Problem with evil in LOTF

By: Jiwon Seo and Jake Davis



Lord of the Flies displays man's capability to be evil which is revealed when the boys believe that the beast is the image of evil and generally blames anything evil on outside factors rather than accepting that they could have bad inside of them.


Evil- to be profoundly immoral and malevolent.

--profound immorality, wickedness, and depravity, especially when regarded as a supernatural force.

Being evil is when you are making the decisions to be bad and immoral. Evil is often used when there are supernatural forces. Evil in Lord of the Flies is the feelings inside the boys and their actions throughout surviving on the island. Their actions dictation their knowledge of evil because they created a beast which was the sole image of evil. The boys did not understand that evil is coming from inside them and that they are in control of the evil. For example, when the boys were trying to get supremacy over the whole group and enforce their wills they made some rash decisions which ultimately led to there being different groups. Throughout the whole novel Golding associates that the beast, which is evil and formed by the boys’ imagination, but there is a beast wandering the island, but it not like the boys imagined. Golding shows that the evil in the book is similar to the real world with the war and killing in the real world. The problem with evil is that people think that evil manifests from outside forces, but in reality is forms from inside of people and we are the force that creates evil in the world.

Quotes and Analysis

“What I mean is... maybe it’s only us”

Simon says this in chapter 5 during the meeting that the boys are having. What he means is that there might not be any beast at all, and that the beast is actually the boys themselves.

“There isn’t anyone to help you. Only me. And I’m the Beast... Fancy thinking the Beast was something you could hunt and kill... 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 the way they are?”

The Lord of the Flies says this to Simon in his vision in chapter 8. Him saying this confirms in Simon’s mind that the beast is just the boys themselves. The evil exists within all humans.

“The head is for the beast. It's a gift”

The boys are sacrificing the pigs head, but in reality all they want to do is satisfy their own craving for blood.

Discussion Questions

1. How did problem with evil affect the decisions in Lord of the Flies?

2. What are some modern day examples of problem with evil in the real world?

3. What are some personal flaws that we blame on external sources?


William Golding uses the problem with evil theme to show that evil comes from the inside of us and it is not and external force.The actions the boys took in the novel compares to what the people were doing in the war. William Golding effectively shows the human’s capability to be evil which is exposed by the boys behavior on the island, shows that people generally blame outside forces for evil.