Characters are integral to a narrative, whatever genre it may take. They play an important role in the evolution of social issues, themes and motifs. Characters also create suspense, curiosity and creativeness in a story. They make up most of the story along with setting, plot and situations. The number of Character determines the complexity of the story. The characters in Lord of the Flies by William Golding are mostly children, stranded on an island. Some of the characters are discussed below.
Important Lord of the Flies Characters
The first Boy, who lands on the island is Ralph. Not only is he the protagonist, but also the leader of the boys who slowly emerges out of the forest. As the oldest and tallest in height, he assumes leadership on the suggestion of Piggy. He thinks Piggy as a creative and rational soul and pays heed to his suggestions. Ralph has become leader on account his calmness and rational thinking. He also possesses sound and strong moral obligation to unite the boys and saves them. He tries to fight the bad influence of Jack but faces defeat and runs away from his hunters to save his life. He ends up before the British naval officer who saves his life from Jack’s hunters and asks him the reason of their presence on the island.
Despite his fatty and bulky body, awkward posture and physical deformity, Piggy is the only sane voice among the boys. He takes care of the “littluns” and suggests new things to save the boys. He trusts in the leadership of Ralph and urges him to take reins of the leadership to defy Jack’s assertion. He understands the rescue and suggests fire for it to save the boys. Seeing him a threat to his domination, Jack plans to kill Piggy to end an opposition. The death of Piggy is mourned as the death of rationality on the island. Following his death, Ralph is left alone to take care of the “littluns” and finally to take care of his own life from the hunters.
The leader of the masked boys, who make up the choir, Jack Merridew is a militaristic and cruel boy. He is a top manipulator who knows how to manipulate things to dominate. He gathers all the boys in the name of a hunting group and soon takes their charge to lead against Ralph, the major leader. Seeing Piggy as an obstacle, he plans to kill him and then makes Ralph a scapegoat. His bloodthirstiness ends when the naval officer arrives and saves Ralph from his hunting party.
Having deep relationship with the nature, Simon is an introspective boy. He represents the spiritual aspect of the boys with rational thinking of Piggy. He remains alone, and does not merge with the other boys. He is the one who suggests the beast is actually the dead pilot, but could not spell it out in clear words. He rather represents a Christ-like figure as Golding himself has suggested at a point in the novel.
Character #5 & 6
Sam and Eric: Samneric
Although Sam and Eric are two different characters, they are twin brothers, and are copy of each other. Their resemblance is so close that they sometimes think and speak together. They also seem to have some understanding of following a leader. That is why they stay loyal to Ralph and Piggy until it is possible, and take care of the fire. Golding’s naming them as Samneric may point to individualism and its status in a community.
Maurice is a tall and sturdy young boy. He is among the best hunters. It is he who makes the boy to learn hunting. For this, he pretends as a pig and makes others to hunt him in a fake chase. In fact, Maurice is the representative of a mindless mob who acts on the popular issues without considering consequences.
Percival is one of the “littluns,” who is prominent due to his innocent acts of repeating his own name and recalling his home. When he comes to know that he will not be meeting his family members and others, he becomes hysterical. Other older boys comfort him. He represents the little boys who are habitual of not taking care of themselves and are dependent on their families.
The Naval Officer
The naval officer is the only adult in the novel. However, he appears in the end when there is chaos and disorder. He comes face to face with Ralph and inquires him and his pursuers what they are doing. He informs Ralph that he has come to the island to see the cause of fire, and tells the boys that he has come to take them home. It is, however, quite strange that he has not become aware of the bloody games the boys are playing. He thinks that they are only showing unruly behavior over which he chides them. His uniform, his weapon and his soldierly manners remind the readers that he is the representative of civilization and has come to restore the lost order.
Although the beast is not a physical character in the novel, it has two representations at different places. If taken in the meanings of a beast what Simon has seen, it is the disfigured body of the pilot whose parachute gets caught in the trees and he dies. His face is hidden in the swarm of flies. The second is the unseen animal or thing that terrifies the boys.
The boys think that the beast visits them when they are sleeping and terrifies them. Although Simon has seen it, he could not explain it to the other boys. He also has realized that this this is the beast of evil that exists in every boy. Different people uses this beast for different purposes. Jack uses it to create fear and need for hunters to hunt it down and save others. Simon uses it to show his spiritual side and Ralph uses it to show and prove his leadership qualities.
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