What is the overall theme of power in Lord of the Flies? What huge lesson learned is related to the use/abuse of power?

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pmiranda2857 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Lord of the Flies the idea of power is expressed this way.  Imagine a world where there were no rules, no laws, no government to oversee the running of the country.  People lived according to how they could survive and how they defined that survival.  In Lord of the Flies, the boys are challenged to survive. A question of which idea of human behavior and human relationships will dominate their existence is addressed in the book. 

The author wants to explore whether men are basically savages at heart.  When given a chance to obtain power, would most use it to control and suppress others or will individuals act with compassion and integrity?  In the absence of authority will men act with integrity or will greed and selfishness rule?

The book emphasizes the power struggle between order and chaos that occurs between the different personalities of the boys and who ultimately takes control or has the power to rule and command others.  In their efforts to survive, will the boys succumb to the forces of evil and submit to savage behavior or will they retain their learned civilized behavior?  Unfortunately, chaos defeats order and savagery ensues.

kirstens eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Power is a central theme in the novel.  Because the boys yearn for power and control, they begin to corrupt their existence on the island.  Ralph achieves power in a democratic fashion - a vote - and retains power for a period of time because of his logic and respect for those around him.  Unfortunately, Jack achieves power in a tyrannical fashion resorting to violence and threats to hold on to the control/power he possesses.  In all, the want of power, the corrupting nature of power begins to erode what good intentions the boys had on the island. 


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Lord of the Flies

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