Macbeth by Shakespeare and Lord of the Flies by William Golding have much to say about man’s sinful nature. Both of these works contain scenes in which main characters die; their deaths come about because of their sinful nature or the sinful nature of others around them. Man’s sinful nature is revealed through the thoughts and actions of the characters of these works. The authors show through their works their belief that if everybody revealed their true natures, the world would tear itself apart.
In both works, evil is revealed by the telling actions of the characters. In Lord of the Flies, the boys’ society starts to fall apart as Jack becomes less and less civilized and the other boys gradually follow his example. Only Simon is the truly innocent one; even Ralph and Piggy expose their evil nature when they help the other boys kill Simon. Besides the murders of Simon and Piggy, evil is also demonstrated through the scenes when the pig is killed, Piggy’s glasses are stolen, and the conch shell is smashed. In Macbeth, man’s sinful nature is seen quite early in the story when Lady Macbeth urges her husband to kill the king after he is told a prophecy that he will become king. Though Macbeth is reluctant at first, then horrified at the murder he has committed, his pride and greed get the better of him. He starts killing more people, including women and children, and even attempts to kill his good friend Banquo. Though Macbeth started out good, his evil nature conquered in the end.
Though they both demonstrate man’s sinful nature, the books end in very different ways. In Macbeth, Macbeth dies by the hand of his enemy, and his wife dies by her own hand. In Lord of the Flies, the boys are rescued just as Ralph is about to be killed. However, in both books the sin problem is never controlled. Shakespeare never suggests in his work that Malcolm will become corrupt or that someone else will seize the throne. However, it is in the nature of man to be corrupt, and eventually something like Macbeth’s usurpation of the throne would happen again. On the other hand, Golding lays heavy emphasis on the suggestion that all men are sinful, not just boys marooned on an island. He shows this by adding the naval officer and his ship into the story.
The Bible has much to say about man’s sinful nature. In Romans 3:23, it states: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Luke 18:13 says this: “…’God, have mercy on me, a sinner.'” Everybody has a sinful nature; our hearts are corrupted and full of greed. Macbeth and Lord of the Flies show how incredibly far away our sins can take us from God’s love and grace. As the Luke passage proves, however, God will always have mercy on us, no matter how far we have strayed from him. Macbeth, unfortunately, never changed- he stayed wicked until the end. On the other hand, Ralph and the other boys most likely did change their evil ways when they went back to civilization. If we never return to God and refuse to have anything to do with him, like Macbeth, he will have no choice but to punish us. However, if we turn from our sinful ways like Ralph, God will welcome us back with open arms.
Both Macbeth and Lord of the Flies speak volumes about the problem of man’s sinful nature. Though they seem like innocent stories at first, the reader gradually realizes that the authors are, in fact, speaking about the entire human population. Both authors are making a single point: All humans have a sinful nature, and if it were given free rein, mankind would destroy itself.