What Does The Beast Symbolize in Lord of The Flies?

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About this sample

About this sample


Words: 653 |

Page: 1|

4 min read

Published: Jun 13, 2024

Words: 653|Page: 1|4 min read

Published: Jun 13, 2024

Table of contents

  1. The Beast as Fear and the Unknown
  2. The Beast as the Loss of Innocence
  3. The Beast as a Catalyst for Power Struggles
  4. Conclusion

Have you ever wondered what lies beneath the surface of human nature? In William Golding's novel, Lord of the Flies, a group of young boys stranded on an uninhabited island try to establish order and civilization. However, as their fear and primal instincts take hold, they begin to believe in the existence of a terrifying beast. This essay aims to explore the symbolism behind the beast in Lord of the Flies and its implications on human nature and civilization.

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The Beast as Fear and the Unknown

Throughout the novel, the boys' fear of the beast grows as they struggle to understand their surroundings and their own identities in the absence of adult authority. The presence of the beast becomes a physical manifestation of their fear, representing the unknown and the uncontrollable. As the boys' fear intensifies, they project their inner darkness onto the beast, attributing it with supernatural powers and capabilities. For instance, when Simon encounters the "beastie" in the form of a dead parachutist, he realizes that the true beast resides within themselves, a realization that ultimately leads to his tragic demise.

According to literary critic Harold Bloom, the beast symbolizes the boys' collective unconscious, their deepest fears and desires that emerge when civilization and societal norms are stripped away. Bloom argues that the beast is a metaphor for the human psyche, which is inherently wild and untamed. He suggests that the boys' descent into savagery and their belief in the beast reflect the dark side of human nature, the innate capacity for violence and destruction.

The Beast as the Loss of Innocence

Another interpretation of the beast is its representation of the loss of innocence. The boys, initially innocent and naive, gradually succumb to their primal instincts and become savage hunters. The beast, in this sense, symbolizes the corruption of their innocence and the erosion of their moral values. As the boys become more immersed in their savage rituals and violence, their belief in the beast strengthens, blurring the line between reality and imagination.

Moreover, the beast also reveals the inherent evil that exists within each individual. The boys, who were once bound by rules and social structures, slowly abandon their civilized behavior and give in to their basest desires. As they lose their connection with civilization, the boys lose their identity and become susceptible to the influence of the beast. The beast, then, is a reflection of the boys' inner darkness, their innate capacity for evil.

The Beast as a Catalyst for Power Struggles

In addition to representing fear and the loss of innocence, the beast also acts as a catalyst for power struggles among the boys. As they become more consumed by their belief in the beast, they start to compete for dominance and control. Jack, in particular, exploits the boys' fear of the beast to establish his own tribe, using it as a means to gain power and manipulate the others.

According to literary scholar Paul Crawford, the beast symbolizes the boys' desire for power and their willingness to sacrifice their morals and humanity to attain it. Crawford argues that the beast serves as a metaphor for the destructive nature of power, which can corrupt even the most innocent and well-intentioned individuals. The boys' obsession with the beast leads them to commit acts of violence and cruelty, ultimately leading to their downfall.

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In conclusion, the beast in Lord of the Flies symbolizes fear, the loss of innocence, and power struggles. It represents the boys' collective unconscious, their deepest fears and desires that emerge when civilization is stripped away. The beast serves as a reminder of the inherent darkness within human nature, the capacity for violence and corruption. As the boys' fear and belief in the beast grow, their descent into savagery becomes inevitable. The novel serves as a cautionary tale, highlighting the fragility of civilization and the dangers of unchecked power. It reminds us that the beast, in whatever form it may take, lurks within all of us.

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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

Cite this Essay

What Does The Beast Symbolize In Lord of the Flies? (2024, Jun 13). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 17, 2024, from
“What Does The Beast Symbolize In Lord of the Flies?” GradesFixer, 13 Jun. 2024,
What Does The Beast Symbolize In Lord of the Flies? [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 17 Jul. 2024].
What Does The Beast Symbolize In Lord of the Flies? [Internet] GradesFixer. 2024 Jun 13 [cited 2024 Jul 17]. Available from:
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