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Ralph is described as a natural leader, although he does not live up to that role in their time on the island. At first, he has a quite carefree attitude, and he displays some childish cruelty toward Piggy. But he gradually grows into the responsibility, even though he himself slips into savagery at various times. He participates in the murder of Simon, lured into it by the thrill of the dance and having gorged himself on meat. However, he generally looks out for the interests of everyone, attempting to build shelters, & to keep the signal fire going. He is constantly frustrated in his efforts by Jack and his hunters, and the tension between the two leads to the climax of the novel. At the end, Ralph cries for Piggy, recognizing in him a true friend.
Jack is a bully, a cruel boy motivated at different times by a desire to be in control and a desire to kill. He wants to be chief, & is severely disappointed when Ralph is chosen instead. He continually challenges Ralph's authority, drawing attention to himself as often as possible. At first, he relishes the power he gains by withholding meat, being able to distribute it as he wishes. Yet as the story progresses, he turns into a savage hunter, thinking only of the thrill of the hunt. This applies equally to pigs and people, as he ruthlessly pursues Ralph. His attitude is one of condescension and aggression, as he violently assaults Piggy, and threatens the other boys.
Piggy is the one boy who seeks what is best for the tribe at all times. Although he is weak and perceived as annoying by the other boys, he wants to create a society resembling the one from which they have come. He is terrified of losing his glasses, which are a symbol of insight and a connection to the lost society. He is the scholar of the group, having all the good ideas, and always advising Ralph on the next step. Yet he is weak, and fat, and cannot defend himself against Jack and the others. Ultimately, he dies as a sacrifice to the beast that has been unleashed within each boy.
Simon is the representation of good in the novel. He is described as "strange" by the other boys, and he often goes off into a thicket by himself. WE discover that this is because he has epilepsy, & his seizures leave him light-headed and weak. It is during this time that he speaks to the Lord of the Flies. This event reveals to him the truth of the beast: it lives within each man and woman, born of an inherent trait. Thus, Simon is the only boy who ever knows the truth of evil, and his one attempt to bring knowledge to the others leads to his death.
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