Lord of the Flies Questions and Answers
by William Golding

Lord of the Flies book cover
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Does William Golding agree with the Hobbesian or a Lockean view of human nature and government in Lord of the Flies?

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William Golding's worldview in Lord of the Flies is Hobbesian through and through. Hobbes famously believed that, in the state of nature, we'd all be at each other's throats, taking what we want whenever we want. There would be be complete chaos; no one would feel safe and so there'd be no incentive for anyone to engage in the foundational activities of civilization such as science, arts, or commerce. The law of the jungle would prevail and only the strong would survive.

If we apply that grim view of humanity to Lord of the Flies, we can immediately see the parallels. Despite Ralph 's best efforts to establish himself as sovereign, the boys remain in a primitive state, the state of nature. Hobbes would doubtless have welcomed Ralph's attempts to impose order on the unruly mob of schoolboys, but he would've been hyper-critical of the methods he used. For Hobbes believed that the only way to bring some measure of order to society was through the establishment of an absolute ruler or sovereign,...

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