What is the Biblical allegory to the name "Lord of the Flies"?

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Kristen Lentz | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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The "Lord of the Flies" appears in Chapter Eight of the novel; after Jack and his hunters kill the sow, they leave the dismembered sow's head on a stick as an offering to the Beast.  Simon happens upon this head as he wanders through the jungle:

"He opened his eyes quicly and there was the head grinning amusedly in the strange daylight, ignoring the flies, the spilled guts" (136).

Flies swarm and dominate the pig's head, a visual symbol of decay.

"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" (138).

Golding uses the personification of the sow's head as a religious metaphor, alluding to Beezelbub.  Beezelbub in Greek translates to "Lord of the Flies...a pungent and suggestive name for the Devil," suggestive of decay and destruction ("Notes on Lord of the Flies" 208).  The conversation between Simon and The Lord of the Flies confirms Simon's suspicions that the much debated Beast on the island is not some mythical creature, but the boys themselves.  This key moment in the novel reinforces Golding's theme of man's innate evil, underscored by the leering Lord of the Flies, a symbol of decay and destruction.


*"Notes on Lord of the Flies" is by E.L. Epstein and appears at the end of my copy of Lord of the Flies.

Golding, William.  Lord of the Flies.  Perigree: New York, 2006.


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