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In each of the three works Animal Farm, written by George Orwell, Lord of the Flies, written by William Golding, and “The Tragedy of Julius Caesar”, written by William Shakespeare all have a strong common characteristic. Keeping in mind each author came from different backgrounds and had very different motivations for writing each novel/play it’s ironic that in each story the main idea is redundant. Each of the three stories uses symbolism as a way to relate conflicts in the story to the conflicts in the real world.
Symbolism in Lord of the Flies
In Lord of the Flies, William Golding uses symbolism in three important areas: objects that have symbolic value as references to ideas, characters that symbolize important religious and historical people, and the setting which frames conflict on the island in comparison to the whole world. (Bernard Oldsley, pg. 215)
Many objects in the Lord of the Flies have symbolic value. The conch shell represents power and authority, Ralph uses the shell to call for the boys to come to the meetings, whoever has the shell has the power to talk. “The conch shows how people use objects to give power in the world, like a crown, ribbon, or other things that show who has power. We also learn that objects don’t really give a lot of power when people choose not to obey it, like Ralph’s conch.”
(Steven Magill, pg. 2059)
The pigs head of Lord of the Flies are both important objects, to Jack it’s a sacrifice for the beast. This object shows that people will make religions and rituals to control their world, even when what they think is not true. (Chris Dakins, pg. 123)
The Lord of the Flies is also a symbol of Satan or the Devil. When Simon talked to the Lord of the Flies “he learned what the real evil was, which is in people’s hearts.” (Chelsea House, pg. 22). The Lord of the Flies is a symbol of the things we make up to be the cause for evil, when those things aren’t the real reason.
The fire is a symbol of hope and rescue. When the fire was burning bright, it was because the boys were working very hard to get rescued. When the fire burned out it was because many boys, like Jack did not care anymore about being rescued. In the end, the fire that got them rescued was not meant for rescue it was there because Jack was burning down the island to kill Ralph.
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The objects in the story are used by characters that also have symbolism. The man different characters on the island are symbols of important people.
Ralph is a good leader who cannot control bad people like Jack. Ralph is like Franklin Roosevelt before World War II who could not stop the war from breaking out. He also represents democracy and is responsible. The boys wanted to do what they wanted to do, and Ralph could not stop them. (Steven Magill, pg. 2045).
Piggy Represented educated people who give advice but nobody listens to them. Piggy was like Albert Einstein because people didn’t care he thought that the atomic bomb was a bad weapon. (Steven Magill, pg. 2045)
Simon was a symbol of Jesus Christ because he knew the truth about the beast, but the boys killed him when he came to tell them the truth. (Steven Magill, pg. 1045)
Jack was a symbol of Adolf Hitler. He was a crazy leader who killed many people because he wanted power, like Hitler Jack was dictorial and ignorant. Jack started his own tribe when they should’ve stayed with Ralph and he also killed Simon and didn’t care. (Steven Magill, pg. 2045)
Roger is like Dr. Mangilly who was Hitler’s worker and did very bad operations on people, even worse than Hitler did. He killed piggy with no remorse and also joined Jack in his tribe. (Steven Magill, pg. 2045)
All these people that live on the island are like the rest of the world. The setting of the Lord of the Flies is backdrop that makes it easy to see the boys’ wickedness compared to the wickedness of the world and people in general.
World War II is going on while the story happens. The parachuter, that the boys’ think is the beast, shows they cannot get away from war, and later they have war themselves.
Parts of the Island are also important. Castle Rock is important because this is where the tribe goes to live. It is very small with no food or soft ground, but the boy’s still go there because they can defend it. They think they must fight the beast and the other boys’, but they really have nothing to be afraid of from either the boys or the beast. This shows that the boys’ don’t understand what the real problems are just like people in the world who build castles and armies and other defenses.
Lord of the Flies is filled with Symbolism that makes an important comment about human kind. “The objects, characters, and the setting of this story all have parallels to the real world. They show us that what happened in the story isn’t just a story. They help prove the author’s belief that human kind is savage and evil under it’s façade of civilization.” (Chris Dakins, pg. 124-125)
Symbolism in Animal Farm
The theme of Animal Farm is not difficult to understand. “George Orwell intended to criticize the communist regime he saw sweeping through Russia spreading to Europe and even the United States. Though he agreed with many Marxist principles, Orwell was unable to accept the communist interpretation of socialism because he saw many similarities between the communist governments and the previous czarist regime in old Russia. Communism, he thought was inherently hypocritical." (Marcus Lang, pg. 105)
In his self-proclaimed “fairy-story” Orwell uses his allegorical farm to symbolize the communist system. Though the original intention of overthrowing Mr. Jones (who represents the czars) is not inherently evil in itself, “Napoleons subsequent adoption of nearly all of Mr. Jones principles and harsh mistreatment of animals proves to the reader that communism is not equality, but just another form of inequality.” (Marcus Lang, pg. 105). The pigs and dogs take most of the power for themselves, thinking that they are the best administrators of government. Eventually the power corrupts them and they turn on their fellow animals eliminating competitors through propaganda and bloodshed. This is course of a reference to Syalin who murdered many of his own people in order to maintain his dictatorship of Russia.
The novel animal farm can be compared to the people who had a major role in the Russian Revolution. Each character in the novel represents certain characteristics that are shown in the people who were involved with the Russian Revolution.
Old Major can be compared to Karl Marx because Old major taught Animalism and Karl Marx taught Communism both believed that workers do the work and the rich keep the money also both died before the revolutions begun. (Alok, Rai, pg. 754)
Animalism and Communism can be compared because both honor that in one case the animals are equal and that they all own the farm and in the other that the people are all equal and that the government owns everything and the people own the government. (Alok, Rai, pg. 755)
Snowball and Leon Trosky both were young, smart idealistic and both were good speakers. Snowball was chased away by Napoleon’s dogs and the other was chased away by Lenin’s KGB (secret police). (Alok, Rai, pg. 756)
Napoleon and Joseph Stalin can be compared by the same characteristics of not being good speakers, were both cruel brutal selfish and corrupted their ambition for power by killing opponents. (Alok, Rai, pg. 757)
The dogs and the KGB police were both used to kill or intimidate and opponent of either Lenin of Napoleon, both were also very loyal to their masters. (Alok, Rai, pg. 758)
Another example of Animal Farm’s symbolism reflecting conflicts in the real world is the mentioning of man abusing power. “Man is the only real enemy we have. Remove Man from the scene, and the root cause of hunger and overwork is abolished forever. Man is the only creature that consumes without producing. He does not give milk, he does not lay eggs he is to weak to pull the plough, he cannot run fast enough to catch the rabbits, and yet he is lord of all the animals.” CALL MIKE ABOUT PAGE NUMBERS IN ANIMAL FARM
Symbolism in “The Tragedy of Julius Caesar”