Nature of the Beast

Ruhi Deshmukh and Pratiha Mudda


It is commonly perceived that a "beast" is a monster like creature that causes fear and terror. According to Merriam-Webster dictionary a beast is a wild animal that is large, dangerous, or unusual. Although that can be used to describe what the boys in Lord of the Flies believe is the beast, it actually symbolizes the evils within the boys that slowly unleashes as they become more savage.


In "Lord of the Flies," William Golding implicitly symbolizes that the theme of the nature of the beast is not a physical form, but the pent up evils within themselves.

Quote 1

“What I mean is. . . maybe it’s only us.” Ch. 5 pg. 126

Quote 1 Analysis

This quote symbolizes the first moment when Simon begins to realize that the beast isn't a creature they fear, but what is becoming of them. Simon was always described as the smart kid on the island. He was also one of the only ones who maintained all of his humanity and didn't allow his inner demons to cloud his view of humanity.
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Quote 2

"Fancy thinking the Beast was something you could hunt and kill!” said

the head. For a moment or two the forest and all the other dimly appreciated places echoed with the parody of laughter. “You knew, didn’t you? I’m part of you? Close, close, close! I’m the reason why it’s no go? Why things are what they are?” Ch. 8 pg. 206

Quote 2 Analysis

As Simon is conversing with the Lord of the Flies, the beast states that instead of it being the actual beast, the real beastie is within all of the boys. Since Simon already knew that the beast was always a part of the boys, he fears that evil has already taken over them and decides to go warn them before it's too late.
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Quote 3

"You’re a beast and a swine and a bloody, bloody thief!” Ch. 11 pg. 258

Quote 3 Analysis

This occurs in chapter 11 when Ralph realizes that Jack has already turned into the beast. As Ralph tries to desperately save his life by running away from Jack, who has let go of all morals and thinks that hunting Ralph will help make him Chief. The bloodthirtsy desire for Jack to be in control completely overpowers any sense of good values that Jack might have since the "beast" in him has vanquished it.
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The Nature of the Beast represents the evil in a person. In Lord of the Flies, the stranded twelve year old boys have fight with their inner evils since there are no rules or adults. As time goes on, many boys succumb to the pressure of the beast within, like Jack and the savages, while others like Simon, realize what is happening and refuse to give in to the Beast. Everyone has good and evil within them and it's up to them which one conquers the other.

Discussion Questions

  1. What do you think is the significance of the “snake-thing” or “beastie" in Chapter 2?
  2. Why do you think that the littluns and Jack fear the beastie in the beginning but Ralph, Simon, and Piggy refuse to believe that there is one?
  3. Why do you think Ralph never really expects to encounter the beast?
  4. What does it symbolize when the pig's head comes to life and begins to converse with him?
  5. Why do Ralph and Jack attempt to find the beast?