Inherent Darkness: 'Lord of the Flies' Analysis

Categories: Lord Of The Flies


"Lord of the Flies," a timeless allegorical novel by William Golding, delves into the primal nature of humanity and the tension between civilization and savagery. As a group of young boys becomes marooned on a deserted island, their gradual descent into chaos and brutality unveils a chilling truth—the existence of inherent evil within mankind. This essay dissects the narrative of "Lord of the Flies," examining the evidence that underscores the argument for man's intrinsic capacity for darkness.

The Allure of Power and Dominance

As the boys establish a makeshift society on the island, the allure of power and dominance emerges as a driving force.

The election of a leader and the establishment of rules initially reflect their adherence to civilized norms. However, as the story unfolds, this veneer quickly erodes, revealing the boys' willingness to seize power through manipulation and aggression.

Jack, initially a choirboy, transforms into a symbol of primal brutality. His thirst for control over the group leads to the formation of a faction that embraces savagery.

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The descent into chaos is exemplified by the transformation of the boys into hunters, indulging in violence and cruelty in pursuit of power over their peers.

The Erosion of Morality

The novel explores the erosion of moral constraints when removed from societal influence. The boys' abandonment of ethical norms and values is evident in their treatment of the conch, a symbol of order and civilization. As the story progresses, the conch's significance diminishes, mirroring the diminishing hold of morality.

The brutal murder of Simon, mistaken for the beast, further exemplifies the erosion of moral boundaries.

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The boys' frenzy and inability to recognize their own actions reveal the depths of their primal impulses, as fear and hysteria override their humanity.

The Beast Within

Throughout "Lord of the Flies," the concept of the "beast" is a recurring motif that mirrors the inherent evil lurking within the boys. Initially perceived as an external threat, the beast ultimately represents the darkness within each individual—a reflection of their deepest fears and desires.

The figure of the "Lord of the Flies," a severed pig's head on a stick, embodies this internal evil. As Simon confronts the head in a hallucination, it taunts him with the truth that the evil is inherent in all humans. The subsequent brutal murder of Simon by the other boys underlines this disturbing realization.

The Collapse of Reason

As the narrative unfolds, reason and rationality succumb to the allure of instinct and chaos. The boys' increasing detachment from the norms of civilization culminates in the tragic death of Piggy. His murder, orchestrated by Roger, showcases the complete abandonment of reason and the unchecked brutality that prevails.

Moreover, the climax of the novel—Ralph's desperate flight from the hunters—is marked by the shocking willingness of the boys to set the island ablaze in pursuit of his destruction. This symbolic act marks the culmination of their descent into primal barbarism, emphasizing the victory of instinct over reason.


"Lord of the Flies" serves as a haunting exploration of the inherent evil that resides within mankind. The gradual unraveling of civilization, the erosion of morality, and the descent into chaos all underscore the argument that beneath the veneer of society lies a primal nature capable of brutality.

By delving into the darkness that emerges when societal constraints are removed, Golding forces readers to confront uncomfortable truths about human nature. The novel serves as a stark reminder that the potential for evil is not external but resides within each individual—a reminder that humankind's capacity for darkness is a force that must be acknowledged and understood.

Updated: Feb 26, 2024
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Inherent Darkness: 'Lord of the Flies' Analysis. (2024, Feb 26). Retrieved from

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