Is Jack or Roger at fault for Piggy's death? Was the death of Piggy due to the fact that Jack reigns over the island with "irresponsible authority," thus allowing Roger to commit such a heinous...

Is Jack or Roger at fault for Piggy's death? Was the death of Piggy due to the fact that Jack reigns over the island with "irresponsible authority," thus allowing Roger to commit such a heinous crime? Or does Roger (being the sadist) hurt Piggy just because he can?

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rmhope eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Roger is the one who makes the decision to roll the boulder on Piggy. As Jack and Ralph spar, and as Piggy yells out accusations, Roger watches the confrontation from above. Although Jack's tribe appears ready to charge forward, Jack has given no order yet. Under his own volition, "with a sense of delirious abandonment, [Roger] leaned all his weight on the lever." Considering these facts, Roger is the guilty party.

Such an answer, however, is simplistic. Jack certainly also bears responsibility for Piggy's death because of the type of society he has set up. He has struck fear into his own followers by torturing and beating at least one of them (Wilfred) purely on a whim. When Roger approaches Castle Rock, Robert shows him the set-up with the boulder and says that "the chief said we got to challenge everyone." Later, Jack tells his boys, "The defenders of the gate will see that the others don't sneak in." Jack's "defense" system is obviously deadly, and Jack is responsible for it and for ordering his followers to be prepared to use it against Ralph and his group.

Does this absolve Roger of guilt? Not at all. One way to interpret Lord of the Flies is to consider it from a historical-political perspective. Golding had the events of the recently ended World War in mind as he penned the novel, and the Nuremberg trials had just ended a few years before. During the trials of Nazi officials and German citizens, many of those accused of war crimes claimed what would later be termed "the Nuremberg defense," namely, that they were "just following orders." These followers of Hitler tried to blame their actions on their leader so that they could absolve themselves. Interpreting Golding's work with this recent political history in mind, one can presume that Ralph represents Great Britain, Piggy represents the U.S., and Jack represents Hitler. In this scheme, Roger represents those who willingly followed Hitler, including members of the Gestapo and SS, as well as those who worked in the death camps.

Golding's characterization of Roger shows that, like some followers of Hitler, he pursued his leader's violent mission with glee and gusto. While Jack bears responsibility for creating the murder weapon and the climate that encouraged its use, Roger cannot escape his guilt by claiming the Nuremberg defense. Both boys are at fault for Piggy's murder.

renelane eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It could be argued that they both were responsible for Piggy's death. Roger was physically responsible for Piggy's death, but they both feed off each others lustful savagery.

llama-llama | Student

Roger.

“Roger, with a sense of delirious abandonment, leaned all his weight on the lever.” 

Thus dislodging the boulder that killed Piggy.


You could argue that due to Jack being chief he was in charge and so it’s his responsibility to control the group and so his fault.

starprincess | Student

roger

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Lord of the Flies

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