William Golding’s Lord of the Flies is a sordid tale about a group of kids who are stranded on a deserted island after their plane crashes. The story is set during the Atomic War and plenty of references are made to the fact. However, the real key to the story lies in the role of Beelzebub, Lord of the Flies. Beelzebub has a central role in the story as he represents the Beast, or evil, that dwells within all humans. The Beast cannot be hunted and since it dwells within all humans, humans are all guilty because mankind is sick. The destruction of mankind is a point that Golding makes apparent often in this novel. He establishes early on that Beelzebub is a force within all humans that drives them to destroy and maim. In the story the central emblem of the story lies in the dead airman. The boys mistake him for Beelzebub and basically begin to worship him.
In fact, the most effective portrayal of Beelzebub appears early in the novel in the form of the dead airman. The parachute carries him through the night to the top of the mountain, where his body is entangled in the trees. It is in the way in which he is hung that makes it appear as if he was sitting on a throne of some sort. Sam n Eric first come upon it and are scared to death at the mere sight of it. However, when the whole group returns to the site the horrific monstrosity bewilders them. In this quote from the book it clearly states the group’s actions. “ Behind them the sliver of moon had drawn clear the horizon. Before them something like a great ape was sitting asleep with its head between his knees. Then, the wind roared in the forest, there was confusion in the darkness and the creation lifted its head, holding toward them a ruin of a face. “ The experience alone accelerates the deterioration of the already weak civilization of the group. The experience brings young Jack to committing himself fully to the newfound dark religion. (Johnston, 126) Beelzebub was the cause for accelerating the destruction of the boys. He was not the outright cause. The Atomic War generated the novel; it was the sole reason that brought the boys to live on the island in the first place. It is in this sense that the boys only duplicated the adult society that had been crashing down around them while they were part of the civilized world. Golding uses the dead airman...
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...the outside world, all humanity was lost. The boys were sick with power and evil, much like the world outside the island. War had corrupted their very souls and they had become savages in order to appease the devil that dwelled within. As humans we cannot escape evil. Beelzebub dwells within every human soul and it cannot be hunted or driven away. Mankind is sick and guilty for giving into these sins. However, mankind is not lost. Through the use of reason and civilized means we can escape the grasp of Beelzebub and its dark reign of anarchy. Beelzebub served as a means of destruction in the story. He accelerated the boys fall of grace. Although the boys failed that does not condemn mankind. Hope is offered through the story in the form of a young, epileptic name Simon. Simon stood for the weak that fought with the nature of reason rather than with a bloodthirsty rage.
Mankind needs only to look at Simon’s example as a guide of how to do it. Reason and virtue will always conquer over rage and violence. Wars are not the answers to every global conflict. Every war we have, we have to pass on to our children. In the end mankind is saved by the nature of reason not the use of war.
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