The Savagery of Civilization as Depicted in Lord of the Flies
“Things are breaking up. I don’t understand why. We began well; we were happy”. A group of schoolboys who were dropped on an island to fend for themselves without adult supervision. A beast who crept within the forest or in depth of their soul. In The Lord of the Flies, William Golding uses the characters to represent Freud’s ID, Ego, and Superego, and these characters symbolize what occurs in civilization.
Golding uses Jack to symbolize savagery in civilization through his ID actions. For example, Jack punches piggy and breaks his glasses: ‘Jack smacked Piggy’s head. Piggy’s glasses flew off and tinkled on the rocks'(Golding 71). In Freud’s psychoanalytic criticism, he talks about the ‘Desire for instant gratification or release'(Freud Id) that stems from the ID. His actions would explain his impulses to punch Piggy and his desire to be above him. Jack is a symbol of savagery which would indicate what would happen in a civilization. The maliciousness that comes from him represents wrongful ideals of human society, such as vicious, violent murder. Golding uses Jack to express that there is corruption in society.
Ralph symbolizes authority and powers within a civilization. According to Freud, the ego is that someone who is ‘Balance between our impulses( our id) and our conscience( our superego'(Freud Ego). Ralph’s balance begins as an Id where he mocks piggy’s size and slowly developing into Freud’s three personalities. Along with his ID personality, there was also his superego. For example, when Ralph defends Piggy for when Jack punches him. ‘That was a dirty trick'(Golding 90), so Ralph stands for what he believes which is helping the needy. The event expresses what kind of character Ralph represents. A character who is not afraid to go against wrongdoing. Lastly but not the least, Ralph showing his authoritative power through his ego persona. Ralph’s authoritative mannerism is spotted when he constructs rules, building huts, resolving problems, setting up meetings, and increasing their chances of being rescued. It shows him as a dedicated leader who wants the best for his tribe. Jack advise the tribe to looks ‘after the fire…. Where the conch is, that’s a meeting. The same up here as down there'(Golding 2). Authority within in our civilization is part of everyday life from school, work, to social places. The jurisdiction is established by a superior. Golding uses Ralph to set up what authority is in part of society.
Lastly, the character that completes Freud’s three personalities is Simon, a character who is well known for his caring nurture even to his death. Golding uses Simon to express the goodness in humanity. Simon is a representation of a superego. According to Freud, that is when a ‘Moral and ethical restraints placed on us by our caregivers. It dictates our belief of right and wrong”(Freud Superego). For instance, when Simon expresses the beast as ‘ What I mean is…maybe it’s only us'(Golding 89), he is trying to explain that it is not physically there, but within us. As it proves, him being conscious of what is happening with the beast. n to symbolize that there is good in humanity.
Ultimately, Golding uses Jack, Ralph, Piggy to communicate the allegory in Lord of the Flies represent Freud’s ID, Ego, and Superego to symbolize what occurs in a civilization. Jack symbolize vicious brutality, while Ralph signifies ego in society, and Simon a superego represents the virtuous of humanity. In all, these characters show the true nature of civilization.
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