Evil is a characteristic that describes a person as being morally wrong or bad, immoral and/or causing suffering for others. Evil in the book Lord of the Flies by William Golding was an inborn trait of mankind. In this book, evil was seen as a main theme throughout the whole story. Golding saw no hope for mankind and believed that evil is always in mankind and sooner or later it will be expressed and no longer be subdued by civilization. The Lord of the Flies is a book about a group of children (some very young), who become stranded on an uninhabited island with no adults.
They are on this island due to a plane crash during a war that they were in. From the beginning of this story until the end, one sees a transformation of the children from a well-organized, diplomatic civilized group into an evil group of murderous blood thirsty savages. At the very beginning of this story, the children seemed well mannered and organized. They called a conch they found to gather the survivors. The only event that showed the boys’ inherent “evil” or jealously was the power struggle between Jack and Ralph for chief. Jack thought he should have been leader because he was chapter chorister. “I ought to be Chief, said Jack with simple arrogance, because I’m chapter chorister and head boy” (22).
The children did the diplomatic thing and decided to put it to a vote. All of the children exspect Jack and the chorister boys elected Ralph. This event builds to Jack resenting Ralph throughout the story. Jack also tried to gain power later on in the story. As the story progresses so do the intensity of the evil acts of the children. One of these acts of “evil” from the children was their attitude toward Piggy, the over-weight, intelligent boy with asthma and glasses. Piggy became the victim of continuous bullying and neglect. A few example of this was when they called him fatty, piggy and wont let him speak and they won’t listen to him too, “Shut up, Fatty…He’s not fatty, cried Ralph, his real name’s Piggy…A storm of laughter arose and even the tiniest child joined in” (21). Another event that showed their rising evil ways is when Ralph, Jack and Simon explored the island, to decide if it is an island and/or it is uninhabited.
On this adventure they saw a small, defenseless baby pig caught by “creepers”. Jack took out his knife and prepared to slaughter the piglet but couldn’t do it and allowed the piglet to go free. Jack had probably never killed anything before so the thought of ending a living thing’s life so to much for him. Afterwords Jack promised that the pig won’t be so lucky next time. Jack said this so he wouldn’t seem weak to the other children. Around the middle of the book Jack kept good on his promise, when his hunters and he slaughtered a piglet and chanted, “Kill the pig, cut her throat. Spill her blood” (69).
There are also symbolisms in this story what expressed mankind’s inherited evil. The beastie in this story symbolized mankind’s inherited evil. Out of all the children, Simon is the only one who truly understood that. At one point in the book they even believed they (Sam and Eric) saw the beastie up on top of the mountain. When Jack and Ralph along with others go see the beastie they too start to believe in it. This leads to an increase in fear of the beastie (themselves). Also Ralph’s and Jack’s power struggle intensifies due to their increasingly differing wants and views. Ralph wants to be rescued but Jack’s only true desire is to hunt, kill, make fun of Piggy and become Chief with total power. Later on the children, all but Piggy, Sam and Eric are corrupted (by food) to join Jack’s tribe of savages. The turning point of their transformation into evil, savages was at Jack’s feast. At this feast the children were chanting, dancing and reenacting the butchering of a defenseless piglet. When Simon, who represents natural human goodness (Jesus), is “accidentally” massacred by all of the children (expect Piggy). This event showed the innate human evil disrupting childhood innocence and just how far children are willing to go.
The event that showed total loss of civilization and the establishment of savages in this book was when Piggy was killed by Roger and the conch shell which symbolized civilization is broken. “The rock struck Piggy a glancing blow from chin to knee; the conch exploded into a thousand white fragments and ceased to exist.” (164). When the conch is broken it signifies the total loss of society, order, rule/law and peace among almost all the boys on the island. With the conch gone savagery is completely developed and the evil is shown to its fullest. At this point there is no more thoughts of right and wrong, just fear, pain and evil. Now all the children wanted to “hunt” and kill Ralph simply because Jack told them to.
Especially Roger who has growth to love causing pain to others, and who “Sharpen a stick at both ends.” All of them even Sam and Eric helped to find Ralph so they could kill him. If it wasn’t for the office, Ralph would have been killed and the children wouldn’t have cared. They probably would have thrown a feast over Ralph’s death and spear hishead as a sign of power. In the book, Lord of the Flies the transformation of the children is clearly shown. They started off as proper gentlemen and ended as murderous, malevolent, sick savages, who want and like to exterminate and track innocence living animals including humans. Golding’s feeling towards human’s inherited characteristics is spot on and was seen throughout this whole story.