If people become isolated from civilization, then the beast inside of us can break the bonds from society and unleash the evil within using the power of fear. In the book, “The Lord of the Flies”, by William Golding, a group of boys becomes stuck on an island and it portrays the breakdown of society and structure and the transformation of them into savages. On the island, the boys first follow a conch which was the order and the link to society on the island but after a while, it loses most of it’s influence due to the disintegration of social order and rules. A character that used the tool of fear to gain control of the boys was Jack, who represents a dictator on the island. The boys’ main fear was of the “beast” which also assisted the boys’ descent into savagery. Without any adults or concrete set of laws on the island, fear manipulated the boys into malevolent, vicious beings.
Ralph, the main character of the book, used the conch to help lead the group of boys which would later decline into Jack’s dictatorship of fear and despair. In the beginning, Ralph’s power and influence over the boys was secure since most were still following the conch. As time went on, as the fear of the beast grew larger and larger, so did Jack’s power while Ralph’s shrunk smaller and smaller. In the quote, “See? See? That’s what you’ll get! I meant that! There isn’t a tribe for you anymore! The conch is gone…” (.200). In this scene, the conch shell breaking meant the beast and fear taking over the island completely whilst civilization and order was eradicated. Also, Piggy’s death symbolized the boy’s full transformation into savages, mindless and bloodthirsty with no thought of guilt after they murdered one of their own.
There is an antagonist in every book, and in the “Lord of the Flies”, the character’s name is Jack, who represents an evil, cruel overlord who uses fear to assert dominance. After being completely secluded from the rules that he had grown up with and the evil spirit inside him starting to manipulate his personality, Jack starts to show his true nature which is the savage that he had always kept inside of him. At various points throughout the story, Jack uses the boys’ fear of the beast to overthrow Ralph and the conch. In the quote, “I expect the beast disguised himself. Perhaps […].
We’d better keep on the right side of him, anyhow. You can’t tell what he might do. The tribe considered this; and then were shaken, as if by a flow of wind. The chief saw the effect of his words and stood abruptly. (10.142-143) This quote represented William Golding’s idea of fear being the most effective way of control, with Jack using fear to get his tribe to do what he wishes. The book portrayed how terrifying the impact fear can have on people and how far it can manipulate them.
Throughout the book, the idea of the “beast” developed into fear which resulted in the crippling of the conch, the link to society and sanity and the barrier that was stopping them from turning into savages. The quote, “The one permanent emotion of the inferior man is fear – fear of the unknown, the complex, the inexplicable. What he wants above everything else is safety. “by Henry Louis Mencken can be seen in the “Lord of the Flies” through the boys whose fear of the “beast” and the want for safety gives Jack the power to take leadership. This idea of the “beast” also warped the boys’ minds so much that they “…leapt on to the beast, screamed, struck, bit, tore. There were no movements but the tearing of teeth and claws.” (9.168) thinking Simon as the beast. Fear had turned innocent boys into ruthless, bloodthirsty murderers.
William Golding’s idea of the “beast” within us all resonates in real life, not just in the book. Ralph, who represented order, structure, law and democracy soon toppled because of how much fear affected the boys. The conch, the link to society, was shattered by the evil that fear had created, which were the savages that the boys had turned into. It is ironic because the beast that the boys were so afraid of was actually the monsters that they had turned into. Without civilization, fear can warp and transform us into things that we would have never expected, much like Jack and the boys.