Evil in Lord of the Flies Lord of the Flies was written following two devastating world wars. The First World War was supposed to be "the war to end all wars", and yet, just twenty years later, the world entered into another war, even more, destructive than the first. Many people came to regard human ways differently after this. It seemed that we were innately partly warmongering and bloodthirsty. This negative view of man might be what set the tone for the treatment of evil in Lord of the Flies, where it is presented as the inner qualities that enable you to lose sight of what you originally considered good and virtuous.
The setting in William Golding's Lord of the Flies is an idyllic tropical island. Yet, during the course of the novel, the fertile, green landscape is transformed into a blazing, destructive inferno by the arrival of a group of British schoolboys. In the first few pages of the book, the boys run on the beach and swim in the ocean. Near the end, they are less like civilized people and more like savages, with more than one death to their conscience. What brings about the idea of evil on the tropical island is the mention and the following fear of "the Beast". In the minds of the boys, this "Beast" is an actual, concrete entity that threatens the group from the outside. But as Simon decuces, "the Beast" actually lives within them. "The Beast" might then be another term for the evil within the human mind and soul.
The characters in Lord of the Flies can be interpreted as prototypes of human behaviour, where Ralph represents civilization and leadership, and Jack represents the savagery within the human soul. In a broader sense, we may consider Ralph as representing "good" and Jack as representing "evil". That is not the same as saying that Ralph is good, and that Jack is evil. Althought Ralph is a sympathetic character, our protagonist and one of the few who seem to take a meditative view of their own actions, he also has evil in his heart, as we see in the case of Simon's death. Although Ralph is in denial about his participation in the event, we see that he is not completely consumed by savagery.
Jack is in many ways Ralph's opposite. Where Ralph assumes his leadership because he wants them all to get off the island, Jack wants it to satisfy his own need for being in command. If Ralph represents the democratic ruler, Jack is the tyrant.
Because the characters are all children, an extra dimension is added to our understanding of the term "evil". Children are usually represented as innocent creatures in literature. In Lord of the Flies the seemingly innocent boys end up committing murder and wreaking havoc on the entire island. We also commonly envision children as acting according to their natures to a larger extent than adults, who are usually more doctrine by society's rules. If this interpretation is brought into Lord of the Flies, does that mean that...