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  • Lord Of The Flies Archetype Analysis
Lord Of The Flies Archetype Analysis
Written by
February 2020
Written by
February 2020

    In William Golding’s Lord Of The Flies, many curious and interesting archetypes can be found, which are often dark in tone and nature. The whole point of the novel was to thoroughly investigate the topic of the “Noble Savage” and show that no matter what you do, man has basic instincts that will take over if left unsupervised. Because of the fact that the author wished to convey a deeper meaning in the book, the passages are riddled with many archetypes and double meanings, all of which contribute to the characters overall development. One of the more prominent archetypes is the weapons, which represent death and the act of killing, hate and focused ambition, and the overall degradation of the children into a savage like and unorganized society.

    In the beginning of the novel, the weapons represent death and the act of killing. Early on, the children made spears in order to hunt the pigs which are native to the island. This perfectly innocent concept, however it is used in the beginning, is the contributing factor to Jack’s gradual bloodlust and need to kill. The children are not happy with the weapons when the idea was first brought up, and treat them like a soldier would treat a new gun he is unfamiliar with. The children are also extremely uncomfortable with the whole concept of taking a life, even an animal’s. In the beginning, Jack attempts to kill a pig, but realizes he does not have it in him and misses his chance.

                    They found a piglet caught in a curtain of creepers, throwing itself at the elastic
                traces in all the madness of extreme terror. It’s voice was thin, needle-sharp,
                and insistent. The three boys rushed forward and Jack drew his knife again
                with a flourish. He raised his arm in the air, There came a pause, a hiatus, the
                pig continued to scream, and the blade continued to flash at the end of a bony
                arm. The pause was only long enough to understand what an enormity the
                downward stroke would be. (31)

    Later however, as Jack gets becomes accustomed to distryong life, the weapons are used much more frequently, and in many more gruesome ways. They are also used as a symbol of authority, and to threaten people who waver in their ways.

                    Here, stuck down by the heat, the sow fell and the armed hunters hurled
                themselves at her. This dreadful eruption from an unknown world made her
                frantic, she squealed and bucked and the air was full of sweat and noise and
                blood and terror. Roger ran around the heap, prodding where pig flesh
                appeared. Jack was on top of the sow, stabbing downward with his knife. (135)

    Second, weapons represent hate and focused ambition. As Jack begins to become a better hunter, he uses the weapons more and more, and under the imminent threat of the beast, becomes even more ruthless. Jack and Ralph start to become enemies, and Jack’s violent tendencies are thrown into the light. Eventually, Jack splits off and starts his own group. They hunt all day, and leave their “offerings” of meat to the beast so it will leave them alone. As the number of weapons grows, so does the tribe’s ambition and Jack’s feeling of superiority.

                    Jack waved his spear again. “Has everyone eaten as much as they want?” there
                was still food left, heaped on the green platters... Jack spoke again, impatiently.
                “I said, has everyone eaten as much as they wanted?” His tone conveyed a
                warning, given out of pride of ownership. And the boys ate faster while he gave
                them time. (149)

                    “We shall take fire from the others. Listen. Tomorrow we’ll hunt and get meat.
                Tonight I’ll go along with two hunters--who will come” (161)

                    “He was chief now in truth; and he made stabbing motions with his spear.
                From his left hand dangled Piggy’s broken glasses” (168).

    The facepaint, something seemingly innocent, becomes a weapon in its own right, and is used to give the hunters a false sense of security which boosts their confidence and hate towards Ralph’s group. Because of the facepaint, they become more violent and hide behind the mask it provides, using the safety of anonymity to diffuse and ignore the guilt of the monstrous deeds they see fit to perform.

    Third, the weapons represent the overall degradation of the children into a savage like and unorganized society. As Jack gets used to handling the weapons, the feeling of power, and having innocent blood on his hands, the knife and spears are used to kill all sorts of animals, and even fellow humans.

                    The sicks fell and the mouth of the new circle crunched and screamed. The
                beast was on its knees in the center, it’s arm folded over its face. It was crying
                out against the abominable noise, something about a body on the hill the beast
                struggled forward, broke the ring, and fell over the steep edge of the rock to
                the sand by the water. At once the crowd kept after it, poured down the rock,
                leapt onto the beat, screamed, struck, bit, tore. There were no movements but
                the tearing of teeth and claws.”(153)

                “Sofly, surrounded by a fringe of inquisitive bright creatures, itself a sliver
                shape beneath the steadfast constellations, Simon’s dead body moved out
                toward the open sea “ (154).

    As they kill and hunt, they almost completely lose any sense of a modern, organized, and peaceful society, and slowly become like the tribes of people that are written about in ancient history books. They forget all sense of humanity and compassion, and focus only on completely destroying the only people on the island that resist them. Ralph and Piggy. Since the two want to do away with the tribe’s evil ways, savage personalities, and chaotic new natures, they are the enemies, and therefore must die.

    The book Lord Of the Flies by William Golding was a revolutionary book for it’s time, and touched on multiple heavy and sometimes depressing themes. The author’s main point in writing the novel was to disprove the fanciful new idea of the “Noble Savage.” It shows that no matter what, man has specific instincts and desires that will take control if not around civilization. The weapons in the book are a crucial element to the plot, and represent death and the act of killing, hate and focused ambition, and the overall degradation of the children into a savage like and unorganized society. Because the weapons were used, it transforms the children from innocent to killers, therefore becoming the center of the plot. Lord Of The Flies was a remarkable achievement and contribution to literature, and the writing styles utilized within are still used and studied today.

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