The first example of an allusion is the title of the
Lord of the Flies – the title is a literal translation
from Hebrew for Beelzebub, the devil's right hand demon in hell. This allusion
emphasizes the evil that reigns over the island and within humankind.
Biblical Allusions in Lord of the Flies.
In the story, Lord of the Flies, there are many
biblical allusions; Simon represents Jesus, the pig’s head represents Satan or
rather their satanic sides, Jack represents Judas, and the island represents
the Garden of Eden. Throughout this novel these allusions play large parts in
the story and ideals place in the story.
Simon, one of the major characters in the story, is set as the allusion of
Jesus. Christ always had an affinity with children; in Ch. 4, he shows his way
with the ‘littluns’ by picking fruit for them. This shows his goodness by
nature. Also, like Christ, he saw the atavistic problem of the hunters and
tried to bring them back to good. Like in the bible, Simon, like Christ, dies
as a martyr for his cause; coming back with the news that the beast is a
corpse, he is slain by the savage hunters. "Simon, sitting between the twins
and Piggy, wiped his mouth and shoved his piece of meat over the rocks to
Piggy, who grabbed it. The twins giggled and Simon lowered his face in shame.”
This quote shows that Simon is kind and sincere like Christ throughout his
lifetimes. Simon goes often to the forest to meditate, just as Christ went for
40 days and nights to meditate in the desert.
The first chapters of the novel, the island itself
resembles the Garden of Eden from Genesis, with its picturesque scenery,
abundant fruit, and idyllic weather. Accordingly, the boys are symbolically
linked to Adam and Eve before the fall. Ralph’s first act after the plane crash
is to remove his clothes and bathe in the water, a gesture that recalls the
nudity of the innocent Adam and Eve and the act of baptism, a Christian rite
which, by some accounts, renews in the sinner a state of grace. Naming also
becomes important in Genesis, reflected in the novel as the boys give their
The "snake-thing" recalls the presence of
Satan in the Garden of Eden. But unlike Adam and Eve, the boys are mistaken
about the creature, which is not an external force (like Satan) but a
projection of the evil impulses that are innate within themselves and the human
psyche. Still, it is the boys' failure to recognize the danger of the evil
They continue to externalize it as a beast (again
"Lord of the Flies" and "the Beast" are used in religion to
refer to Satan), but they become more and more irrational in their perception
of it, and they end up developing alternative religious ideas about the Beast
and what it wants and does. Although Satan in the Genesis account also has been
read as a reflection of evil within human nature, readers usually consider
Satan an external force. Original sin enters human nature because of Satan.
Without a real Satan in the novel, however, Golding stresses the ways that this
Eden is already fallen; for these boys, evil already is within them waiting to
Only Simon seems to be a positive character (like many
biblical prophets and like Jesus). Critics also have noted that Simon's
confrontation with the Lord of the Flies resembles Christ's conversation with
the devil during his forty days in the wilderness as described in the New
Testament gospels, and critics have noted parallels between Simon's murder and
Christ's sacrifice on the cross.
Lord of the Flies to Hitler's Regime and the Holocaust
Golding, the award winning author of Lord of the Flies, said in an interview
that "Lord of the Flies was simply what it seemed sensible for me to write
after the war, when everybody was thanking God they weren’t Nazis. And I’d seen
enough and thought enough to realize that every single one of us could be
Nazis…” (Shaffer 54). Golding’s novel strongly relates to the Nazi regime and
the horrors of the Holocaust. Similarities can be seen between the leaders on
the island and the Nazi leaders, as well as in the treatment of perceived lower
class people in both situations. It also can be compared through the time and
circumstances that both took place in.
Between Jack and Hitler:
of the Flies has many similarities to the Nazi regime. One of these is how
characters in the novel can be compared to Nazi leaders. For instance, in the
novel Jack plays the role of Hitler. Like Hitler, Jack was a great orator, and
used his charm to persuade the other boys to his point of view (Adolf Hitler
Biography). This can be seen near the very beginning of the novel when Jack
declares during one of the meetings: "I’m not going to be part of Ralph’s
lot…I’m going off by myself. He can catch his own pigs. Anyone who wants to
hunt when I do can come too” (Golding 140). They both waited for just the right
moment when people were vulnerable and in need and looking for someone to step
in and offer them some hope.
came to power at a time when Germany was at an all-time low. He won the
public’s support with his promises of restoring Germans’ pride by helping them
out of the recession and returning their country to its former glory (Adolf
Hitler Biography). Jack did much the same thing, waiting until the boys were
bored and restless under Ralph’s command, and then coming forward (Golding
146). Both men had a charismatic talent that they used for evil to accomplish
something beneficial to them.
Dehumanization of Piggy and the Jews:
similarity between Lord of the Flies and the Nazi system is the treatment of
people who were perceived as being ‘lesser’ than the norm. During the Nazi’s
reign in Germany, Jews were very ill-treated. In his book Mein Kampf, Hitler
referred to them as "filthy Jews” (Jews in Nazi Germany). In Lord of the Flies,
Piggy was an outcast among the boys, much like the Jews were outcasts in German
society. He was verbally abused on numerous occasions, mainly by Jack. For
instance, he was called Piggy against his will, as well as fatty.
not calling him by his real name Jack and the other boys were dehumanizing
Piggy, making him seem like less of a person and more of an object to be
ridiculed. Hitler took the same approach with the Jews, dehumanizing them by
categorizing them as "sub-humans” and spreading the lies that they were an
inferior race (Jews in Nazi Germany). Hitler’s process of dehumanizing the Jews
ultimately culminated in the horrors of the Holocaust because by making the
Jews seem less than human, he removed the reproach in killing them. This is
paralleled in Lord of the Flies when the dehumanization of Piggy ultimately
results in his death at the hands of Roger (Golding 200).
of the Flies and the Holocaust:
of the Flies can be compared to the Holocaust through the time and
circumstances they occurred in. Both took place during the devastation of World
War II (Shaffer 54). In addition to this, both were set in remote areas. The
Holocaust took place in Germany where unthinkable things went on for many years
in secret. Most of the world was oblivious to the horror unfolding in Germany
until after the war was over and they went in and saw all of the terror and
devastation that resulted from Hitler and his Nazis. In Lord of the Flies the
boys were stranded on a remote island. There was no proper leadership, no one
in authority to step in and tell them that what they were doing was wrong. As a
result of their lack of leadership, and because there were no adults to censor
their behaviour, the boys went from being well mannered and behaved school
boys, to bloodthirsty savages.
the beginning of the novel when Jack tried to kill a pig, he found that he
couldn’t bring himself to do it "because of the enormity of the knife
descending and cutting into living flesh; because of the unbearable blood”
(Golding 29). This shows that Jack was still civilized; he had not yet begun to
lose his humanity. Near the end of the novel when the boys were all hunting for
Ralph, he approached Samneric who told him that "Roger sharpened a stick at
both ends” (Golding 211). This is significant because earlier when the boys
were hunting, Jack made them sharpen a stick at both ends. Then, after they had
killed a pig, they stuck the stick in the ground and mounted the pig’s head on
the other end of it. This shows that the boys had fully transformed into
savages because they were willing to slaughter Ralph as if he were just a pig.
As with the Holocaust, the events in Lord of the Flies took place in secret,
with the outside human world having no idea of the horrors that were going on.
conclusion, the novel Lord of the Flies has many similarities to the Nazi
regime. This can be seen in parallels between characters in the novel such as
Jack, and members of the Nazi party such as Hitler. There is also a common
theme in both of dehumanization, leading to violence and ultimately death. The
novel was set during World War II, at the same time that the devastation of the
Holocaust unfolded and, like the Holocaust, the events in the novel took place
in an isolated area which prevented any interference from the outside world.
William Golding was deeply affected by the war and the horrors unleashed on the
world by the Nazis. This can be seen in the way that Lord of the Flies seems to
mirror certain events or circumstances similar to those of the Nazi regime, in
an effort by the author to understand human nature and how it is possible to
sink to such depravity.
Allusions to the Cold War.
Published in 1954 early in the Cold War, Lord of the
Flies is firmly rooted in the sociopolitical concerns of its era.
Composed during the Cold War, the novel's action
unfolds from a hypothetical atomic war between England and "the
Reds," which was a clear word for communists.
Therefore the novel alludes to the Cold War conflict
between liberal democratic U.S. and the totalitarian communistic USSR. Both
Ralph and Jack symbolize different types of government. Ralph stands for
democracy. The boys elect Ralph as leader, "elect" being the
operative word here. Ralph shares responsibilities with the other boys. He is a
boy who leads by example. Ralph has a vision, as much as a boy can have, of a
functioning society. Ralph even gives Jack control of a sort of army/hunting
wing of government. Ralph evolves by utilizing the strengths of other boys,
like Simon and Piggy, to help develop a better society and perhaps get rescued.
Ralph, an embodiment of democracy, clashes tragically
with Jack, a character who represents a style of military dictatorship similar
to the West's perception of communist leader Joseph Stalin. Jack takes control
and becomes the autocratic dictator who leads by fear instead of consultation
and example. By the end of the novel Jack sets himself up as sort of a
God/King, that can also be seen as an allusion to or even a parody of Stalin's
personality cult. "Jack, now a leader sits on a great log, painted and
garlanded as an idol.” The civilized democracy of Ralph has long been
Allusions to communist regime.
In terms of symbolism Jack represents Stalin's
leadership and therefore the author overtly alludes to the communist regime.
Dressed in a black cape and cap, with flaming red hair, Jack also visually
evokes the "Reds" in the fictional world of the novel and the
historical U.S.S.R., whose signature colors were red and black.
At the time of writing a very western view was that
the Communist east in Russia was spreading out - trying to spread communism
across the world - in doing so it forced its influence over much of Easter
Europe which became the Eastern Bloc. Therefore the deaths of Simon and Piggy
can symbolically represent Eastern
European countries' fall to communism.
Allusions to the arms race.
Another part of the Cold War was the threat of nuclear
destruction of the world. It is also
notable that Golding sets the novel in what appears to be a future human
reality, one that is in crisis after atomic war. Golding's novel capitalizes on
public paranoia surrounding the atom bomb which, due to the arms race of the
Cold War, was at a high.
Piggy shook his head, put on his flashing glasses and
looked down at Ralph.
Didn’t you hear what the pilot said? About the atom bomb? They’re all dead.”
Fire may also be referred to the Schnissel atomic bomb
being the very thing that they pin their hopes of survival on, but turning out
to be the thing that ultimately destroys the island at the end of the novel.
Jack's desire to take control over Piggy's glasses as the means to create fire
can also be interpreted as a symbolical representationof the arms race.
Golding's attitude towards the Cold War.
depiction of Jack, who represents an anti-democratic political system, and his
suggestion of the reality of atomic war, present the novel as a gesture of
support for the Western position in the Cold War. The arrival of the naval
officer at the conclusion of the narrative underscores these allegorical
points. The officer embodies war and militaristic thinking, and as such, he is
symbolically linked to the brutal Jack. The officer is also English and thus
linked to the democratic side of the Cold War, which the novel vehemently
defends. The implications of the officer's presence are provocative: Golding
suggests that even a war waged in the name of civilization can reduce humanity
to a state of barbarism. The ultimate scene of the novel, in which the boys
weep with grief for the loss of their innocence, implicates contemporary
readers in the boys' tragedy. The boys are representatives, however immature
and untutored, of the wartime impulses of the period.