Please give the significance of the title of the novel Lord of the Flies.How far is this title symbolic and relevant to the novel?

Expert Answers
tmcquade eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The title Lord of the Flies is the literal translation of the word Beelzebub - an Old Testament name for a demon, or devil.  In ch. 9, it is the name given to the mother sow the boys have just tortured and killed, and whose head they have left on a stick as a gift for the beast.

Simon watches the terrible incident from his secret place, and later, as the "black blob of flies" swarms from the "pile of guts" and begins to "(tickle) his nostrils," Simon sees that "(the flies) were black and iridescent green and without number; and in front of Simon, the Lord of the Flies hung on his stick and grinned."

Simon later, in a sort of hallucination, talks to this "lord" or "beast" and is tempted by it to join the other boys in their evil and become like them.  The head says, "Fancy thinking the Beast was something you could hunt and kill!... You knew, didn't you?  I'm part of you?  Close, close close!  I'm the reason why it's a no go?  Why things are they way they are?"

In fact, Simon DOES know this.  He's the one who, in speaking of the alleged beast earlier, said, "Maybe it's only us" (ch. 5).  In this confrontation with the Beast, Simon does not give in.  In fact, he is inspired by this conversation to confront the "beast" to find out the truth.  And when he does - and learns that the beast is nothing but an entangled parachutist - he sets him free.  Unfortunately, when he comes to tell this truth to the others, he is killed on the beach.

While Simon proves himself to be a Christ figure in many ways (facing temptation, persecution, and "crucifixion," though all he did way try to help others and bring the truth), the other boys prove themselves to be "flies" drawn to death and decay.  Their "lord" is the devil, the evil that is running rampant on the island.  They, unlike Simon, give in to the temptation and fear.  They do not spend time in solitude as Simon has done, allowing them to maintain a sense of their own self, their values, and their priorities.  They become part of the unthinking mob, the "black blob of flies," that keeps swarming to the next temptation to soothe their hunger for blood.

lskbraundt | Student

Lord of the flies definitely relates to the novel as the central theme is about innate evilness.

The lord of the flies (pig head) symbolizes the innate evil in every human's heart. It replicates the sound of the authoratative principal, suggesting that at that time, performing evil of the boys is the norm.

It is also significant at the end. When Ralph saw the LOTF in the forest and he smashes it and the fall of it. It suggest that the civilness and rational thoughts have surpassed the innate evil.


Read the study guide:
Lord of the Flies

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question