Lord of the Flies

William Golding
Quotes

The Lord of the Flies

Quotes The Lord of the Flies
“This head is for the beast. It’s a gift.”
The silence accepted the gift and awed them. The head remained there, dim-eyed, grinning faintly, blood blackening between the teeth.

After killing the pig, the boys leave its bloodied head, which they stuck on a sharpened stick, as an offering to the beast, a creature they think is out in the forest somewhere, something they can appease with an offering. However, the savagery with which the boys killed the mother pig shows that the beast, or evil, is inside each of them. The pig’s head becomes a symbol of the evil inside humans.

They were black and iridescent green and without number; and in front of Simon, the Lord of the Flies hung on his stick and grinned. At last Simon gave up and looked back; saw the white teeth and dim eyes, the blood—and his gaze was held by that ancient, inescapable recognition.

Simon looks at the swarm of flies surrounding the pig’s head that the hunters have stuck on a stick. The pig’s head is located in a clearing to which Simon likes to retreat. This is the first time the pig’s head is referred to as the Lord of the Flies, which is a reference to Beelzebub, or the Devil. According to legend, Beelzebub could fly and so was sometimes called “Lord of the Flyers” or “Lord of the Flies.” Here, the pig’s head has become a physical symbol of human evil that has been unleashed on the island.

“What are you doing out here all alone? Aren’t you afraid of me? . . . There isn’t anyone to help you. Only me. And I’m the Beast.”
Simon’s mouth labored, brought forth audible words.
“Pig’s head on a stick.”
“Fancy thinking the Beast was something you could hunt and kill!” said the head.

During an epileptic fit, Simon imagines that the pig’s head on the stick is talking to him. Here, Golding makes clear that the pig’s head, which is also referred to as Lord of the Flies, another name for the Devil, is a symbol of the beast, which represents evil. During his hallucination, Simon understands that the beast is not something that can be killed because it exists inside humans.

“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 the way they are?”

Here, the Lord of the Flies continues to talk to Simon, who is actually just having an epileptic fit next to the pig’s head in the clearing. While the Lord of the Flies has already made it clear that the beast is actually inside the boys and all humankind, here he further explains that it is this Beast, this evil, that is causing things to fall apart on the island. The Beast confirms what Simon already knew. Once Simon comes to his senses, he immediately sets off to find the other boys to share what he’s learned.

The teeth grinned, the empty sockets seemed to hold his gaze masterfully and without effort. What was it?
The skull regarded Ralph like one who knows all the answers and won’t tell. A sick fear and rage swept him. Fiercely he hit out at the filthy thing in front of him that bobbed like a toy and came back, still grinning into his face, so that he lashed and cried out in loathing.

While running from Jack’s tribe who are looking to find and kill him, Ralph comes across the pig’s head that has been referred to as Lord of the Flies, which is an allusion to Beelzebub or the Devil. As if he suddenly understands the reality of the situation, of why things turned to chaos on the island, Ralph lashes out in anger at the pig’s head, the symbol of the beast and the evil inside humans that has overcome the island.