Lord of the Flies: Character Archetypes of Protagonists

June 22, 2022 by Essay Writer

Think of the biggest crises on earth, when civilization was falling. For example, when the stock market crashed, everyone was thrown into chaos and fear. However, within these times of chaos and fear, people often find their true nature. In the book Lord of the Flies, Roger and Piggy change through chaos and fear when trapped on an island with several dozens of other boys after a devastating plane crash. Without rules or someone to take charge, they transform from their civilized ways into uncivilized chaos. Soon, rival groups – or “tribes” – formed, and a war began between Jack’s tribe, which included Roger, and Ralph’s tribe, which included Piggy. It wasn’t until a British naval officer finds them at the island that the boys stop the war and go back to a form of civilized life because order was finally found again. Within this story, readers may see through the book how Roger and Piggy have changed. In the novel, Lord of the Flies by William Golding, Roger best fits the character archetype shapeshifter, and Piggy, as the mentor, shows that, when people are outside of civilization, their true nature and new roles as people come out.

Roger best represents the character archetype Shapeshifter; a shapeshifter is someone who changes from the beginning of a book to the end of a book. In the beginning of Lord of the Flies, Roger was timid, often keeping things to himself without acting in a way that would suggest an ability to cause any harm. For example, when walking through the woods one day, he started throwing rocks toward another boy but made sure that the rocks missed the boy. Specifically, “Roger stooped, picked up a stone, aimed, and threw it at Henry-threw it to miss” (62). Roger fits the shapeshifter archetype so well because you can see it through this timid action and playful mischief. Roger sometimes led others to believe that he presented little trouble to them.

However, Roger’s personality changed as the book continued. For instance, later when Roger was standing on a mountain watching Ralph and Piggy talk to Jack, Roger felt a sense of power within him and pushed a boulder down the mountain straight at Piggy, “Some source of power began to pulse in Roger’s body” (175). Through this type of change, Roger fits the shapeshifter archetype because he goes from a feeling of no power, with a quiet, reserved way about him, to a feeling of power, not afraid to state his opinion and take action against others. The power that he felt led to this, “High overhead, Roger, with a sense of delirious abandonment, leaned all his weight on the lever. Ralph heard the great rock before he saw it” (180). In this, Roger let the boulder fly, heading towards Piggy, “The rock struck Piggy a glancing blow from chin to knee” (181). Roger’s shapeshifter role is also depicted by the way that Roger shifted from working for Ralph early in the book to later supporting Jack’s tribe. Starting with the killing of Piggy, Roger played a big role in creating a war between the two tribes. He went from a person who kept to himself without trying to cause harm to acting with a sense of power as he took action that he knew would lead to a lot of trouble for others. Because Roger fits the shapeshifter character archetype so well, it shows just how true it is that when people are left outside of civilization, their new roles as people come out.

Another character that fits a certain archetype is Piggy. The archetype that he fits is the Mentor, since Piggy fits the mentor archetype so well, the book shows that when someone is put outside of civilization, they change and develop. A mentor is someone who teaches something to the main character in the novel. The mentor also is often first misunderstood, and later, the characters that doubted them, realize that the character was right. The last thing about the mentor, is they may also may suffer from the knowledge they have. After making fun of Piggy, and laughing at him, Ralph, Jack, and a boy named Simon are about to go explore the island, while they are talking, Piggy comes up behind them and says this to Ralph, “About being called Piggy. I said I didn’t care as long as they didn’t call me Piggy; an’ I said not to tell and then you went and’ said straight out-” (25). This shows Piggy was an outcast from the beginning, because the boys focused on his physical appearance, and not the actual knowledge that he had. They misunderstood him, and looked over him.

Another time Piggy showed himself as the character archetype Mentor, was when Jack called an assembly to tell everyone that he was leaving Ralph’s tribe and going to make his own, but while he’s explaining that he’s leaving, he talks about what Ralph does, “He’s like Piggy. He says things like Piggy. He isn’t a proper chief” (126). In this, Jack talks about how Ralph acts and says things like Piggy does, this shows how Piggy trains and aids Ralph. He does this because Ralph started to see Piggy for his knowledge, and now understands him for who he is. Later in the book, when Ralph is running away from Jack and his tribe, and is rushing, thinking of what to do. He thinks of the sensible thing to do. “What was the sensible thing to do? There was no Piggy to talk sense” (196). This shows how everyone looked over Piggy’s knowledge and laughed at him because of his appearance. However, now Ralph thinks about what Piggy would do because he’s sensible, unlike Jack and his tribe, by only focusing on hunting. Ralph and all the other boys say that Piggy was wrong just because of his appearance. However, Ralph throughout the book realized Piggy’s intelligence, and realizes that Piggy was right for everything. Piggy shows the mentor archetype so well; it shows that when people are outside of civilization their new roles as people are revealed.

In Lord of the Flies, by William Golding, Roger represents the character archetype Shapeshifter, and Piggy as the Mentor. Throughout the book Roger changes as well as his portrayal. The opinions about Piggy change dramatically. These changes between the two show that when one is placed outside of civilization, their roles as people change, and their true nature is revealed. Nowadays, society people cover up their uncivilized ways, under uniforms like the one the naval officer that saved the boys had, and within their true self, it is revealed that they have a different nature than what they show daily.

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