How does "The Beast" represent savagery in Lord of the Flies?

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The beast symbolically represents the boys' inherent wicked nature, which becomes more pronounced as the novel progresses and they descend further into savagery. Initially, the littluns fear a "beastie," which they claim lives in the forest and haunts their dreams. As the story progresses, the hysteria concerning the beast continues...

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The beast symbolically represents the boys' inherent wicked nature, which becomes more pronounced as the novel progresses and they descend further into savagery. Initially, the littluns fear a "beastie," which they claim lives in the forest and haunts their dreams. As the story progresses, the hysteria concerning the beast continues to grow as the boys gradually begin to embrace their savage nature. After a paratrooper is shot out of the sky and lands on the top of the mountain, Samneric witness its corpse and mistake it for the beast. The paratrooper's corpse symbolically represents the presence of evil on the island and is allegorically related to Satan's descent from heaven. Ralph, Jack, and Roger also witness the corpse and mistake it for the beast, which dramatically increases the hysteria among the group of boys, who begin looking towards Jack for protection.

Simon is a symbolic Christ-figure and is the only boy who understands the true nature of the beast. Unlike the others, Simon realizes that the beast is not a physical monster that can be hunted and is actually the inherent evil, which is present in each boy. Despite Simon's understanding, the boys begin leaving the beast sacrifices and treating it as a totemic god. In chapter eight, Simon comes face-to-face with the Lord of the Flies and the severed pig's head confirms his belief by telling him,

"Fancy thinking the Beast was something you could hunt and kill!...You knew, didn’t you? I’m part of you? Close, close, close! I’m the reason why it’s no go? Why things are what they are?" (Golding, 206).

After interacting with the Lord of the Flies, Simon climbs the mountain and discovers that the "beast" is actually the corpse of a deceased paratrooper. Tragically, Simon is mistaken for the beast when he runs onto the beach to inform the boys of his discovery and is brutally beaten to death. Overall, the beast symbolically represents mankind's inherent wickedness and savage instincts, which flourish in an environment without rules or regulations.

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The "beast" in Lord of the Flies by William Golding is the major symbol in the story which represents the "evil inside all human beings."  The boys on the island begin to deal with the beast from the beginning of the novel when the "littluns" start screaming about the "beastie".  Everyone else, especially the older boys, tell them that the beastie is in their imagination, but in all seriousness, the beastie is deep inside all of us.  It symbolizes man's savage nature or evil side.  Golding constantly shows us this side of man through the boys' actions of joining in the hunt with Jack and killing the pig for food.  The titles of several chapters seem to also sum up the symbolism.  "The Beast from the Air" represents "the adult beast" or the fact that as people seem to get older, they become more savage through the environment, knowledge and survival. The Chapter titled, "Painted Faces and Long Hair" symbolizes the change in the boys from innocent students to savage animals who hunt, fight and kill to survive.  While preparing for the kill Jack gets the "littluns" all fired up, paints their faces, teaches them chants, and gets them into a fury before they all kill the pig.  This fury increases through the various fights on the island, Jack screaming and yelling at Ralph for allowing the fire to go out, and also in the death of Simon, who was going to reveal the inner beast to everyone, but then was killed before he could explain.  Even Ralph, the one boy who seemed to keep his inner beast at bay, fell to his inner nature at the end of the book when the boys were chasing him and democracy and compromise was no longer an option.  In essence, as the boys changed through the need for meat, killing, fighting, chanting, their savage grew and grew until ironically, they were saved by adults who in essence were soldiers whose job was more than not, to hunt, fight, and kill the enemy to win the war.

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