How does Jack manipulate the boys in Lord of the Flies?

Jack manipulates the boys in Lord of the Flies by encouraging their primitive instincts and supporting their inherent desires to freely express themselves. Jack also uses fear and intimidation to manipulate his tribe. He acknowledges that the beast exists and poses a serious threat and that only he can protect them from it. Jack also randomly tortures members of his tribe, and they obey him out of the fear that they will incur his wrath.

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In many ways, Jack Merridew, our main antagonist, proves himself to be a master manipulator. He is also a bully, a tyrant, and a murderer.

While Ralph had initially been elected leader, Jack manipulates the situation by telling the other boys that Ralph had been a coward when confronting the so-called beast. The reality, of course, is that the beast is a dead parachutist, and that Jack flees just as fast at Ralph does at the sight of the so-called “beastie.”

Later, in an attempt to lure more of the boys into his newly established gang of bullies, Jack successfully hunts and cooks a nursing sow, thus setting himself up as a hero and a provider of food. He also sets himself up as the proponent of the “fun” activities, such as swimming and hunting, instead of the hard work of shelter-building that Ralph is engaged in. By encouraging the boys to paint their faces, he sets himself up as the leader of a tribe of boys who, because they no longer look like they used to, feel empowered to do things that they would never have dreamed of doing before.

Throughout the novel, Jack uses the boys’ fears, including the fear of hunger and the fear of inciting his own wrath, to manipulate and control them. He creates an illusion that he alone can provide protection against the beast and incites such fear in the majority of the boys that they obey him simply to keep the illusion of peace.

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When the littluns start getting scared of the Beast, this mythical creature that's supposed to be lurking round every corner, Jack gets mad at them. He berates them for what he sees as a sign of babyish weakness.

However, Jack soon comes to realize that the widespread belief in the Beast can be used to his own advantage. He vows that if there is a Beast running loose on the island, he and his hunters will hunt it down and kill it. Jack doesn't say this because he wants to assuage the littluns; he makes the offer because he sees it as an opportunity for a power grab.

The wily Jack has figured out that if the boys believe in the existence of the Beast, then they will turn to him as their protector. That's because they know that only someone as violent and as fearless as Jack will be able to dispatch the beast.

It may seem to the untutored observer that Jack is being a hero in vowing to kill the Beast. But in actual fact, he's cynically manipulating the other boys' fear in order to become their undisputed leader. It's therefore in Jack's interest for everyone to believe that the Beast exists and that it represents a real and present danger.

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Jack primarily manipulates the boys by promoting their primitive instincts and playing on their natural inclination to satisfy their physical desires. Jack recognizes the boys’ affinity for participating in exhilarating, fun activities like hunting and swimming, which allows him to gain their favor over Ralph.

Jack knows the value of independence and gives his hunters the opportunity to express themselves freely by allowing them to paint their faces and dismissing them from certain responsibilities. He understands what fundamentally drives the boys and creates a tribe where everyone can embrace their uninhibited desires and satisfy their bloodlust. The boys prefer to relax, hunt, and participate in exciting rituals, which is exactly what Jack offers them. He uses these activities as positive reinforcement and simultaneously bolsters his popularity.

In addition to manipulating the boys’ primitive instincts, Jack also uses fear and intimidation to control his tribe. He takes on the persona of a successful, fearless hunter who can protect them from the beast. Jack leads the group on a hunting expedition for the beast and volunteers to climb to the mountain top where the beast supposedly resides. The boys admire him for his hunting prowess and respect him for his courage.

He also contributes to the hysteria surrounding the beast by acknowledging its existence and claiming that it can shape-shift. Jack also tyrannizes the boys and intimidates them by randomly torturing individuals like Wilfred. The members of his tribe fear they will incur his wrath and therefore obey Jack to avoid punishment. Jack even keeps a stake pointed at both ends to remind them that he is capable of hurting anyone who challenges him.

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Jack plays emotion in order to manipulate the boys.  Ralph and Piggy represent reason in the story, and try to reason with the boys by explaining the "truths", as they see them - the importance of the fire, the unlikeliness of the beast, etc..  However, Jack, as the symbol of emotion and instinct, is ultimately more effective in the end, as we see in the breakdown of civilization upon the island.

The two emotions that Jack focuses on the most are excitement and fear.  The first he uses is excitement.  He leads his choir boys into a hunting party because hunting is fun and exiciting.  It is primal, and it makes the heart pump.  The boys relish the adrenaline.  Even Ralph is pulled in by the excitment of the hunt.  After he hits the pig with the spear, he gets so caught up in the excitment that he boasts:

"I hit him all right. The spear stuck in. I wounded him."  He sunned himself in their new respect and felt that hunting was good after all.

In the end, the boys turn the hunt into a play, and use Robert as the "pig."  It is this that eventually turns Ralph off, because he notices in himself his own desire to get at Robert, who ends up crying and hurt.  However, in all, the boys are enjoying their "games" and will remain loyal to jack for the excitment.

Back at camp, Jack uses the emotion of fear as a manipulation technique.  When Ralph tries to emphasize the need for the fire, Jack plays up the horror of the "beast" to insist that there needs to be more focus on hunting and less on the fire.  He scares the littleuns into hysterics, and Ralph loses control of the meeting, as Jack had planned.

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