Lord Of The Flies: A Religious Allegory

Lord Of The Flies: A Religious Allegory

Length: 1025 words (2.9 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
Since its publication in 1954, the Lord of the Flies has amassed a prodigious cult-following for its blunt truths. Depicting the savagery of marooned school boys, William Golding's story presents a gruesome vision of post-war humanism in the mode of action and allegory. The Nobel Laureate's novel seems to many critics a striking analogue to the Bible (in certain aspects). Through its biblical parallels in settings, content, and overall meaning, Lord of the Flies becomes, in essence, a religious allegory.

The virtual framework of the novel presents the basis of this scriptural corollary. Set in a dense jungle, the fiction creates an ambiance akin to the Garden of Eden. "A great platform of pink granite thrust up uncompromisingly through the forest and terrace and sand and lagoon [...] The palms that [...] stood made a green roof, covered on the underside with a quivering tangle of reflections from the lagoon." (Golden 11) The lush beauty of the isle is comparable to that of Genesis' Eden. "And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east [...] And out of the ground the Lord God made to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food..." (Gen. 2:8-9).

Innocence within the Garden of Eden and the Lord of the Flies is shown similarly through the characters' undressed enjoyment; both stories show an elemental naïveté and carelessness in the unclothed states of their players. Genesis provides a symbolic view of nakedness as the state before knowledge and sin. "And the man and his wife were both naked, and were not ashamed." (Gen. 2:25) Lord of the Flies' Ralph, in a moment of childish wonderment, strips off his clothes and streaks towards the clear, blue sea. The instinctual and youthful instant ends after Ralph dutifully shepherds the others towards a meeting. Ralph shows cunning in his shallow use of democracy, fairly convincing the boys of his power; the action exhibits a significant return to knowledge after innocence. (Golden 16-22) Acts of understanding lead to sin in the novel and power struggles, a vision of knowledge, engender manipulation and murder. Golden's novel morally parallels the Bible through the idea that comprehension heralds immorality.

Along with the text's idea of sin, critics most widely recognize Simon's similarities to Jesus. "Simon is a peaceful lad who tries to show the boys that there is no monster on the island except the fears that the boys have.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Lord Of The Flies: A Religious Allegory." 123HelpMe.com. 07 Apr 2020

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Allegory and Symbols in Lord of the Flies by William Golding Essays

- ... . maybe it’s only us” (Golding, 96) although he fails in conduct this piece of information to the group: “Simon became inarticulate in his effort to express mankind’s essential illness.” (Golding, 96) In a clear opposition to Ralph and Simon we find the characters of Jack and Roger. Jack is the nemesis of Ralph. He represents impulse towards savagery and the corruption of an uncontrolled world. As David Wilson indicates, Ralph’s name derives from the old English word for “Wolf Council” (98) and creating a parallelism with this fact, Jack may be representing Hobbes premise that delivers judgment by asserting that “man is a wolf to man”....   [tags: raph´s goodness, religious fiction, law ]

Research Papers
1082 words (3.1 pages)

God and Religious Symbols in "Lord of the Flies" Essay

- “All men have need of the gods” (Guillemets). Homer is correct; all men can use a god. We need support, hope, and a way to control the masses. Within the classic novel Lord of the flies by William Golding, there are many religious symbols. Lord of the Flies is best read as a religious allegory because Simon is a Jesus figure, Ralph and Jack are like Cain and Abel, the boys start to create a Pagan like religion and treat the beast like a god. There are many examples of Simon ostensibly acting altruistically and wholly, almost Jesus like....   [tags: Literature Analysis]

Research Papers
743 words (2.1 pages)

Philosophical and Political Aspects of Lord the Flies Essay

- Philosophical and Political Aspects of Lord the Flies Is easy enough to make a broad generalization about philosophical, political or even religious interpretations on each book ( even if we consider religion in some way vinculated to philosophy), but in reality the issue is an extremely complex one. It would be so comfortable to reduce a story to a mere source of external references and to lose all the nuances that make literature a special phenomenon; I´m not saying literature is only style but it must not be subdued to its content....   [tags: Lord Flies Essays]

Research Papers
2892 words (8.3 pages)

A Thought-Provoking Novel, Lord of the Flies by William Golding Essay

- Any interesting, thought-provoking, moving story or novel has many key aspects. It must have an excellent plot, character development, and story development as well, but most importantly, it must have many layers a reader can delve into and analyze. These commonly occur in the form of allegories. An allegory, by definition, is a work of art in literature in which a deeper, hidden meaning can be found. Not only do they voice the author’s opinions and engage a reader, allegories also reveal moral principles not commonly found without analysis....   [tags: nature, consequence, bible]

Research Papers
1260 words (3.6 pages)

Lord of the Flies by William Golding Essays

- Symbolism is using words, places, people, and objects for a meaning that is deeper than its literal meaning. In the novel, “Lord of the Flies,” William Golding uses so much symbolism that the novel could arguably be viewed as an allegory, or a writing with a double meaning. While not all of the symbols are very obvious, the novels title for example, a few of them are, for example, the conch shell, the fire and the parachutist are all very prominent symbols used by Golding. In “Lord of the Flies” there are so many different examples of symbolism that could make the reader believe that the novel actually contains two totally different stories, the literal story, and the symbolic story....   [tags: symbolism, devil, words, people]

Research Papers
983 words (2.8 pages)

Conflict and Development: Sudan Essay

- Juba, the capital of South Sudan, will soon be transformed from a dirty slum into a modern city in the shape of a rhinoceros. Wau, another large city, will take the shape of a giraffe. The world’s newest nation is moving forward with these innovative changes, although it is just emerging from a bloody and troubling recent history. After 56 years of fighting, South Sudan is finally free from the government of North Sudan. As a new country, it struggles—resembling the way the boys struggled in Golding’s The Lord of the Flies....   [tags: Lord of the Flies]

Research Papers
1045 words (3 pages)

Lord of the Flies by William Golding Essay

- William Golding explores the vulnerability of society in a way that can be read on many different levels. A less detailed look at the book, Lord of the Flies, is a simple fable about boys stranded on an island. Another way to comprehend the book is as a statement about mans inner savage and reverting to a primitive state without societies boundaries. By examining the Lord of the Flies further, it is revealed that many themes portray Golding’s views, including a religious persecution theme. Golding includes the theme of religious persecution to remind people of mans true nature, and by doing so alludes the fact that the next time society deteriorates, due to nuclear war, may be the last....   [tags: essays research papers]

Research Papers
957 words (2.7 pages)

Mankind Essential Illness in Lord of the Flies by William Golding Essay

- And on the first day, God created evil. Golding’s intricately crafted Lord of the Flies on the outset may appear to be a novel about a group of boys marooned on an island and their struggle to survive; however, it also serves as a religious allegory drawing references from the bible. The island on which the boys are stranded represents an anti- Eden, a place that is devastated by evils of man. Simon, the blue-eyed sensitive boy exemplifies Jesus; however, unlike Jesus, Simon is unable to convey his message that the true beast is mankind....   [tags: nature of man, ralph, evil]

Research Papers
711 words (2 pages)

Essay The Battle Between Good Versus Evil

- "We're all so busy chasing the extraordinary that we forget to stop and be grateful for the ordinary" (Brown 152). Novels are sources of magic, written with such delicacy and intricacy that they often leave the reader astounded by the power of words. The plot, concept, and language are so extraordinary that human eyes easily bypass the most ordinary objects of all in the story, ones that can only be read between the lines in order to reveal truly deep meanings. The connection to William Golding's prize-winning novel Lord of the Flies is undeniable....   [tags: lord of the flies, william golding]

Research Papers
966 words (2.8 pages)

The Human Tendency Towards War Exemplified in William Golding’s Lord of the Flies

- ... Furthermore, knowledge symbolizes the fruit of knowledge in the Garden of Eden, which corrupts people. Jack’s mind is full of the fruit of knowledge, which defiles his mind and turns him into a savage. When naval officers finally rescues the boys, “Ralph wept for the end of innocence” (Golding 202). In the Bible, God decides to rain for forty days because he wants to wash away evilness within humans. After learning about it, Noah builds an ark and saves people to help them reborn into civilization....   [tags: civilization, corrupted, bible]

Research Papers
689 words (2 pages)

" (Houston np) Christ's life seems a series of beautiful and unfortunate happenstances that ultimately lead to his death. He is the fundamental goodness that Simon represents in the novel. Simon, often alone, is the purest of the boys. He is the most helpful and giving. "Simon found for them the fruit they could not reach, pulled off the choicest from up in the foliage, passed them back down to the endless, outstretched hands." (Golding 56) He is also the only one that understands. He attempts to state the truth, but to no avail; in his hesitancy he is overcome by the boys.

"Maybe," he [Simon] said hesitantly, "maybe there is a beast."
The assembly cried out savagely and Ralph stood up in amazement.
"You, Simon? You believe in this?"
"I don't know," said Simon. His heartbeats were choking him. "But..."
The storm broke.
"Sit down!" "Shut up!" "Take the conch!" "Sod you!" "Shut up!"
Ralph shouted.
"Hear him! He's got the conch!"
"What I mean is... maybe it's only us."
"Nuts!" [...]

Simon became inarticulate in his effort to express
mankind's essential illness. (Golden 80)

"When he makes this revelation, he is ridiculed. This is an uncanny parallel to the misunderstanding that Christ had to deal with throughout his life." (Houston np)

Later, we comprehend the depth of Simon's perception in his conversation with the Lord of the Flies. The interview is an obvious allusion to Jesus' conversation with the Devil during his forty days and forty nights in the desert. "Lord of the Flies" is in fact a direct translation of the Greek word Beelzebub.

"Fancy thinking the Beast was something you could hunt and kill! [...] You knew didn't you? I'm a part of you? Close, close, close! I'm the reason why it's no go? Why things are what they are? [...] I'm warning you. I'm going to get angry. D'you see? You're not wanted. Understand? We are going to have fun on this island. Understand? We are going to have fun on this island!" (Golden 130-131)

The Lord of the Flies' speech pattern makes it seem all the more devilish and threatening to Simon. In a panic, he ventures towards the boys attempting to express the truth of the Beast but, he is overcome by the mob and killed as the "Beast". (Golden 138-139) At this point, the parallel between Jesus Christ and Simon is obvious. They are the messengers of truth killed for their beliefs; although Simon is killed before conveying the truth while Christ was killed for doing so. The irony of both situations is that these deaths eventually lead to salvation. Christ's death signified the opening of the heavens; previously the dead stayed in limbo. Simon's death shocks Ralph into "negotiation" endeavor with Jack. Unfortunately, the Ralph's attempt at a treatise leads to the destruction of half of the jungle, which in turn brings rescue. (Golden 155-184).

The parallels between Christ and Simon signify a common belief in salvation. The Christian doctrine holds firm that salvation will come and Golden's scarce optimism correlates with this belief. Through this, religious allegory in Lord of the Flies is apparent.

Golden's use of religious allegory is apparent in his critically acclaimed novel Lord of the Flies. In congruence with many biblical settings and themes, the novel conveys two major biblical beliefs; Adam and Eve's loss of innocence due to knowledge and the firm faith that salvation will come. William Golden expresses this through similar use of characterization between Christ and Simon and the Garden of Eden like setting.

Works Cited

Bible.Com. Gen. 8-25. 15 Mar. 2006 .

Golding, William. Lord of the Flies. 13th ed. The Putnam Group, 1954. 7-184.

Pujante, Juan J., and Juan J. P. "Golding's Themes." Homepage of Juan Javier Herraiz Pujante. 1995. U of Virginia. 15 Mar. 2006 .
Return to 123HelpMe.com