Essay on The Power of Power: Roger

Essay on The Power of Power: Roger

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Abraham Lincoln’s quote shows his thoughts on the power of power and its ability to corrupt even the best of men. The same opinion is shared by Philip Zimbardo, the psychologist responsible for the Stanford prison study. In his study, he observed the effect of power on college students in roles as prison guards and prisoners. The experiment had to be cut short due the effect the power had on the students in the the role of the guards. William Golding’s novel, Lord of the Flies, supports Philip Zimbardo’s claim that evil is a natural consequence of power through the development of Roger and his personality. Golding shows this through Roger’s shift from civilized and shy to savage and bold in the time spent on the island.
When the boys first landed on the island, Golding describes Roger in the quote, “There was a slight, furtive boy whom no one knew, who kept to himself . . . He muttered that his name was Roger and was silent again,” (Golding 14) Roger wasn’t really one of the bolder boys and was timid at the beginning, when they had first landed on the island. He says his name quietly and that is all to be heard of shy little Roger. Roger is also the one who suggests having a vote to pick a chief, ending the argument between Ralph and Jack and coming up with a solution that is more sophisticated than other options. When they are trying to light a fire, Roger says “‘You make a bow and spin the arrow,’ . . . He rubbed his hands in mime,” (Golding 32). This indicates that Roger knows about how to survive and that he is slowly coming out of his shell, the transition to savagery has begun.
In the transition from being civilized and shy to savage and bold, the change in Roger becomes more evident. This transition is shown when Roger ...


... middle of paper ...


... showing it was Roger’s idea and Roger’s job to display Ralph’s head to the rest of the tribe, showing that the last person concerned with being civilized, is gone and that they could be as savage as they wanted.
William Golding’s timeless classic, Lord of the Flies, reflects Philip Zimbardo’s observations on the power of power through the transformation and development of the character Roger and his personality. The more power available to Roger, the more savage he becomes until it reaches a point where he can violently murder a peer and put his head on a stick for all to see and feel no remorse. Power can corrupt even the greatest of men and if a man can have power and not be corrupt, he has passed the ultimate test of character.



Works Cited

BrainyQuote. Xplore, n.d. Web. 19 Nov. 2013.
Golding, William. Lord of the Flies. New York: Coward-McCann, 1962. Print.

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