Tuesday, August 20, 2019

The Nature Of Good And Evil English Literature Essay

The Nature Of Good And Evil English Literature Essay Humans: are they born with an innate goodness, or will they revert to their primal, animalistic nature? As important as this question is in our world today, it is one that many choose to ignore, or never even think about. The novel Lord of the Flies has many different objects representing both good and evil. The characters on the island uncovers a lot about todays society, and the characters themselves are a representation of leaders today and of good and evil, right and wrong. Even in modern times, evil has been present in people that, instead of considering the wellbeing of others, do the worst things to fulfill their evil wills. Consequently, the events of modern times along with the symbolism and leadership found in Lord of the Flies shows that, more often than not, evil will triumph in society. Every object on the island has its use, either good or bad. Be that as it may, the bad objects overshadow the good objects. One such object on the island is Piggys glasses. Piggys glasses symbolize hope of rescue, and power. They represent power because the glasses are the only way to start the fire. The fire itself is the primary source of hope for the little uns, and when the glasses are taken by Jack, the little uns go to him because he is now the only one who can light the fire. They are attracted to Jack because he can provide what they want (fire, food, and protection). This also reflects on society today because many people follow leaders who can give them what they want, regardless if that leader has the competency to actually lead his or her people. The same goes for the little uns and Jack. Since Jack has the power of fire, they do not care that he is trying to murder Ralph. They choose to ignore the cruelty because Jack can provide for them a signal to be rescued, and meat . This has been reflected during Hitlers reign of the Third Reich. He promised the German people a way out of the depression, and as long as the people got that, they did not care how this would be achieved. Piggys glasses also symbolize the ability to see clearly and understand, that is to say, wisdom. The lens of the glasses cracking represents losing sight of what is needed to be done, and what is morally right and wrong (Lorcher). The same happens in society. The people with wisdom are shunted and put aside, and the line between right and wrong begins to blur, allowing humans to do progressively worse and worse things without a voice of reasoning to stop them. An example of a good object on the island is the conch. The conch, found by Ralph, was used to call all of the boys to one place. It is a representation of peace and unity. Because Ralph found the conch, he was considered the authority figure and named leader of the boys, and he was responsible for holding it and calling the boys to meetings. However, he lost his leadership authority when the conch was broken and Piggy was killed. As soon as this symbol of unity and peace was broken, the island fell into chaos. From that chaos, Jack rose to become dictator of the boys. He even created a fortress from which he could rule. Because there is no longer an object that symbolizes good, Jack is able to twist things his way, allowing him to rule as a dictator. In contrast to the conch is Jacks knife. The knife symbolizes Jacks brutality and thirst for power. When he asks Ralph, Which is better-to have laws and agree, or to hunt and kill, he shows that, to him, laws are unnecessary, and that hunting and killing is better, even essential (Golding 225). Throughout the novel, Jack tries to gain power, and in his attempts he causes many problems. However, once he gains power, he uses every technique he knows to hold on to it. The main threat to his power is Ralph. Even after Ralph is left all alone with no followers, Jack insists on gathering his tribe of savages and hunting him. He has every intention of killing Ralph. Even when they first met at the start of the story, Jack and Ralph had clashed for power. Throughout the story, because of their differing ideas and philosophies, they clashed for power. This clashing represents the struggle for power between leaders in the world today. And, like in the novel, the evil leaders seem to always com e to the forefront and win over the people. Another evil object on the island is the Lord of the Flies himself, symbolizing the evil of humans that comes from inside. The Lord of the Flies is actually a pigs head on a sharpened stick. It was meant as an offering to appease the beast on the island. When Simon is walking in the forest, he comes upon the Lord of the Flies and has a conversation with him. The head tells Simon that there is, in fact, no beast on the island. The evil that has been going on is actually coming from the boys themselves, from inside them. He tells Simon that the beast is actually the hate, greed, jealousy, and lust for power inside them, and if they do not let go of these horrible traits, they will be divided, making it much harder to be rescued. And even if they are rescued, these traits will stay with them, magnified from their time spent on the island, and they will take these traits into the civilized world. Simon runs away from the Lord of the Flies, and runs into Jack and his band of hunters. Beca use Jack and his group symbolize the evil that the lord of the Flies was talking about, they killed Simon. There is an association between the objects and the characters themselves, and this shows that evil exists and usually wins over good. The way the characters act and react, and the way they make use of the objects, show that evil will always be the victor. Ralph is among the few good people in the novel, and is the protagonist of the story. Jack is the complete opposite, being the main antagonist. After trying to gain power over Ralph throughout most of the book, Jack becomes fed up and takes a group of boys to become his hunters. He trains them to kill, and trains them to enjoy doing it. At the end of the novel, everyone (except Ralph) is forced to join his tribe, and he is supreme dictator of the tribe. When going on hunts, he would fire his tribe up with a chant: Kill the Pig! Cut her throat! Spill her blood! (Golding 90). The most evil person on the island, and the first follower of Jack, is Roger. When hunting, he enjoys killing the pig. But Roger relished the act of killing Piggy, and torturing the twins to discover the whereabouts of Ralph. He symbolizes the people in this world that hurt others to fulfill th eir own personal agendas, and he also represents sadists in society that enjoy causing harm to others. Simon is the complete opposite of Roger. He is regarded as Christ-like (Yvonechick-online posting). He is the only person on the island with a conscience because he asks questions nobody can answer, and is deeply troubled by certain events (such as his talk with the Lord of the Flies). He represents hope for humanity, but although he is Christ-like, his death does not bring salvation. The twins, Sam and Eric, symbolize the common person. Most common peoples loyalties lie with the one in power, even if that persons beliefs and actions do not coincide with their own. This is because of self-preservation, and we as humans look to our own needs first. Since the person in power can provide for certain needs, the common people will give the leader their loyalty. This happens in the novel as well. At first, they are loyal to Ralph. When Jack takes over, however, they are forced to join hi m and are loyal to him, albeit if it is only because they are afraid of being hurt and think it is necessary for survival. Piggy wears glasses, has asthma, and cannot speak very well. He also is not athletic. These imperfections are significant because Piggy is a symbol for the people that cruel leaders have oppressed and taken advantage of. Because of his many imperfections, he is an easy target, and the novel displays this. Every time Piggy tries to speak or take charge, he is interrupted or stopped, and generally laughed at. The ending of the novel, however, truly shows that humans, when it comes to survival, resort to their animalistic and evil nature. The novel ends with Ralph crying for the end of innocence, the darkness of mans heart (Golding 235). Golding sums it up in that one sentence. The boys have lost their youthful innocence, and have reverted back to primal and animalistic norms. They all came from respectable, well-educated backgrounds, yet when it comes to survival, they resort to violence and treachery. The things they did were not taught at their school, and they did not learn them anywhere else; this proves that humans have an evil nature inside them that comes forth when we need to (essentially, we come first). A psychologist named Freud has even given this evil nature a name: the Id. According to Freud, the source of instinctual energy, which works on the pleasure principle and is concerned with immediate gratification is the Id (Huffman 457). For the boys on the island, it is the Id that surfaces in such an extreme incident, being inside the children (and consequently, all of human kind) all along. The Id has sur faced in many instances throughout recent history, but the one that is most obvious is the Holocaust. Events in recent history, like the Holocaust, show that human nature is evil and that even in civilized societies humans will revert to this base nature of ours. The country of Germany was torn apart by a great economic depression resulting from the First World War. A virtually unknown man named Adolf Hitler rose to power quickly. His ability as an orator was great, and he ensnared the people of Germany with promises of getting their country out of the depression. Once he revealed his terrible plan, the German people went along with it. Why? They were thinking about their own selves, and they wanted results. What better way than to place all the blame of their situation on the Jews, and at the same time get rid of the people who supposedly put them in that position in the first place. Even after killing over six million Jews, who did absolutely nothing wrong, the people of Germany turned aside and chose not to see what was happening. Even the rest of the world ended up turning away a nd letting it continue, at least for a while. The same scenario is shown in Lord of the Flies. Jack rises to power, and gets followers because he promises them power and, more importantly, meat. Just like Hitler, he uses his group of followers to terrorize the other boys into following him. Einstein says it best: The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who dont do anything about it (brainyquote.com). He makes the boys fear him, and fear is an effective way of getting people to do what you want them to, regardless of how vile the action is. Jack and Hitler both got rid of unwanted voices that carry potential information that can undermine the leader. In the case of the novel, Simon is killed after speaking with the Lord of the Flies. Without those voices in society, evil is allowed to run rampant and unchecked. The human race also has a greed component that goes hand in hand with evil. When a normally good man or woman is given a position of power, that person will usually want more and more. Sometimes, their greed and ambitions will blind them to their values and morals, and they will resort to actions they normally would never do, all just to become more and more powerful. Macbeth, considered an extremely loyal friend to the king, was given a prophecy (most likely a self-fulfilling prophecy) that he was to kill the king and be king himself. He gets a taste of power, and wants more. His ambition and greed (along with his ever growing paranoia) cause him to commit more evil deeds. Jack became jealous of Ralphs authority, and when he got a taste of leadership, he immediately wanted more. Evil will win out in the end because humans generally look toward instant gratification, and are willing to put aside their morals. William Goldings Lord of the Flies shows that humans are, in fact, born with an innate evil. The characters in the book show that humans will resort to their evil roots to survive. This is applicable to society today because the boys all represent some aspect of our society, ranging from common people to authoritative figures. The boys also show that their needs come first above the needs and well being of others, as presented in the hunt for Ralph at the end of the novel. The symbols in Goldings brilliant work also support the fact that humans have an evil nature. The conch represents the order and integrity of society, yet it is broken, showing that evil will triumph over good. The knife is an evil object, representing thirst for blood and lust for power. Recent historical events also highlight the fact that humans are evil at heart. One such event is the Holocaust and the atrocities committed by Adolf Hitler in his efforts to create a pure race. The symbolism of the objects, the c haracters, and the events of history all tie in together to confirm that humans are innately evil, and will resort to evil. After all, it is much easier to be and do evil than it is to take the high road and do good.

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