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The Nature of Motives in The Novel 'The Lord of The Flies'

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The Novel “The Lord Of The Flies” asks the difficult question of “is there a natural way to behave?” The behavior aspects of the boys throughout the novel demonstrates Golding’s underlying desire to show that loft is an attempt to explain why people behave as they do. The motives for behaviors in human nature are shown through the idea that humans are good unless tempted by evil and that primitive nature of humans is the underlying motive for actions. This idea is demonstrated through Jack with his motive to hunt, Ralph motives to be safe and act responsibly and Roger through his motives to kill and harm.

Jack is a representation of the inner savagery of man and represents the bigger idea of temptation of evil causes humans to do unspeakable things. Jacks motive from the beginning is to become a hunter and a leader, he begins the novel as head of the choir boys and resorts to gaining all the other boys trust, furthering his inner goal to rise to the top. Jack eventually succumbs to his primitive nature beginning with shedding the rules and hunting “Bollocks to the rules! We’re strong – we hunt! If there’s a beast, we’ll hunt it down! We’ll close in and beat and beat and beat”. Jacks intermotive is to hunt and through cracks in civilization, he succumbs to his ultimate fate.

Ralph symbolic significance is civilization and the idea of being responsible. He stands by his motives even going as far as not eating, and not joining Jacks group. Although through the novel Ralph experiences lapses in civilization, he continues to succumb to his primitive nature of goodness, selflessness and democracy. “We’ve got to have special people for looking after the fire. Any day there may be a ship out there… and if we have a signal going they’ll come and take us off. And another thing. We ought to have more rules. Where the conch is, that’s a meeting. The same up here as down there” Ralph continues to try to create a civilized group among the boys by creating a fire and establishing rules. Ralph contrunes to try to establish an organized system of government, by using the conch.

Roger is a representation of the evilest boy on the island, from throwing rocks at the littluns to cruel behaviors to those around him, Rogers motive is to kill and harm. Rogers primitive nature is a sociopathic and sadistic one that causes him to do great harm to those around him. “You couldn’t stop me coming if I wanted” Roger threatens Robert. By this point, Roger has already shown himself as a sadistic and cruel boy. Roger continues with his nature of evil going as far as pushing a boulder down and killing Piggy, the first purposeful murder that takes place on the isand. Although Jack is the clear leader of the group Roger is his second man, representing pure evil.

To summarize, throughout the novel “The Lord Of The Flies” William Golding illustrates that the reason behind actions even in great stress lies in our inner nature. The actions of the boys begin to demonstrate why people behave as they do. Beginning with Jack, Ralph and Roger. The novel clearly demonstrates that not all humans are bad, and primitive nature will not become disrupted even in the means of horrible stress.   

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The Nature of Motives in the Novel ‘The Lord Of The Flies’. (2022, August 30). GradesFixer. Retrieved September 29, 2022, from
“The Nature of Motives in the Novel ‘The Lord Of The Flies’.” GradesFixer, 30 Aug. 2022,
The Nature of Motives in the Novel ‘The Lord Of The Flies’. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 29 Sept. 2022].
The Nature of Motives in the Novel ‘The Lord Of The Flies’ [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2022 Aug 30 [cited 2022 Sept 29]. Available from:
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