Lord Of The Flies - The Beast


THE BEAST

Throughout the novel Lord Of The Flies, the boys on the island are constantly faced with various fears. However there is nothing on the island which they fear more than the beast. In Lord Of The Flies, the theme of the beast is extremely important. The beast represents the way in which man will try to convince himself that there is no evil inside of him by making someone or something else seem to be the cause for the evil. There are many examples of evidence to support this throughout the book, but first it is necessary to outline the rise of the beast and the evil within the boys.

Talk of a dangerous presence emerged on the very first day on the island, when a little boy with a mulberry-coloured birthmark on his face informed everyone of a "beastie," which he apparently saw on the previous night. At the time, this was dismissed by the older boys as his imagination, but even at that early stage it was evident that the younger children were troubled by the little boy?s words. It must be noted at this point that there was no definite physical appearance to the beast because it was assumed to be the over-active imagination of little children at work. At the same time it is obvious that Golding uses the early chapters in the book to set the scene for the chaos and terror of the beast that follows. Soon it became evident that even the older boys had begun to wonder whether in fact some kind of beast did inhabit the island. It was also apparent that nobody was willing to admit this, but the fact that many boys now cried out in their sleep or had terrible nightmares is further proof that they were all fearful of a beast.

The first signs of evil emerging from within appeared when Jack and his hunters killed a pig and re-enacted the killing. In the process people were injured and the chanting, which was to become a ritual, began at this time. Although Jack?s ambition to kill a pig had been fulfilled, he now had a taste of the glory and sense of self-fulfillment it brought him. This meant that he was by no means satisfied to have killed one pig, but would instead continue to do so. It is significant that Jack felt it was necessary to kill pigs, seeing that there was already an ample supply of food on the island. It is possible that Jack simply wanted to kill pigs because the evil inside him had begun to emerge and introduced his lust for killing. Another significant event occurred at this point - open violence among the boys. When Jack was confronted by Piggy and Ralph because he allowed the fire to go out and a ship went by, he lashed out at Piggy, whom he evidently despised, and broke his glasses. To some extent this further illustrates how the evil inside Jack was beginning to take control of him.

Talk of beasts and ghosts emerged at a later assembly and an overwhelming portion of the boys agreed that there was evil present on the island. Simon had already realised that the evil actually came from within them but he was unable to get this point across. Pandemonium followed and Jack refused to obey any more rules and he and his followers left. A definite split between two groups on the island was now present. It was at this point in the novel that a physical form was given to the beast, as a dead fighter pilot landed on the island under cover of darkness, while the boys slept fitfully; having nightmares about beasts and ghosts.

When the dead pilot was discovered, several factors caused him to be thought of the beast. First and foremost, the boys were looking all the time for some kind of physical form that they could call the beast, thereby they were able to convince themselves that the evil on the island did not come from within them. It must be noted that this is a subconscious search; none of the boys, with the exception of Simon, had realised that the evil came from within them. Moreover, it was dark when the dead pilot was discovered, therefore he was