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Lord of the Flies

by: William Golding

Antagonist

Jack Merridew is the main antagonist in Lord of the Flies. Throughout the novel he stands in Ralph’s way as Ralph attempts to create a civilized society on the island. At the beginning of the novel, Jack is the leader of the choir boys, and believes his status makes him the obvious choice for leader on the island as well. However, unlike Ralph, Jack is unable to lead the boys by being sympathetic and likable, so instead resorts to fear tactics and bullying to get what he wants. Although Jack initially accepts Ralph’s leadership, he later works actively to thwart Ralph’s attempts to keep the group together and maintain the signal fire. By starting his own tribe, stealing Piggy’s glasses, and allowing the hunters to terrorize the littluns, Jack effectively destabilizes Ralph’s leadership. By the end of the book, Jack has given in completely to his savage nature, overseeing the violent murder of Simon, the torture of Wilfred, and the killing of Piggy.