What is the significance of Simon's death in Lord of the Flies?

The significance of Simon's death in Lord of the Flies is that it demonstrates the difficulty of maintaining goodness in a society where evil greatly overpowers those seeking to do good. It is also a turning point in the characterization of Ralph and Piggy, who do nothing to try to save the innocent Simon.

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The significance of Simon’s death in Lord of the Flies relates to the fact that the one truly good, truly rational person on the island is now dead. The person who took care of the younger children and who realized that there was no “beast” to worry about on the island is no more.

With his passing, the last vestige of hope that the boys will live a civilized, harmonious life disappears. The fact that even Ralph and Piggy, who have thus far been portrayed as largely good people, participate in Simon’s murder shows that hope has truly died with Simon.

Simon’s death also signifies the complete departure from logic that has taken place on the island. Many of the boys have been living in fear of the mysterious “beastie” that they think lives on the island. When Simon arrives to tell them that he has concrete proof that this beast does not exist, they murder him rather than hearing him out. It turns out that the only beast that was ever on the island exists in the hearts and minds of a group of frenzied boys who believe in murdering first and asking questions later.

Simon is often likened to a Christ figure, albeit one not capable of resurrection, and his death symbolizes the end of everything good.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on December 15, 2020
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Simon represents an innate goodness, and his actions are consistently benevolent. He does not participate in the bloodthirsty hunts which drive Jack's group. He takes care of the needs of the youngest kids, giving the "choicest" fruit to them and comforting them at night. When the rest of the group is terrified of the "beast" on the island, it is Simon who points out that "maybe it's only us," demonstrating his knowledge of the evil tendencies that reside within all of mankind. As the other boys shed the conditioning of society, becoming increasingly savage the longer they remain on the island, Simon becomes more reflective, spending time alone and in the midst of nature. Despite his integrity, the rest of the group murders Simon, which demonstrates the overpowering abilities of evil when goodness is scarce.

Simon's death is also a turning point in the characterization of Piggy and Ralph. Until this point, they have removed themselves from the hunters' plans, standing as a sort of antithesis to Jack's savagery. Yet it is important to note that in this scene, Piggy and Ralph participate, albeit indirectly, in Simon's murder. As Simon stumbles out of the forest, Piggy and Ralph are as equally blinded as the rest of the group to the truth, recognizing Simon as a "beast" and doing nothing to save him. They regret this later, but in that moment, they prove to be as savage as the rest of the boys, which demonstrates the power of a mob-like group mentality.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on December 2, 2020
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In chapter 9, a tropical storm rages over the island, and Jack and his hunters engage in their ritual dance as heavy rains bombard the beach. During the chaotic atmosphere, Simon emerges from the forest, and the boys mistake him for the beast. Every boy, including Ralph, Piggy, and Samneric, join in the ritual frenzy and brutally murder Simon. This significant moment signifies the complete loss of innocence on the island and emphasizes the barbarity of the boys.

Simon is a symbolic Christ figure throughout the novel, and his death reflects Christ's brutal crucifixion. The fact that the boys have committed such an atrocious, brutal act signifies their complete descent into savagery. Essentially, Simon's death represents the loss of civility on the island and the point of no return. After Simon dies, there is no hope for the few boys who cling to the idea of creating a civilized society on the island. 

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This chapter symbolises the end of any vestiges of civilisation on the island and in the community of the boys. At this stage Jack and his hunters are nothing but inhuman savages filled with bloodlust and able to commit heinous crimes with a clear conscience. Ralph's followers at this stage become depressed and consider joining Jack and his gang, and all are involved in the ritual dance around the fire following the murder. In a highly significant piece of pathetic fallacy, the storm that rages over the island after Simon's death symbolises the chaos and anarchy that have overtaken the island and the boys and also reminds us of the catastrophe of the murder and what it represents.

In a sense, after Simon's confrontation with the Lord of the Flies, where the Lord of the Flies promises that he will have some "fun" with Simon and Simon realises that the beast is actually within us all, it was clear that Simon would need to confront the beast in the other boys. The Christ-like parallels between Simon and Jesus are maintained here (though not completely), for Jesus and Simon are both killed for the truth they possess. However, unlike Christ, Simon is not given a chance to share his truth. Also, of course, the function of the deaths are very different: Jesus died to save mankind, whereas Simon's death only serves to highlight the moral degeneracy at the heart of man and ushers in even further oppression and darkness in the novel.

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