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What is the Importance of the Beast in ‘Lord of the Flies’?

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The novel ‘Lord of the Flies’ is written by the author William Golding to reflect what he saw was happening to the world during the Second World War. The novel shows that humans have an inner savagery playing in the mind behind all that civilised well being.

The island which children all inhabit is very important in what happens in the novel. The island is isolated to reflect the earth as a microcosm and show what humans can do left to their own devices.

When the children first crash land on the island, the island is shown as a place which is like paradise.

‘The shore was fledged with palm trees. These stood or leaned or reclined against the light and their green feathers were hundred feet up in the air.’

‘the water was a thin bow-stave, endless apparently.’

As the novel progresses and the children become more savage like and brave enough to start exploring the island slowly changes into a more dark and viscous place,

‘Then the sleeping leviathan breathed out-the waters rose, the weed streamed, and the water boiled over the table rock with a roar. There was no sense of the passage waves;’

This change in the environment which the boys inhabit is stated in the language Golding uses describe it. In the first quote for when the island appeared to be so calm the trees ‘leaned or reclined against the light’ which clearly tells the reader that the island is very peaceful. Then when the island changes the dramatically, the mood of the language changes too. As in the second quote the there becomes a very ‘leviathan’ where the water is ‘boiled’ and also the sea is hitting the rocks with a massive ‘roar’.

Golding deliberately did this to make the reader get a good understanding and feel of what is happening to the island, so the reader will know how it would feel to be on the island and to signal the rising dominance of the beast.

The island is also sectioned into two main parts, the light and dark. On the dark side is the castle, high cliffs and so on. On the light part of the island is the beach side. Everything bad that happens on the island takes place on the dark side of the island such as Piggy’s death.

‘Piggy fell forty feet and landed on his back across that square red rock in the sea.’ ‘the boiled white and pink over the rock; and when it went, sucking back again, the body of Piggy was gone.’

Also as the children start to split they seem to take up different parts of the island. Jack and the ‘savage’ hunters settle in the castle which is the dark side where as Ralph and friends stay on the beach side.

‘Ralph climbed onto the platform carefully. The coarse grass was still worn away where the assembly used to sit.’

‘Far off along the bowstave of beach, three figures trotted towards the Castle Rock. They kept away from the forest and down by the water. Occasionally they sang softly; occasionally they turned cartwheels down by the moving streak of phosphorescence. The chief led them,’

The island is isolated because it is an allegory. The novel is an allegory because it delivers a deep meaning. Since Golding wrote the book to reflect what he saw was happening to the world during the Second World War and what he thought was the cause. Also it’s an allegory because allegory isn’t meant to be realistic as they’re only written to provide a moral in any way they can. In the real world we live in now, what are the chances of a plane crashing on an island, in the middle of nowhere and also in the plane crash all the adults on board happen to die and only children survive?

The children turn from civilised people with rules to savages without rules. Soon as the boys have gathered they seem to have a need to set up law and order as they had in England, ‘vote for a chief’ ‘We have rules!’ which Ralph puts forward to the group and he uses the conch as a way to have the freedom of speech as if it was the islands very own democracy. All the boys at that time agree with this idea even Jack.

Jack was on his feet.

‘We’ll have rules!’ he cried excitedly. ‘Lots of rules!’

This shows that Jack at the time was quite civilised even though that he had a hidden agenda and was willing to have rules. Through Jack getting ‘on his feet’ and shouting out that he wanted ‘lots of rules!’ clearly shows that he wanted to be the one that making the rule and he wanted to be in charge.

The Beast starts to come out when a littun says he saw a ‘snake thing’ on the island. But the bigger children like Ralph deny it by saying that you wouldn’t get things like that on an island that size.

By the littun describing the creature when it is first seen as a ‘snake thing’ it is clear to the reader that this creature will be the destruction of them all. Golding did this so that the reader can relate this ‘snake thing’ to the snake in the bible which manipulated Adam and Eve into eating the apple from the tree of wisdom and so destroying the wonderful and peaceful world that they had.

As more encounters with the beast become known all the bigger children seem to get different ideas on what it is and how to tackle it.

Jack’s tremendous desire to hunt and kill living things takes him on a hunt to kill what he thinks is the beast which brings out all the savagery man has to offer. This soon consumes him with all evil.

Piggy with his wide minded thoughts seems to want to find rational route to tackling the beast.

Ralph is some where in between the other two as he doesn’t want to have anything thing to do with the beast as he fears is. This way he tends to follow what Jack says on a few occasions.

For these reasons Jack and his hunters cut away from Ralph, Piggy and Simon. As Jack persuades the littuns to come and follow him using their fears to persuade them.

‘I’ve called an assembly,’ said Jack, ‘because of a lot of things. First-you know now, we’ve seen the beast. We crawled up. We were only a feet away.’

‘Who thinks Ralph oughtn’t to be chief?’

In Jack calling an assembly of which he purposely called to take control of the island and instate himself as the chief. Shows that Jack had been overwhelmed by the dark and savage side of him, as he was very much willing to have rules and abide by them at first and now he is very strongly trying to break in order to let his savageness go free.

Jack Had found out what the children fear most which the Beast. Since the littuns all think that the Beast is a thing that is going to harm them. This can be explained better by using recent events that really happened. Take for instance what happened to the World Trade Centres, it was a horrific tragedy cause by global terrorism. This affected the American people bad. Their leader President George W Bush knew this so used it for his own benefits. He ordered invasions on Afghanistan and Iraq, giving his reason for this as in order to protect the American people from such terrorists events from ever happening again in America they have no choice but to do it.

Right from the start the beast is known to be a thing that will be the down fall of them all.

‘He wants to know what you’re going to about the snake-thing.’

‘Now he says it was a beastie.’


‘A snake-thing. Ever so big. He saw it’


‘In the woods.’

A small boy says he saw a ‘Beastie’ he described it as a snake-thing which brings the thought that it could have a biblical meaning. Since in the bible a deceiving snake is the down fall of Adam and Eve. It gives them an apple which they know they’re not meant to it eats.

This symbol of the beast being a snake like creature shows that the beast is something that will get to them by any means such as deceiving them into doing things. This explains why they killed Simon when they did. As his death came to him when he found out what the beast really was and so was very tragic.

Simon was the only one out of all them to know that the ‘beast’ was not a creature. He knew that it couldn’t harm them in the way they thought. He found out what everyone meant by ‘beast’. It’s fear and evil which is in everyone locked away by rules and laws of the civil world.

Golding gives the reader a clue that Jack’s choir will be evil as the novel goes by. The choir is described as a bat like creature.

‘black, bat like creature that danced on the sand.’

As Jack’s Choir from the outset of the novel is described as being a ‘black. bat like creature’ to the reader it indicates straight away that the choir is going to be evil. Through the Choir being described in this it is easy to know what Golding wanted the reader to think of the choir, as a bat symbolises darkness and mysteriousness, which can clearly seen from what happening to the choir later on in the novel. Take Roger for instance he is the most savage and inhumane person on the island as he shows no remorse for killing Piggy. He commits the one and only death that is actually intended.

Roger is the only member of the choir never to follow any rules. Roger from the outset is pure evil. He even kills without respect for anything,

‘full of sweat and noise and blood and terror. Roger ran round the heap, prodding his spear whenever pigflesh appeared.’

As the book is meant to reflect what Golding saw was happening in the world at the time of the Second World War the Jack and his choir have many similarities to Adolph Hitler and his henchmen. Jack of course represents Hitler, which can be seen in the way he coordinates his meeting. Jack in his meeting likes to be at the front of his meetings and then have everyone else in a line in front of him. Jack is very narrow minded and wants himself to be the only one that can speak; he also doesn’t like people to try and point out things or have a view in matters. Jack’s personality can be noticed when we first meet Jack and his choir.

‘let him lie. Merridew, his eyes staring, made the best of a bad job.

‘All right then. Sit down. Let him alone.’

‘But Merridew.’

‘He’s always throwing a faint.’

After Jack himself comes Roger who can be compared to Hitler’s most trusted henchman Himler who in the Second World War sends millions of innocent Jews to their death. Sure Hitler was the Nazi party leader but he didn’t actually commit the War crimes himself he just told Himler to do it. Himler was more even then Hitler as he killed all the innocent Jews in the concentration camps. He was an uncontrollable savage who did anything that he needed to do without any care or compassion and respect. This event can be compared to where Roger Jack’s Henchman who without caring second thought intently kills Piggy by releasing the rock which then kills Piggy.

‘suddenly Jack bounded up the tribe began screaming wildly.’

I can therefore conclude that the beast is very important in this novel. It contributes to the group splitting up. First of all it splits them into the ‘bigguns’ and ‘littuns’ from when the little boy says he saw the beastie. Then separates Jack from Ralph’s way of thinking. This beastie as they call it manipulates them into thinking that there is something on the island which is after them. This makes the children even more scared and fearful. They start to think evil and lose touch of the rules in the so called civil world they left.

When one of them does find out what the beast really is which is the fear and evil which every man on the planet contains even to this day, he faces his death straight after.

If little children can do this to themselves then imagine what adults can do. Adults are no better, if everyone was so civilised then why have there been so many wars in the history on the planet?

These days’ world leaders use fear of evil to justify war, which in real fact is still immoral savagery. Killing a human just to save another is no way civil. If this is happening right now how long can we go on like this? Sooner or later this beast will take over the world wouldn’t it? It’s only a matter of time.

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