Lord of the Flies: Man v.s. Evil

May 22, 2012
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“We are a species that produces evil as a bee produces honey. Just as the humble insect produces sweetness, we produce the wickedness and violence that sour our lives. Evil lies within man, whose nature is inherently depraved. Man’s basic instinct is to kill, and the depth of his wickedness is revealed by his tendency to kill his own species.”- William Golding, author of Lord of the Flies

William Golding has some valid points in this quote, though I don’t entirely agree with him. Man isn’t completely evil. I think that a person only becomes evil when they are driven to do so, or have grown up around such things. Their evils are revealed when they are pressured or taunted to the point of breakage. I will prove my point by using the following examples: watching others being bullied, the Salem Witch Trials, and Simon and Piggy’s deaths.

In my short life, I have experienced some simpler versions of man’s evil. Each day, I witness the acts of bullying that appears in the halls, during class, and on the buses. In the halls, upperclassmen push and shove younger students because they think they are smarter or superior to the others. We, as younger students, don’t really have a say in who does what around our school. So we deal with it and move on with our lives. During class, people send each other mean texts calling them names, or threatening them. In my gym class, some upperclassmen steal the freshmen’s shoes and hide them where they can’t find or reach them. Again, we grin and bear it. On the buses, older kids make freshmen move out of certain seats because they want to sit next to their friends. And as always, us freshmen take it to the park and let it slide. Though we all know how unfair the sophomores, juniors and seniors are being to us, we don’t bother to do anything about it, because we all doubt that anything will change. These teens were probably pressed to do these things by peers, parents that believe they are incompetent, or by wanting to be considered ‘cool’ by others.

My next example is the cruelty of the Salem Witch trials. In the early 1690’s, the Salem witch trials took place because the religious people in the city of Salem, Massachusetts, didn’t understand the people who used wives tales to fix household things and emotional or personal problems. The pastors of churches and the church-goers all agreed that people who kept to themselves, or lived alone, or went to cemeteries more than once a week, were witches. They had no proof that they were, and even if they did, they shouldn’t have killed all those innocent people. There were 19 hanged, 1 was pressed to death, and five died in jail awaiting trial. These people were convicted for ridiculous things such as being able to swim, or being able to help people’s wounds by using a homemade ointment or salve. Many were killed and others never were sentenced to death, but were put into prison for life. This is one particularly cruel version of man’s evil and hatred of the unknown. The people of Salem who accused many of witchcraft were pushed to behave in such ways because of their fear of God and The Church. They learned from an early age that they should fear God or they won’t achieve their goal of reaching heaven.

The last examples I am to use come from William Golding’s novel, Lord of the Flies. In the book, Jack’s tribe of boys kills two of the characters. Simon is killed first. The boys are having a feast, and Simon is up on the hill tending to the rescue fire. He sees the head of the boar that the Hunters killed and gave to the Beast. He has an anxiety attack and faints. The Boar’s head (the Lord of the Flies) speaks to him and he soon realizes that the beast isn’t an actual animal, but it lies within each of them. He rushes back to the rest of the boys, who are now having a dance, and tries to tell them. The boys aren’t paying close enough attention when Simon is screaming and crying about the beast being inside them. The boys later split up into two groups, one led by Jack and the other by Ralph. The group led by Jack goes to steal Piggy’s glasses, and end up succeeding. When Ralph’s group goes back to Jack’s group’s camp to get back the glasses, Roger rolls a boulder down a hill to hit and kill Ralph. He dodged it, in the knick of time and instead, it hit Piggy, knocked him off a cliff & down 40 feet, where he finally landed on a large rock in the ocean and died. This was an act of cruelty of man, because they were ,this time, purposefully trying to kill some one who was innocent.

My opinion is clear. While man is evil, he only becomes evil when pushed to. Each man has a little evil in them, as no one is perfect. Bullies are pushed by the frustration of their past and present. The Salemites who accused the ‘witches’ were pushed by the fear of their religion. Jack’s group was pushed by the want to be civilized, yet being forced to live in a very uncivilized world. All in all, evil is only there when negativity lurks beneath the surface.

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This article has 3 comments. Post your own now!

WastheWhale said...
Dec. 3, 2016 at 6:39 pm
@nolanje80 You don´t think men is completely evil? Our nature is corrupted, why do you think we lie? why do you think we abuse of others? why do you see we see in the news that some man killed his wife? Simple, "Evil lies within man, whose nature is inherently depraved." Golding couldn´t be any closer to the truth.
442tom said...
Sept. 9, 2014 at 9:26 pm
That's a well written and well thought-out opinion!  It seems to me though, that your opinion may only be accurate on a relative scale - comparing one human to another.  Some humans are good relative to other humans, and others are bad relative to other humans.  How about in comparison to God?  Sure, no one is as bad as they could be, but compared to him is anyone "good"?  Think about it, and thanks again for taking the time to think about this whole topic ... (more »)
nolanje80 said...
Dec. 4, 2012 at 3:08 pm
thank you so much for reading!
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