What do the flies in Lord of the Flies represent?Does "the flies" represent how people seem to be working together, but in reality they are all on their own agenda flying in random directions??...

What do the flies in Lord of the Flies represent?

Does "the flies" represent how people seem to be working together, but in reality they are all on their own agenda flying in random directions??

Because when flies swarm around garbage and stuff they seem to be one unit of flies....

Expert Answers
gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The literal translation of Beelzebub is the "Lord of the Flies," which is the title of the Golding's novel. Throughout the novel, Golding explores and examines human nature, which he believes is inherently flawed and wicked. When Simon hallucinates and speaks to the Lord of the Flies in chapter 8, he is metaphorically speaking to the Devil, who tells him that the beast is not something he can physically kill. The Lord of the Flies also tells Simon that the beast lives inside each boy on the island.

While the severed pig's head symbolizes Satan, the swarming flies could represent his followers. Similarly to how the flies consume the severed pig's head, flawed humans satisfy their primitive desires, which are considered sinful. Jack and his hunters are the perfect examples of how inherently wicked humans descend into savagery by satiating their primitive desires in an environment void of laws and restrictions. The flies swarming around the severed pig's head symbolically represent the savages on the island, who satisfy their bloodlust by slaughtering pigs and harming humans. The flies surrounding the pig's head can also symbolically represent any individual basking in their sin. 

troutmiller eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The pig's head is the Lord of the Flies.  It represents anarchy.  It's also considered Beelzebub.  The flies could be considered the followers.  Just as Jack has finally split the boys into two tribes--the fire makers and the fire takers--his tribe members are like the flies.  They follow his orders.  They work together to accomplish his goals.

So they are working together, but they have a different agenda than the "right" one.  They are following Jack's leadership which is the "wrong" agenda.  They hover around death and decay--which is what is happening slowly on the island.

codygoyack12 | Student

The pig's head that was on the tree represents the lord of the flies.  

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Lord of the Flies

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