Pessimistic Views on Human Nature in Lord of the Flies

Categories: Human Nature


Authors often use their literary works to articulate their philosophies on human nature and the inherent "ways of life" exhibited by individuals. William Golding, in his novel Lord of the Flies, constructs a narrative that serves as a canvas for portraying his views on human nature. The intense plotline unfolds on a deserted island, where young boys find themselves stranded, attempting to survive with limited resources. As time progresses, the veneer of civilization peels away, revealing the darker aspects of human behavior and society.

The Fragmentation of Unity: Divide and Barbarism

In the initial stages of the story, the boys unite under a common goal of survival. However, as the narrative unfolds, differing opinions on the strategies for survival emerge, leading to divisions within the group. These divisions culminate in altercations, and the boys gradually devolve into barbaric behaviors. Golding utilizes imagery to depict the characters as cruel, embodying a pessimistic view of human nature.

A poignant example of this brutality is evident in the constant mistreatment of Piggy by Jack.

Get quality help now
Doctor Jennifer
Doctor Jennifer
checked Verified writer

Proficient in: Human Nature

star star star star 5 (893)

“ Thank you so much for accepting my assignment the night before it was due. I look forward to working with you moving forward ”

avatar avatar avatar
+84 relevant experts are online
Hire writer

In a heated disagreement, Jack physically assaults Piggy, emphasizing the breakdown of moral compass and respect within the group. Golding's pessimistic view is starkly illustrated: the boys lose their sense of right and wrong, descending into a state of moral chaos and cruelty.

The Descent into Savagery: Jack's Transformation

Jack's character undergoes a significant transformation over time, deviating from humane behavior and embracing a more primal and vicious nature. His violent tendencies become a manifestation of the inherent brutality in the absence of societal norms.

Get to Know The Price Estimate For Your Paper
Number of pages
Email Invalid email

By clicking “Check Writers’ Offers”, you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy. We’ll occasionally send you promo and account related email

"You must agree to out terms of services and privacy policy"
Write my paper

You won’t be charged yet!

The novel portrays Jack's descent into savagery, highlighting Golding's cynical portrayal of human nature devoid of the civilizing influence of society.

Another instance of Golding's view on human nature is reflected in the treatment of the littluns. Roger, an older boy, callously throws a stone at Henry, a younger child, without provocation. This act of physical harm, driven by an absence of discipline and societal rules, showcases Golding's assertion that, without external constraints, humans are prone to behaving like wild animals, delighting in the torment of others.

Stripped of Humanity: The Apex of Cruelty

The pinnacle of cruelty surfaces towards the end when the boys, stripped of their humane qualities, engage in sadistic acts. Jack orders the boys to tie up Wilfred, expressing a gratuitous desire to inflict harm. The boys, motivated by fear and the absence of moral guidance, comply with Jack's cruelty, revealing the dark core of human nature when devoid of societal constraints. Golding, through this act, underscores the inherent malevolence within individuals.

Collectively, these instances of cruelty emphasize Golding's assertion that human nature, in its raw form, is pessimistic and negative. The absence of societal norms allows the boys to regress into primitive behavior, resulting in a cascade of negative events. Golding dismantles the veneer of civilization, offering a stark portrayal of humanity's natural traits.

Conclusion: The Dark Core of Human Nature

In conclusion, William Golding's Lord of the Flies serves as a canvas for his pessimistic views on human nature. The narrative unfolds on a deserted island, exposing the unraveling of societal norms and the descent into barbarism. The author employs vivid imagery to depict cruelty and violence, illustrating the breakdown of morality when individuals are left unchecked. Golding's portrayal of the boys' regression into savagery underscores his belief in the inherently negative aspects of human nature when confronted with the absence of societal constraints. Lord of the Flies, with its exploration of primal instincts and moral decay, stands as a compelling commentary on the fragility of civilization and the dark core that lies beneath the surface of human nature.

Updated: Nov 30, 2023
Cite this page

Pessimistic Views on Human Nature in Lord of the Flies. (2016, Nov 13). Retrieved from

Pessimistic Views on Human Nature in Lord of the Flies essay
Live chat  with support 24/7

👋 Hi! I’m your smart assistant Amy!

Don’t know where to start? Type your requirements and I’ll connect you to an academic expert within 3 minutes.

get help with your assignment