- Analyse how contrasting characters were used to explore different sides of human nature.
Contrasting characters- piggy and simon and jack
Religion and science
Logic and spirituality cave in the path of power
1- simon and jack - “eat damn you!” when simon gives his meat to piggy jack says eat damn you as he takes simon sharing HIS meat as a direct attack at his power, he disregard the moral behind simons action and instead seeks power
2- piggy and jack “piggy was a bore, his fat, his assmar, his matter-of fact ideas,” piggy represents logic and jack ignores that logic and skill piggy has to belittle him for power. “Jack slapped him again he does this to regain power he sells out logic for power.
3-jack and ralph
Piggy and Simon don’t represent real people’s utopian ideas, Ralph is the stand in for the average person and jack is the stand in for our de-civilised state, ralph is jack if he did not loose his societal conditioning.
Our morals and our logic have a value but that value is nothing versus the value of power. In William Golding’s semi-allegorical novel ‘Lord of the Flies’ Golding uses contrasting characters to highlight how we disregard what we hold as ideals, like moral and logic, in the quest for power. This is shown primarily through the contrast between Jack, who is an allegory for people without societal conditioning, Simon who is an allegory for the moral/religious ideal, Ralph who is really savage, only he keeps his conditioning and Piggy who fills the role of science/logic. These contrasting characters explore the two sides of human nature of the ideal and the real. What we want to be and see and what we are and how they are rarely the same as the real often costs the ideal. Golding believes we are Jack trained to be Ralph. The contrast between Simon and Jack, Piggy and Jack and Jack and Ralph all show these contrasting aspects and sides of human nature.
Jack abandons what is moral for power as shown when he is annoyed that Simon disregards him to do something moral. When Jack first hunts he brings back the pig and expressly bans Piggy from eating meat, because “he didn’t hunt”, really because he has ‘ass-mar’ and is fat and is someone Jack can bully and gain power from pushing down. However Simon, as he is the stand in for morality, gives up his meat for Piggy. This is undermining Jack’s power and authority, he says “Eat damn you!” and then yells at everyone. This is a use of imperative or commanding statements which Goldling had Jack use to show how desperate he was for power. And therefore how far Jack is willing to go just for the power he gets out of someone eating his food. This also foreshadows Jack’s future actions where he gets further and further desperate for power and does less and less moral things. By forcing Simon to eat his meat he is asserting his value and worth over the group and at the cost of morality. This also happens further on in the relationship between the two when Jack instigates killing Simon to further gain power. This contrast between Simon’s actions and those of Jack with regard to Piggy shows the two contrasting sides of human nature, the good and the power hungry. People often do this in everyday life, they bully, demean and attack people who dont deserve it so people will like them and through that gain power. No one wants to be a bad person but everyone wants power in one form or another, so our two contrasting sides, the want to do good and the need for power often get put against one another. This results in the victory of power as shown in the way Jack disregards the morality of Simon for power. In a wider world context the catholic church did the same thing in the 16th century where it sold indulgences for tickets to heaven, selling what is morally good for power (money).
Piggy represents science or logic and Jack represents the everyday person without the constraints of society. These two characters contrast heavily when it comes to their ideals and their focus. Piggy focuses on “the world of longing and common sense” when it comes to his plans like the fire, the shelter, the clock and the name collecting. He works in a logical, sensical way. Whereas Jack cares about “the world of hunting, tactics and fierce exhilaration” in his hunting, blood sport and reckless pleasure hungry ways. The full quote “there was the world of hunting, tactics and feice exhilaration and the world of longing and common sense” uses juxtaposition to compare the world of Jack vs the world of Piggy. Golding uses connotation to make Jack’s world sound more desirable, he does this with words like exhilarating and fierce. What this does is shows us how Piggy’s world is a bore and Jack’s world is full of power and fun therefore highlighting not only the differences but also how Jack feels about them and how his power hungry side is stronger than his logical. What these two very different characters show is how we disregard that logic for power, we disregard the ideal part of our human nature for the side that wants power. This is shown when Jack disregards Piggys logical ideas so he can hunt and gain power over the boys through providing. But also in a smaller way when Piggy also gives up his logic near the end of the book in order to try and gain back the little power he has by blowing the conch. In both cases these contrasting characters disregard the logical part of their human nature for the power hungry part they need to feed so badly. We see this disregard for logic for power all the time but especially in politics. Look at how politicians disregard dangerous activities like oil drilling, pipelines, deforestation for the money and support they provide. They sell logic and science for power. Or look at the person level where people don’t change their habits which have been said to be harmful because it will cost them comfort and the power to do what they want. We are naturally greedy and naturally hunger for power. Our human nature wants us to do the right thing, the logical thing but another deeper primal side calls us to seek power and disregard our morals for what helps us.
Jack and Ralph are two contrasting characters who want power badly, however the difference between them in their morality becomes the difference between who gains power and who does not. This shows the different sides of human nature, the need for power and the want to do the right thing and how we balance them and how ultimately we sell our values for power. Jack and Ralph both sell their ideals for power. Jack is very obvious as he “slaps Piggy”, “throws insults at Ralph” and murders logic (Piggy) and morality (Simon). But the contrasting characters highlight that these different sides of human nature really are constant as even the supposedly moral Ralph bullies piggy for power. He is the one who tells everyone Piggy’s nickname, in calling him ‘Piggy’ Golding is using a pseudonym to place Piggy under the boys, the rest have names but he does not. Throughout the text this pseudonym undermines Piggy and having Ralph say it shows how he gives up his morality for the power he gets out of picking on Piggy. Furthermore he thinks “Piggy was a bore, his ass-mar, his fat, his matter of fact ideas”. This quote uses listing to create and build a sense of scale and grandness about how absolutely boring Ralph finds his supposed friend Piggy. What this does is show how Ralph disregards Piggy’s logic as he sees his as too boring and uninteresting to be worth anything. It shows how bad of a friend and person Ralph is, at this moment Piggy is offering suggestions but the grand chief Ralph is rude and snobs him. He disregards him as acknowledging the laughing stock Piggy would be bad for his image and therefore his hierarchy in the group.
Both characters selling their morality and logic for power was done to underline and reinforce Golding’s belief that we sell out our ideals for power. He creates characters, one the good honest Ralph the other the violent mean Jack and yet both sell their morality for power. Both disregard logic and find morality wrong. They are both bad people stuck controlled by the side of human nature that thirsts for power, the side far stronger than that of morality. We can see this idea in the real world if we look to people in power and how they disregard their morals. This is clear in so many examples. To name a few would be watergate where a US president sold out what was morally right for power. Every ‘honest’ dictator that quickly fell into authoritarianism when they realised they could gain more power. People care more about power than any logic or moral as shown in the way both the contrasting characters Jack and Ralph disregard Simon and Piggy for power.
Everyperson has a side of their human nature that wants to do the right thing, the logical, moral, good thing but our human nature makes us crave power and so we often disregard our morality and logic for power. This is shown in the contrasting characters of Raph, Jack, Piggy and Simon. The symbolism behind these characters creates a very clear moral around trying to do what is right but falling into the morally wrong. The use of technique by the author also shows a very purposeful creation of characters which highlight how we sell out our beliefs for power. “Lord of the Flies” is an allegory for society and through the ways the characters interact and contrast the reader explores how human nature controls us in an uncontrolled environment and how we sell our ideals for power.