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In 'Lord of the Flies', is Jack evil? Show more Show less
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In Nobel Prize-winner William Golding’s 1954 dystopian novel Lord of the Flies, a group of British schoolboys are stranded on an deserted island and are left to govern themselves. This ill-fated attempt to battle through civilization, morality, and order led to extreme bloodlust, violence, and savagery amongst the group of boys. Jack Merridew, the power-loving antagonist of the story is obsessed with dominance over the group since the beginning of the novel. But despite Jack’s antagonistic nature and selfishness, he may not be malicious.

Jack is evil in Lord of the Flies Show more Show less

Jack is naturally evil-minded, and the conflict on the island only heightened his animalistic nature. His personality is rooted in exerting dominance and control over others.
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His goal from the beginning was to control the group

Jack desires power above anything else. He is infuriated when Ralph is chosen to be chief, and continuously pushes the boundaries of his role in the group. He never had good intentions or felt the need to adhere to his responsibilities for the betterment and survival of the group.
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The Argument

Since the beginning of the novel, Jack prioritized being the leader of the group. He resented Ralph and the other boys because his attempt to convince the boys he was best fit to be the leader failed. Ralph appointed Jack as the head of the hunting tribe, hoping to ease conflict, but Jack's jealously and hatred already divided the group from the start. As the plot progressed, he became horrifically obsessed with rulership over the island, undermining Ralph and his abilities every chance he got. Jack’s obsessive behavior started to develop further when he began to challenge Ralph’s authority over the island. When the boys are discussing who will go up the mountain and find the beast, Jack declared he will go and yelled to Ralph “coming?” Jack clearly asked to mock and challenge him, because he didn’t believe Ralph would go up the mountain. He thought Ralph was too scared to face the beast and he would be able to prove he should be their brave and courageous leader. He manipulated Ralph to take control from the him and lead the group, using fear and intimidation to gain the groups support. He even promised them to take them on a hunt if they join his side. Jack eventually gets what he wants and becomes chief, however his power is through fear rather than respect. If Jack wasn't so extremely power hungry, the group could have been rescued when the ship passed the island in Chapter 4, and Simon and Piggy could have lived.

Counter arguments

He wanted power because he knew he had better survival abilities compared to Ralph. His focus was on hunting and fishing, and Ralph only wanted to construct rules. To Jack, surviving on a deserted island had no rules.

Premises

[P1] The only way he wanted to lead was through fear and intimidation.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] He wanted the boys to respect him, not fear him.

References

This page was last edited on Thursday, 9 Apr 2020 at 15:00 UTC

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