. Piggy states how all the boys aren’t acting civilized and should not have hopes of being rescued since they aren’t behaving in a socially acceptable way thus instilling the emotion of guilt. Also Piggy is being uptight about the conch because the conch symbolizes government and he enforces the rule of whoever has the conch gets to speak. Piggy is being critical of everyone’s actions and instilling a moral compass in the boys which exhibits true superego behavior.

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In the novel Lord of the Flies, Golding portrays the characters Jack, Ralph and Piggy as Sigmund Freud’s “model of the psyche” as id, ego, and superego respectively. Golding portrays each character as these instincts to display the personalities of humans and what humans can become under a short amount of time due to the environment around them. Jack is a representation of the id because he does what he desires and what he wants such as hunting pigs. While Ralph characterizes the ego because he constantly has to make decisions between Jack and Piggy and somehow satisfy them both. Lastly, Piggy is depicted as the superego and he always dictates what is morally wrong or right to Ralph so that Ralph can make the right decisions. Conclusively, this book gives us insight into how quickly a civilized human being can exhibit their true nature when put into a survival environment.  

Works Cited

  1. Golding, William. Lord of the Flies. Faber & Faber, 1954.
  2. Freud, Sigmund. The Ego and the Id. Norton, 2010.
  3. Freud, Sigmund. Civilization and Its Discontents. Norton, 2010
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Piggy in Lord of the Flies: Embodiment of Freud’s Psyche. (2023, August 31). GradesFixer. Retrieved April 17, 2024, from
“Piggy in Lord of the Flies: Embodiment of Freud’s Psyche.” GradesFixer, 31 Aug. 2023,
Piggy in Lord of the Flies: Embodiment of Freud’s Psyche. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 17 Apr. 2024].
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