Compare the ideas of community as they are presented in Lord Of The Flies and The Merchant of Venice.

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The word community has two distinct meanings. One refers to a group of people who live in a specific place or who share a common characteristic. The second pertains to a feeling of unity with others because they share common interests attitudes or aspirations.

In Lord of the Flies and The Merchant of Venice, the groups which are referred to, fit the first description since they share the same geographical location. The boys in Lord of the Flies are all on an island together and in The Merchant of Venice, Jews and Christians alike (as well as a mixture of other nationalities, cultures and religions) all live in Venice.  

In terms of the second definition, though, we are confronted with fragmented communities in both instances. The groups featured in both are at loggerheads with each other and seem to be in constant dispute. In Lord of the Flies, once Jack splits from the main group with his hunters, we have two distinct factions who are in conflict with each other. In The Merchant of Venice, Shylock and Antonio, who are both symbols their respective religious and cultural groups, are declared enemies. In both instances, therefore, the characters do not display unity since they do not share the same interests, attitudes or goals. There is, therefore, no community in this sense.

In Lord of the Flies, Jack, with his hunters, seek a savage lifestyle, free of rules and restrictions. They want to do as they please and refuse to be confined by the conventions of civilised society, order and discipline. This brings them into conflict with others such as Ralph, Piggy, Simon, Sam and Eric who wish to establish order to ensure their safety and make rescue possible. The two groups are therefore very distinct and, for their part, they  form two separate communities, each distinguished by a common interest, goal and attitude. One is ordered and rational, whilst the other is savage and instinctual.    

In The Merchant of Venice, our protagonist and antagonist represent two entirely different perspectives. The Christians have their own value system while Jews have another. They are in direct contrast with each other and it is this which creates conflict. Shylock, for example, states equivocally that he will not keep company with Christians. He will not eat, drink, or pray with them. He despises Antonio. Antonio, on the other hand, treated Shylock with contempt. He spat on him, called him a dog, kicked him and vehemently and publicly expressed criticism of Shylock's money-lending practices.  

As in Lord of the Flies, we here, too, have two opposing factions who are in direct contrast to one another. We thus have two markedly defined communities. 

It is obvious that although the groups mentioned above are communities in the literal sense of the word because they share a common geographical space, their differences are what sets them. As a result, each assumes a separate identity and, therefore, a separate community.     

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