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In 'Lord of the Flies', is Jack evil?

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

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.

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.

Jack's thirst for power makes him do otherwise unacceptable things

He truly believes that he's entitled to be the leader of the group. His arrogance is so profound he loses interest in the idea of being rescued, only focusing on hunting and the power of taking a life. He misuses the power he takes by abusing the boys and controlling them. The trail of horror directly caused by him is long and extensive.

Jack is not evil in Lord of the Flies

Jack was only responding to the difficult situation he was in. Being stranded on a inhabited island can cause an intense reaction in anyone.

His savagery developed because he was trying to survive

His character develops from being a reasonably good boy that was once a choirmaster into one who begins to have a distorted sense of reality on the island. His character shows what happens if the rules are taken away. Honestly, Jack is an example of the little savage in all of us.

He was only frustrated because of Ralph's leadership

He knew he could lead the group, but his main downfall was attempting to dominate the group rather than working with Ralph to lead. He felt his hunting skills made him a better leader compared to Ralph, and maybe if he was appointed chief from the beginning, the following events could have panned out differently.

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This page was last edited on Tuesday, 12 May 2020 at 13:45 UTC