In Lord of the Flies, why does Jack's group kill Piggy?

In Lord of the Flies, Jack's group kills Piggy because of their ideological differences and his support of Ralph. Piggy champions civility, order, and rational thought, while Jack and his followers embrace their primitive instincts. They desire to live like savages and recognize that Piggy's outlook threatens their "fun," uninhibited lifestyle. They also resent Piggy for supporting Ralph, who is Jack's main enemy on the island.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

I would argue that Jack's group kills Piggy because he is ideologically opposed to their thuggery and lack of civilization. Right to the end, Piggy adheres to the tenets of civilization, holding onto the conch and fully believing in his right to speak while holding it. This is totally opposed to Jack's philosophy that hunting, not civilization or rescue, is the top priority.

Roger's decision to roll a boulder down the hill towards Piggy, who is close to blind in the aftermath of his glasses being stolen by Jack and his crew, is a malevolent (and successful) attempt to silence Piggy. Throughout the story, Piggy has been a paragon of logic and rationality, and by squashing Piggy, Roger, who is well-known by this point for his evil nature, attempts to squash these ideals.

The violent nature of Piggy's death, and the detail in which Golding describes it, speaks of the levels of malevolence that Roger and Jack had for Piggy.

Piggy fell forty feet and landed on his back across the square red rock in the sea. His head opened and stuff came out and turned red. Piggy's arms and legs twitched a bit, like a pig's after it has been killed.

Piggy, for all his lofty ideals about logic and civilization, is treated with the same respect as the pig that Jack has killed just prior to this conflict. Jack's group kills Piggy because his voice of reason is an irritation to them and simply because they have the power and the wherewithal to do so.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Piggy is depicted as a rational, intelligent boy, and he supports Ralph's futile attempts to establish a civil society on the island. Jack and his followers subscribe to a completely different ideology and embrace their primitive instincts. Jack's main goal is to undermine Ralph's leadership, tyrannize the boys, and participate in savagery without any consequences. He is addicted to hunting and champions anarchy.

Towards the end of the story, Piggy addresses Jack and his tribe of savages and delivers a speech on the value of civility and order. In the middle of his speech, Roger rolls a large boulder down a cliff in Piggy's direction, which kills him instantly. Piggy's body is thrown into the air, and the conch shatters.

Piggy's death is primarily caused by his ideological differences and support of Ralph. Piggy's desire to establish a civil society threatens Jack's goal of becoming a tyrant and embracing his primitive instincts. The savages have no desire to live by rules, take on responsibilities, or treat others with respect. Piggy's morals and rational outlook conflict with their lifestyle.

Jack and his followers also view Ralph as their main enemy. Since Piggy aligns himself with Ralph, he, too, is considered an enemy. Jack and his savages believe Ralph and Piggy want to prevent them from having "fun" on the island, which is why they both must die. Roger takes the initiative by killing Piggy, which is a dramatic turning point in the story.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In Chapter 11, Ralph, Piggy, and Samneric travel to Castle Rock to retrieve Piggy's glasses. When they approach Castle Rock, Roger stops the group of boys before Jack suddenly appears. Jack immediately begins to fight with Ralph. Piggy cannot help himself and begins calling Jack a thief. Piggy then announces to everyone that he is holding the conch and everybody stops to listen. Piggy says that the boys are acting like a "pack of painted Indians." He asks, "Which is better—to have rules and agree, or to hunt and kill?" (Golding 259) The intensity of the moment builds and Roger suddenly rolls a massive boulder toward Piggy. Roger's decision to kill Piggy is not surprising. Out of all the boys on the island, Roger is the most malevolent individual. He enjoys torturing the others and is happy to kill Piggy. Jack has always disagreed with Piggy, who happens to represent civility and morality. Jack's followers naturally dislike Piggy because Jack hates him. In the end, Roger takes matters into his own hands by deciding to kill Piggy with a boulder. 

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Piggy dies because he is speaking the truth.  His last words are, "Which is better, law and rescue, or hunting and breaking things up?"  Piggy has represented the thinker, the intellect, throughout the story. He tries to be the voice of reason but he is ignored and ridiculed.  Golding is saying, through this, that reason in all of society is ignored and ridiculed.  People would rather fight and break up things than listen to sense and intelligence.  Golding felt that only the constrictions of society kept man from letting his true savage nature out most of the time.  He attempts to show, in this book, that once the rules of society are no longer in place, then people become evil and savage.  That's what happened to the boys in the story.  Ralph's side, the side of order and reason, gets devoured by Jack's side, the side of chaos and savagery.  Piggy is killed because he tries to speak the truth of reason and Golding is saying that truth gets silenced when it tries to speak up.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial