The theme of good and evil in Lord of the Flies

Question: Illustrate the theme of good and evil in Lord of the Flies.


The central concern of William Golding’s (1911-1993) novel “Lord of the Flies” (1954) is the conflict between good and evil that exists among all human beings. Golding highlights in this novel that evil always wins with kids.

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The character represents good and evil

Characters are the biggest representation of good and evil in “Lord of the Flies”. Golding uses the characters to show that if humans do not have the influence of civilization of good, they resort to evil. The characters that represent spirited and civilized on the island are Ralph, Piggy, and Simon. On the other hand, the characters that represent evil and violence on the island are Jack, Roger, and his followers. These characters are responsible for the destruction of the island.

Good is a symbol of civilization

At the beginning of the novel, we see that good is a symbol of civilization. The boys come from a society that is governed by law and order. So, they try to continue this when they first arrive on the island. Being civilized persons and being English people, they must have rules. Jack expresses his agreement with Ralph regarding the need to observe the rules of conduct on the island. Jack says-

“I agree with Ralph. We’ve got to have rules and obey them. After all, we’re not savages. We’re English; and the English are best at everything. So, we’ve got to do the right thing.”

The conch provides a symbol of values decency and orderliness of the society wherefrom the boys have come. The boys try to fire burning at all times for rescue on the island. Activities like these have always been key to a successful civilization.

Good is dominant

Again, we see that Ralph arranges the construction of most of the shelters, in fact, a fire to point out the selfless work of himself and Simon and the ships. They spend most of their time playing and having fun. There have been a few accidents, such as a fire that kills a born-again boy, but with Ralph’s majestic government, good always prevails.

Man’s inherent evil

Golding’s point is that all men are basically bad. Society doesn’t make them bad. Evil exists in our hearts. With innocent children and leaving them on a secluded island away from society, Golding depicts that the evil that lies within us will eventually destroy us. Even away from the so-called evil influence of society. Society does not need to destroy itself. This is the main theme of the Bible because the Bible teaches that man is born of sin and salvation is possible only through faith in God.

The victory of evil

The low and disciplinary situation on the island is under threat as Jack continues his efforts to capture the conch group. He fails in this – a small victory for the better and moves away from his own tribe. The boys join Jack’s tribe because he hunts pigs and doesn’t work for them. Ralph, who represents the good forces, has been crippled indiscriminately and has had no effective response. Jack’s tribe continues to grow and he is treated badly. Piggy’s glasses were violently stolen.

Sam and Eric are caught and Piggy is killed as the conch group’s reminder goes to retrieve the glasses. The image of Simon Christ, whose concern for others leads him down to the tribal dance where he is brutally murdered.

Loss of identity

As the boys lose their identity, so too do they lose their humanity. An example of loss is demonstrated in Roger. In the beginning, he is a little mischievous but at the end of the novel, he is a hunter. This loss of identity is also shown through Jack. Firstly, he is bossy but harmless, and referred to simply as “Jack”. But last, he is a hunter, a savage capable of taking human life and referred to as just “chief”. After seeing the evil that people were capable of and the dark side of human nature, Ralph’s innocence was lost. He wept for these things and of course for the loss of Piggy.

“Ralph wept for the end of innocence, the darkness of man’s heart, and the fall through the air of the true, wise friend called Piggy”

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In short, we see how leadership should be taken and illustrated and the result of the right. Through the novel, Golding seeks to convey the idea that evil is a powerful instinct in humans. It only needs a favorable environment for growth and development.

S Ridoy Kumar
S Ridoy Kumar
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