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What do you think is the importance of the beast in Lord of the Flies? (27 marks)

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Introduction

What do you think is the importance of the beast in Lord of the Flies? (27 marks) In 'Lord of the Flies', the beast is introduced to create an element of fear in the idyllic island. It shows how fear will change the boys and catalyse their descent into savagery. When first introduced, the 'beastie' is a 'snake-thing'. The 'snake' could be a reference to the Devil, in the form of a snake, tempting Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. During the boy's explanation, he says that he saw the beast 'in the dark'. Darkness comes to become a device by Golding that the boys use to conceal and excuse their savage and evil ways so it was suitable that the first 'sighting' of the beast was in the dark. ...read more.

Middle

Simon is the first to consider that the beast is 'one of us'. He is used by Golding as a vehicle for his expression that the only fear man should have is the fear of the 'darkness of man's heart'. Golding uses Simon to convey his message as he is shy, which draws significance and attention to anything he says. However, the boys don't appreciate Simon's insight and say it's 'batty'. Further on in the novel, the beast is said to come 'out of the sea'. Golding uses the sea metaphorically as an 'impenetrable' wall between society and the island; the beast is present in society, but it's suppressed. ...read more.

Conclusion

Given that Simon is an innately good person, not tempted in the slightest by evil instincts, he has faith in humanity and that, like him, they will choose good over evil. The fact that he 'mumbles' it is another example of his clear insight being ignored. In an attempt to please the beast, Jack gives the beast a 'gift', the pig's head. This is Jack's first actual acknowledgement of the beast. By presenting it with a gift, Jack's own fear is confirmed. However, it's ironic that the beast, a personification of evil impulses' is given, as a gift, the head, a result of these same impulses. Additionally, by gifting the beast, the hunters are treating it like a totemic god, perhaps a religious reference to them discarding their Christian values for satanic. The pig's head is then used as a means for Simon to 'communicate' with evil. ...read more.

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