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

Piggy's death in Lord of the Flies symbolically represents the end of rational thought and civilized behavior on the island.

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As a character, Piggy represented rational thought and intellect. His death represents the death of these things and the triumph of savagery and mayhem. The conch, which represents civilized society, remains in Piggy’s hand in his last moments and is destroyed with him, marking the end of any hope of democracy or civilization among the boys.

While Piggy was severely short-sighted and never likely to win any kind of “survival of the fittest” competition, he was the most logical and pragmatic thinker on the island. His loyalty to the concept of the conch shows his faith in the idea of civilized society. Right up until his death, Piggy never gives up the hope of establishing order on the island. However, his attempt to inspire Jack with his rational thinking fails, and his death—courtesy of a rock rolled down the cliff by Roger—represents the end of any hope for law and order. The conch is also destroyed in the moment of Piggy’s death, heralding the end of civilized society.

Piggy’s death represents the vulnerable nature of intellect. It is the first murder on the island that cannot be chalked up to “mob mentality,” and Ralph knows that Piggy’s death (together with the imprisoning of Samneric) heralds the end of him having a single ally.

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Piggy's character represents civility, scientific thought, and rationality. Piggy is one of the few boys who champions civilization and order over hunting and savagery. Despite his annoying personality and physical limitations, Piggy is by far the most intelligent boy on the island and understands the importance of maintaining the signal fire for rescue. He encourages the boys to pragmatically solve their problems, challenges Jack's style of leadership, and reveres the conch. Piggy's vulnerability and knowledge influence him to embrace civilization and support Ralph.

In chapter 11, Piggy, Ralph, and Samneric travel to Jack's stronghold, Castle Rock, to retrieve Piggy's glasses. Shortly after Ralph fights Jack, Piggy holds the conch and addresses the group of savages. Piggy hopes to inspire Jack and the savage hunters to accept civilization, exercise rationality, and abandon their barbaric way of life. Piggy demonstrates his affinity for civilization and rational thought by posing the question, "Which is better—to have rules and agree, or to hunt and kill?" Suddenly, Roger, the sadist, rolls a massive boulder down the cliff, striking Piggy and killing him instantly.

Piggy's death symbolically represents the end of order and rational thought on the island. The conch also explodes into thousands of tiny pieces and symbolizes the demise of civilization. Piggy's death also underscores Golding's theme regarding the struggle between civility and savagery. Chaos reigns supreme following Piggy's death, and Ralph is the only rational boy alive.

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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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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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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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