True Human Nature (Criticism of Lord of the Flies) Reading Lord of the Flies, one gets quite an impression of Goldings view on human nature. Whether this view is right or wrong, true or not, is a point to be debated. This image Golding paints for the reader, that of humans being inherently bad, is a perspective not all people share. This opinion, in fact, is a point that many have disagreed with when reading his work. There are many instances throughout Lord of the Flies that state Goldings opinion suggesting an evil human nature. Each of these instances are the bricks holding together his fortress of ideas that are constantly under attack.
Lord of the Flies is but an abstract tool of Goldings to construct the idea of human nature in the minds of his readers. Throughout the novel, it is stated that all humans are evil. It is said that this evil is inescapable and will turn everyone evil. At one point in the book, when the Lord of the Flies is representing all evil, this theory is stated as, The Lord of the Flies was expanding like a balloon (Golding 130). Along with this idea is the religious symbolism that is used for ineffectively confronting the evil. At a point in the book, Golding has Simon, symbolic of Jesus Christ (a Christian deity), confront the Lord of the Flies. This is a pigs head on a stick that is imagined to talk and represent the evil in all humans.
Simon tries to act and spread the knowledge of this evil to others but is killed. This is a direct reference to the death of Christ, alluding to the Holy Bible. At many points throughout Lord of the Flies, Golding writes for the characters to become gradually more and more evil. This attribute even reaches the symbols of goodness and order, such as Ralph. Once, when Ralph and Piggy go to the feast on Jacks beach, they begin to meld with the others and their evil ways.
Piggy and Ralph, under the threat of the sky, found themselves eager to take a place in this demented but partly secure society (Golding 138). This really only proves their common longing for a place with others, not any depth of evilness. Golding also has all of the characters eventually participate in the hunts, his representation of an evil ritual that humans perform. By having all of the characters practice this, he illustrates his belief of everyone being susceptible to turning evil. This fact is not necessarily true.
Humans develop their own dedications to their own beliefs, morals, and ethics. Each person has the decision of acting how they wish. Many acts are considered bad by the ruling body of government and are punishable. Other acts are considered good and are rewarded. However, it must be seen that each individual decides for himself what is good or bad for him to do. Thus, most people act on what they consider good. This can seem unusual, for a serial killer may consider brutal murder a good act and helping a friend as an extremely evil action.
One must see, that some people also act on what they consider bad. This may be as a rebellion of all that was forced on them by society. It might also be due to overwhelming circumstances as well. But, it is still apparent that each person has the choice of acting upon their own goodness or evil. Golding also makes it clear that the island that is the focus of the novel is merely a microcosm of the entire world. He develops his world as one having a destructive nuclear war.
This is meant to demonstrate that everyone, no matter who or where, will turn evil. He paints the image of nuclear war as pure and vile evil. This is not entirely, or at all, true. A nuclear war could simply be a power struggle that has mass power behind it. It might also be the elimination of those who oppose what is considered good.
Anyway, the way Golding demonstrates and terms many things in Lord of the Flies creates a large and almost impenetrable illusion to support his claim of the evil human nature. No one thing can be all evil or entirely anti-good. Many things can be usually bad or mostly considered bad, but there is some good to be found in everyone. One should not be mistaken, though, that anything could be all good either. All people, actions, and things have the potential to be neutral. This can easily be sustained.
It can also be tipped to favor good or bad, but nothing is purely one or the other. As shown above, Golding has a misguided view of all humans being bad. This cannot be, for nothing can be entirely good or bad. When considering this, one must also remember that each individual had his own consciousness, thus has the ability to choose. This also applies to good and bad actions. If one does mostly good actions, they might be considered good.
If one does mostly bad actions, they might be considered bad. This should be kept in mind when thinking about human nature, rather than some twisted concept of everyone being uncontrollably bad. Works Cited Golding, William. Lord of the Flies. New York: Putnam Publishing, 1954.