Lord of the flies has been called “a fable in which the characters are symbols for abstract ideas,” and there are many ways in which the characters can be viewed. One way, for instance, is comparing them to Sigmund Freud’s theory of id, ego, and superego: the boys being like a metaphorical person, where Jack is the id, Ralph the ego, and Piggy the superego. It is an appropriate allegation because of the fact that id, ego, and superego all have specific traits that match those of these three characters.
The id wants, with no consideration for the reality of the situation. In the beginning of the novel we are shown Jack marching his choirboys across the beach in the way a militia leader would, making them halt and stand to. Already we are shown the image of a boy who loves, and wants, power. We see it in the way he demands and commands. Jack is the type of person who throws a tantrum when he doesn’t get exactly what he wants. He is always sticking his knife into a tree in a fit of rage, or trying to prove himself in some way.
When he see’s he can’t be leader he tries to make up for his own feelings of inadequacy by proving that he can hunt and kill a pig. He does this to try and show the rest of the tribe his talents and qualities. Most all human beings have a basic desire to rise up, prove themselves and win praise and happiness, which is apart of their id. In Jacks case he craves power and attention and he will, by all means necessary, achieve it. Unlike Jack, we see Ralph: the ego. The ego is a persons own morals and standards that hold the id in check.
In a way it is one’s personal Jiminy Cricket. Ralph knows right from wrong very well and we can see he has been raised to have virtuous morals by the way he acts towards the others on the island. When he left piggy to go explore with the two other boys, you could tell immediately that he had a moral conflict by the way that he quickly ran back to piggy to apologize. This shows that Ralph has a deep sense of principle, which is one of his best leadership qualities. When Piggy’s glasses were stolen, Ralph was upset that Jack no longer had morals and standards, like he did.
He was also upset that Jack’s id had taken over most of the group and that they gave into their most basic, savage instincts. As the id, Ralph keeps Jack in check, and stands between him and Piggy, who happens to be the superego. The superego is considered society’s morals and standards that one must conform to. The superego goes hand-in-hand with the ego to try and keep the id in check. Here Piggy is like Ralph “right hand man”. Piggy is constantly reminding everyone that they should behave like mature adults act properly even though the grownups aren’t around.
The little ones are always running about and messing around leaving the older children to build the shelter and the fire and gather wood and water. Piggy talks about what the grownups would do and how they should do everything like that. Lord of the Flies proves to be a novel of many abstract ideas. Though Golding may not have meant to allude to Freud’s id, ego, and superego theory in his novel, there certainly were many suggestions and many ways to interoperate the characters and their actions.