What is the significance of the title "The Lord of the Flies", to the overall story?

2 Answers

ladyvols1's profile pic

ladyvols1 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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The title of the novel is a translation of a Hebrew word, “baal-zevuv. An English word derived from the Greek word is “Beelzebub,” which can mean any of the following: Satan, chief devil, an assistant devil second only to Satan, or fallen angel. In the novel, the head of a pig is referred to in Chapter 8 (“Gift for the Darkness”) as the "Lord of the Flies" after Jack and his boys impale it on a stake driven into the ground. When the head begins to decompose, it attracts many flies. However, the head is only a symbol of the devil, or evil. Simon learns while staring at it that the real evil on the island is inside the souls of the boys. It is interesting to note that the boys call their leader “chief,” which could be interpreted as a shortened version of the meaning of Beelzebub, or chief devil

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violetmaster | Middle School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

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The "lord" or the beast's head mounted on the stick is supposedly Beelzebub and the flies are his demons. The flies' attraction to decaying flesh and meat represents the boys' fascination with savagery and violence, the very thing responsible for turning them into savages in the end.