Lord of the Flies Questions and Answers
by William Golding

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What does the death of Piggy represent in Lord of the Flies?

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Gretchen Mussey eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The death of Piggy not only symbolizes the complete destruction of civility and rationality on the island, but means Ralph is on his own to contend with Jack and his barbaric tribe. Piggy was Ralph's biggest supporter throughout the novel because he shared Ralph's passion for a structured civil society. Piggy remained loyal to Ralph even after Jack usurped power and the majority of the boys joined Jack's tribe. With Piggy dead and Samneric taken captive, Ralph is completely on his own and left to fend for himself. Ralph feels hopeless and tries to convince himself that what happened to Piggy was an accident. Eventually, Ralph can no longer deny the truth. Golding mentions that the deaths of Piggy and Simon lay over the island like a vapor when Ralph realizes that the boys will continue their decent into savagery by hunting him like a pig. Ralph knows it is only a matter of time before Jack and the boys attempt to kill him. With Piggy dead and the conch broken, Ralph is hopeless on the island full of savages. 

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mwestwood, M.A. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Piggy, who has always appeared older than the other boys with his thick body and thinning hair and poor eyesight, is representative of maturity of thought and rationality. For he is the one who finds the conch and suggests to Ralph that it can be used for assembling the boys; he is the one who suggests that the boys with him can make a fire on the beach as a signal just as easily as on the mountain after Jack and the hunters steal the fire. 

But Piggy's maturity and rational behavior is threatened by the savagery of the hunters who steal his glasses, and the sadism of Roger. So, in Chapter Eleven when Ralph and Piggy and the others approach the hunters to demand the return of Piggy's glasses, Roger arrests their approach. Ralph identifies himself and says that he is calling a meeting, but Roger keeps his hand upon the lever of the rock that is poised over the bridge. After Jack usurps power from Ralph, Roger releases the boulder with "delirious abandonment" and it strikes Piggy, hurling him downward to death, symbolizing the end of all rationality and civilized behavior.

His head opened...and turned red. Piggy's arms and legs twitched a bit....Then the sea breathed again in a long, slow sigh...sucking back again, the body of Piggy was gone.

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Kristen Lentz eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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As heart-breaking as Piggy's violent death is in Lord of the Flies, Golding uses the moment symbolically to represent an end to civilization and order on the island.  Roger, the symbol of ultimate evil, releases the giant boulder that smashes the conch and kills Piggy; his death is incredibly symbolic, especially in the way he dies; being smashed by a boulder is not only an extremely violent way to die, but it is also senseless and meaningless.  The moment is a snapshot for the most important theme of the novel, civilization and order against chaos and savagery. 

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lalalafreak | Student

Piggy's death symbolises savagery, loss of innocence, and chaos. Piggys glasses and the conch represented law and order and wen they were destroyed so was the law and order. So whn Piggy tried to reason with the boys in his speech, it only antagonised them and resulted in his own death. Couldn't say he didn't try to save them from savagery which Golding implys is human nature.

ieatfood4lunch | Student

The death of Piggy represents the loss of order on the island and evil/savagery concurring good/civilization. Also, when Piggy dies, his glasses, which represent intellect, are also crushed.