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Allegory in Lord of the Flies

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A discussion of the allegories presented in William Golding's The Lord of the Flies

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Allegory in Lord of the Flies

  1. 1. Allegory inAllegory in The Lord of the FliesThe Lord of the Flies By William GoldingBy William Golding Political, Psychological andPolitical, Psychological and Religious allegory within the novelReligious allegory within the novel
  2. 2. Definition of AllegoryDefinition of Allegory • ALLEGORY: “A story in which people, things and actions represent an idea or generalization about life; allegories often have a strong moral lesson. “ • Often, characters in allegories personify some abstract quality.
  3. 3. Political AllegoryPolitical Allegory
  4. 4. Political AllegoryPolitical Allegory • As a political allegory we need only to look at the state of the world at the end of World War II. The world was divided into two camps the free world and the Soviet Union much like the camps of Ralph and Jack.
  5. 5. Political AllegoryPolitical Allegory • In addition the postwar Cold War Era suffered from fears of atomic destruction. Lord of the Flies shows the world at the brink of atomic destruction. The novel serves as a warning to the leaders of the world.
  6. 6. Political AllegoryPolitical Allegory • Ralph’s conch symbolizes power and authority, like a crown for a king or Excalibur to King Arthur.
  7. 7. Political AllegoryPolitical Allegory • The conch also symbolizes order and rule of law.
  8. 8. Political AllegoryPolitical Allegory • Piggy represents (in part) the position of Prime Minister – the intelligent advisor to the crown / king. • The “assemblies” represent governmental structure and debate, such as parliament.
  9. 9. Political AllegoryPolitical Allegory • Jack and the choir represent, in part, the government / social organizations that maintain control, but that can also get out of control (military / religion). This may particularly reference the Nazis of WWII.
  10. 10. Political AllegoryPolitical Allegory • “The Beast” might represent the imagined external threats that justify the loss of law and order or lost civil rights • Ex: Scapegoating in Nazi Germany or Demonizing the U.S. for the U.S.S.R.
  11. 11. Political AllegoryPolitical Allegory • Samneric represent members of society who have trouble “acting independently” and might change opinions or sides rapidly and without warning. They follow the strongest leader.
  12. 12. Freudian / Psychological AllegoryFreudian / Psychological Allegory
  13. 13. FreudianFreudian AllegoryAllegory • As a Freudian psychological allegory the characters in the novel personify the different aspects of the human psyche: the id, the super ego, and the ego.
  14. 14. FreudianFreudian AllegoryAllegory • Jack represents the “id”. This is the part of the unconscious mind that works always to gratify its own impulse.
  15. 15. FreudianFreudian AllegoryAllegory • Piggy is the “superego”. This is the part of the mind that seeks to control the impulsive behavior of the id. Piggy always reminds Ralph and the others of their responsibilities.
  16. 16. FreudianFreudian AllegoryAllegory • Ralph is the “ego”. He is the conscious mind that mediates between the id's demand for pleasure and the social pressures brought to bear by the superego.
  17. 17. Freudian AllegoryFreudian Allegory • The “iceberg” of Freudian psychology:
  18. 18. Religious AllegoryReligious Allegory
  19. 19. Religious AllegoryReligious Allegory • Finally, The Lord of the Flies is a religious allegory referencing the garden of Eden.
  20. 20. Religious AllegoryReligious Allegory • “And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.” Genesis 2:8-9
  21. 21. Religious AllegoryReligious Allegory • It was a perfect island with good food, good weather and good water.
  22. 22. Religious AllegoryReligious Allegory • “The Parachutist” (later) and Piggy represent The Fall of Mankind.
  23. 23. Religious AllegoryReligious Allegory  The Fall has become a metaphor for any fall from a favorable place.  It is the Biblical explanation for why life can never be perfect for humanity.  It refers specifically to Adam and Eve’s (original humans and representatives of humanity) fall from God’s grace as a response to their disobedience of God’s strict orders to avoid the fruit of the “tree of knowledge.”
  24. 24. Religious AllegoryReligious Allegory • “The Beast” is the snake in the garden that lures (tricks) the others to not hold up to their duty.
  25. 25. Religious AllegoryReligious Allegory  So the LORD God said to the serpent, "Because you have done this, "Cursed are you above all the livestock and all the wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life.  And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel." Genesis 3:1-24
  26. 26. Religious AllegoryReligious Allegory • Jack could also represent Biblical figures such as: – Judas: who betrayed Christ and condemned him to death for 30 pieces of silver (greed / jealousy).
  27. 27. Religious AllegoryReligious Allegory • Matthew 27:3-5 • When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty silver coins to the chief priests and the elders. "I have sinned," he said, "for I have betrayed innocent blood." "What is that to us?" they replied. "That's your responsibility." So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself.
  28. 28. Religious AllegoryReligious Allegory • Jack could also represent Biblical figures such as: – Lucifer: the archangel who was cast out of heaven for his war with God – He was one of the greatest of the angels. He rebelled against God and was hurled from heaven down to hell where he became Satan, the Devil and the incarnation of evil who ruled over the demons of hell.
  29. 29. Religious AllegoryReligious Allegory • The name Lucifer comes from a Latin translation of Isaiah 14:12, in which the Babylonian king is linked to a fallen Morning Star call in Latin Lucer ferre “bearer of light” • Milton elaborated the story of Satan in Paradise Lost – In the following quote, Satan laments his loss and attempts to sooth himself in rationale: – “The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heav’n of hell, a hell of heav’n.” – His bitterness is obvious in a later quote: “Better to reign in hell, than serve in heav’n.”
  30. 30. Religious AllegoryReligious Allegory • Jack and Ralph are very much like Cain and Abel.
  31. 31. Religious AllegoryReligious Allegory • Cain slew (Murdered) his brother Abel in the first “fratricide” (“brother killing”). • A mark was put upon his head (Mulberry birthmark kid that they kill?) and the man was cursed to wander friendless. • Per God’s command, no one can kill Cain or they will suffer “seven times over” the murder of Cain. • Who is killed in the first signal fire, due to the boys’ neglect?
  32. 32. Religious AllegoryReligious Allegory • 9 Then the LORD said to Cain, "Where is your brother Abel?" "I don't know," he replied. "Am I my brother's"Am I my brother's keeper?"keeper?" • 10 The LORD said, "What have you done? Listen! Your brother's blood cries out to me from the groundblood cries out to me from the ground. • 11 Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother's blood from your hand. • 12 When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth."
  33. 33. Religious AllegoryReligious Allegory • Simon is a Christ figure who…? – Feeds the children / takes care of others (Littluns / Piggy)? – Is tested / tempted? – Confronts evil? – Frees man from death (the parachutist)? – Suffers?
  34. 34. Religious AllegoryReligious Allegory • Even the title, The Lord of the Flies is derived from the Hebrew word “Beezlebub” who was the prince of devils and demons.
  35. 35. Religious AllegoryReligious Allegory • Beezlebub or Ba'alzebub's name derives from the Canaanite "Baal" meaning "lord," and he is known as the Lord of the Flies. • The boys on the island are often described with fly-like behavior and actions (Ex: The boys “buzzed”). • Nobel Laureate T.S. Elliot helped William Golding select the title.