In the novel, Simon’s character is a Christ figure. Everything he does is good. All the other boys on the island have the secret ‘inner evil’, which only Simon can fight against. This ‘inner evil’ is William Golding’s idea as to why people do evil things. He believed that when you are born you have a certain amount of good and a certain amount of evil inside you. He believed that as you go through your life you would show bits of evil at any time. The only problem is that the evil would be totally out of your control. Some people only show small amounts of evil, and others would turn completely evil, like Roger or the ‘pig’s head’- the Lord of the Flies itself. Simon is completely good because he has controlled the amount of evil showing form his body, down to a minimum.
On the island there are different objects and characters, which represent evil. Simon is the only character on the island that can fight these presences. He does when he confronts the ‘Pig’s head’ later on in the story. One of the presences is Roger. Roger is pure evil, and only in the last four chapters does the reader discover this. Roger seems to be quite timid at the beginning of the story, when he marches in with the choir. However, as the story progresses, Roger starts to show signs of evil escaping him.
One other presence on the island, which enters the story later on, is the ‘dead airman’. The ‘dead airman’ is seen as the ‘beast’ because the evil inside the boys manifests and produces an image of something to be scared of. On the island, the ‘dead airman’ represents a piece of the adult and civilised world. Simon is the only boy who knows and believes that the ‘beast’ isn’t real and shows a Christ-like compassion to him.
Another presence of pure evil is the ‘pig’s head’ or Lord of the Flies. The name, ‘Lord of the Flies’, is translated into ‘Beelzebub’. It is a Hebrew name meaning ‘Satan or any devil of some sort’. The name was used in the bible. Therefore, Golding has chosen a fitting title for the novel.
When Simon confronts the ‘Lord of the Flies’, it is just a pig’s head on a stick, which Jack had stuck into the ground in Simon’s special retreat. However, when Simon is speaking to it he doesn’t see it as a pig’s head, he sees it as all that is evil. The ‘Lord of the Flies’ starts to talk to Simon in the voice of a schoolmaster from his school, nicknamed ‘old waxy’ (In the nineteen-fifties, when the novel was published, waxy meant to have a very short temper). This shows that Simon was scared of authority, and also that teachers and pupils may have bullied him for being quite strange, even though he was perfectly good.
When the ‘Lord of the Flies’ is talking to Simon, the dialogue is like a schoolmaster is telling him off. ‘You are a silly little boy… just a silly ignorant little boy’. Then the ‘Lord of the Flies’ moves on and starts to tell Simon to go and play with the other boys, or they will think he is crazy. ‘You’d better run off and play with the others’. ‘You don’t want Ralph to think you’re batty, do you?’ Then the ‘Lord of the Flies’ starts trying to scare Simon into thinking that no one on the island likes him. ‘There isn’t anyone to help you. Only me. And I’m the Beast’. Simon’s reaction to this is to shout insults at the pig’s head. ‘Pig’s head on a stick!’ This is to show that Simon understands that this is all it is. Next the ‘Lord of the Flies’ starts to tell Simon that he can’t kill it. ‘Fancy thinking the Beast was something you could hunt and kill!’ At the climax of the argument, the ‘Lord of the Flies’, starts to get ‘waxy’ with Simon. The ‘Lord of the Flies’ keeps telling Simon that if he tries to escape, it will be there. Simon’s body freezes stiff with fright. ‘I’m warning you. I’m going to get waxy’. Then to finish the argument, the ‘Lord of the Flies’ says ‘Or else, we shall do you. See?’
‘Jack and Roger and Maurice and Robert and Bill and Piggy and Ralph. Do you see?’ After this Simon has an epileptic fit and passes out of consciousness. This passage of dialogue between Simon and the ‘Lord of the Flies’, can be compared to Christ’s agony in the garden of Gethsemane before the Crucifixion, and his words to Peter;’ Simon, are you asleep… you should be awake, and praying not to be put to the test. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak’ (The Jerusalem Bible, Mark 14:37-39).
The ‘Lord of the Flies’ and Simon have the argument in Simon’s special retreat in the middle of the jungle. The reason the ‘Lord of the Flies’ was here is because after the hunters had killed the Sow, Jack cut the head off the sow and sharpened a stick at both ends. Then he stuck the head on to the stick, and stuck the stick in the ground. He does this as a sacrifice to the ‘Beast’. He thinks that it wants meat, but he only thinks that because he wants to hunt. The head represents savagery and evil because it was hunted, so the ‘Lord of the Flies’ takes this form.
When Simon has woken up from his fit, he decides to go up the mountain and confront the ‘dead airman’. He climbs the mountain, struggling and tripping. Once on top of the mountain he sees the rotting corpse of the dead airman. The smell of the decaying flesh makes him sick, but he is determined to free the poor, un-departed soul. He untangles the parachute lines, which makes the corpse look like a puppet in the wind. The parachute is caught on the wind, and the corpse is dragged off the mountain and out to sea. This release of the dead airman represents the transition of the boys to a state of savagery.
As Simon is staggering down off the mountain, the rest of the boys, including Piggy and Ralph, are performing their ritual dance, and chanting. There is a huge storm brewing in the foreground, which is setting the scene of a killing. The storm also, is whipping up the ‘savage tribe’ so to speak, into a frenzy of killing passion. The boys are now fearless, and are ready to kill the ‘beast’.
Simon is stumbling down the mountain to tell the rest of the boys the truth about the ‘beast’. This action of ‘coming down off the mountain to give news’ can be compared to Moses coming down off the mountain to tell the people of Egypt, after receiving the ‘Ten Commandments’ from God. When Simon reaches the bottom of the mountain, he crawls over to the frenzy of savages. The ‘tribe’ open up the circle to let in Simon or as they see him, the ‘Beast’. The savages can only see Simon as the ‘beast’, which is ironic because Simon is bringing the truth about what the beast really is. The savages enclose Simon, biting, ripping and tearing. Simon is crying in terror. Finally, Simon dies, the sand beneath him stained with blood. The savages realise what they have done, and run off screaming into the darkness. Even after Simon has died, Golding still refers to him as the ‘beast’ because all the boys can see was the beast. The boys then realise what a small beast it is. Simon’s death is described in a sort of quick, but gory and descriptive, detail. ‘There were no words, and no movements but the tearing of teeth and claws’. The ‘murder’ of Simon is described to have been committed by a whole organism. Golding has made the savages into this one organism. This effect is made because all the savages are letting their ‘inner evil’ come out and take control of them. ‘Only the beast lay still, a few yards from the sea’. Even after Simon has died, Golding still refers to him as the ‘beast’ because all the boys could see was the beast. The boys then realise what a small beast it was, and flee. Simon’s death can be compared to Christ’s in that people who did not know what they were doing or the consequences of their actions killed him.
Simon’s passing to the next world is described as if he was becoming part of nature. This is because he loved nature, and he proved with his special retreat in the jungle. In his retreat, the butterflies represent his soul. These butterflies disappeared when the pig’s head was put there. The flies from the smell of the rotting flesh, replaced the butterflies. Simon’s passing to heaven can be compared to Christ’s ‘Ascension’ to heaven. Golding’s style makes Simon’s end beautiful through his exceptional use of words and the English language. The sea takes Simon’s body softly and merges it with the nature that he loved so much.
To conclude, Simon is an important character to the novel because he is what every person should wish to be. The others bully him because they do not understand him and because he is different from them. The character Simon is perhaps, a role model for the rest of the world. It could really change a lot in the world, if people could at least try and be like Simon just as Christ wished that people could all live by his beliefs. However, in real life no matter how good people are, they have a certain amount of evil in them, but it is how they control this evil that is important. In the novel without Simon there is nothing to stop evil reigning supreme and anarchy taking control. This could be the message that Golding is conveying through the characterisation of Simon.