According to William Golding, “Man produces evil as a bee produces honey”. This quote encompasses one of the major themes of Lord of the Flies, man’s innate capacity for immorality and savagery. Throughout the novel Golding utilizes symbolism as well as the obstacles Ralph faces to identify his responsibility to protect his peers’ wellbeing, and civil nature.
From the beginning of the novel one major theme is presented, that man will always be inherently evil in nature. Ralph is the main deterrent to this savagery representing civility and order, whereas Jack, the antagonist, represents evil and uncontrolled brutality. Ralph immediately displays the ideas of civilization by becoming chief and delegating roles to individuals. “Seems to me we ought to have a chief to decide things.”…“Jack’s in charge of the choir. They can be — what do you want them to be?’ ‘Hunters”. This first decision by Jack to make the choir a group of hunters shows the difference in ideals between him and Ralph. Hunting implies the death and bloodshed which eventually leads to the creation of an insatiable bloodlust in the boys who participate. The boys then start to become invested in a being called “The Beast”.
The beast is a figment of the boy’s imagination, things that they think they see in the night. Jack sees the beast as a giant ape, and some of the other boys describe it as something with teeth and eyes. A boy named Simon later discovers a pig’s head on a stake. The pig talks to him and says “Fancy thinking the Beast was something you could hunt and kill!”…“You knew, didn’t you? I’m part of you?” This statement implies that the “Beast” is not a beast at all, but something deep within every person. The fact that it is deep inside every human being means that it cannot be hunted and killed, but that it will always be there as a part of the human nature. Jack uses this idea of a “Beast” to distract the other boys and to focus on to focus on hunting. This change in focus distracts the boys from the idea of civilization and draws them more into savagery.
Eventually, the hunting is not just for sustenance and turns into a ritual to satisfy their desire for bloodshed. The children take part in dances and chants such as “Kill the pig. Cut her throat. Spill her blood.” This chant has some changes throughout their time on the island and displays how the children delve further into their inner darkness. The chant eventually turns into “Kill the beast! Cut his throat! Spill his blood!” when the boys take part in the killing of Simon. Ralph fails to stop the boys’ from killing Simon standing by and watching the murder take place. At this moment Ralph loses all or any control he had left over the boys, failing his responsibility to them.
In Lord of the Flies Golding makes a statement on human nature and how it is controlled by society and its constructs. The absence of society ultimately results in animal instinct superseding morals. Ralph being unable to control this resulted in his failure as a leader. This shows that societal constructs do not eliminate the evil within humans, but only masks it.