Two separate illustrations of an animal head and a fire on a mountain

Lord of the Flies

by William Golding
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What is the significance of the title Lord of the Flies?

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The title of the novel corresponds to the name of the severed pig's head that Simon imagines he has a conversation with as he hallucinates in his secret spot in the forest. The severed pig's head was fastened onto the top of a sharp spear by Jack and his hunters and is covered with flies when Simon discovers it decaying in the forest. The Lord of the Flies is also the literal translation of the name Beelzebub, which is another name for the devil in Christian theology. When Simon comes face-to-face with the Lord of the Flies in chapter 8, he hallucinates and listens as the severed pig's head confirms that the beast is the inherent wickedness inside each child. The Lord of the Flies symbolically represents the evil on the island and thematically relates to Golding's beliefs regarding humanity's inherent wickedness. Overall, the novel is named after the severed pig's head that confirms Simon's beliefs regarding the true identity of the beast and symbolically represents the evil that takes place on the uninhabited tropical island.

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The title is important because as the story progresses, the boys succumb to their inner beast and allow it to rule their thoughts and actions. In chapter 8, Simon sees the pigs head that Jack has left on a stake. This becomes the "Lord of the Flies," and it speaks to Simon, foreshadowing the sadistically evil events that are to occur. The "Lord of the Flies" is a demonic character that reveals that everyone is susceptible to the evil within. Although the "Lord of the Flies" is only mentioned this once, it is extremely significant because it refers to the inherent evil that all are prone to unleash, and it is one of the major themes of the novel.

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The literal Hebrew translation of the name Beelzebub is "The Lord of the Flies." Beelzebub is another name for the Devil, and William Golding's ominous title represents the wickedness that takes place on the abandoned island. One of Golding's themes throughout the novel deals with the aspect of evil. Golding suggests that humans are inherently evil throughout the novel, and the severed pig's head that Jack leaves as a sacrifice to the beast is named "The Lord of the Flies." The Lord of the Flies speaks to Simon while he is hallucinating and essentially tells Simon that the "beast" is actually inside of each child. The idea of original sin is explored throughout the novel and correlates with the Biblical tale of the serpent, which is Satan, tempting Eve. According to Biblical tradition, humans have been born into sin ever since the fall of man. Golding analyzes and examines human behavior without societal restrictions. He suggests that man's evil instincts will thrive without boundaries. Satan, also known as The Lord of the Flies, encourages this wicked behavior throughout the novel.

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The Lord of the Flies has two significant meanings:

First, it is a direct allusion to the Devil, which we could argue represents evil. This object represents evil creeping into each of the boys. When Simon confronts it and seems to have a hallucination, we see a physical dilemma Simon encounters as a result of having been enlightened by the dead man whose parachute hangs in the trees. The more Simon knows the truth, the more evil tries to destroy him. The power of evil becomes greater throughout the story as this object seems to have more power over the boys.

Next, the Lord of the Flies is literally a pig's head that attracts a bunch of flies. This is much like the boys are attracted to a life of savagery, and then, like flies they go all over the place and feel a little crazy.

There are so many parallels to evil and levels of the depth of understanding the symbolism that it can certainly be taken too far. Take a look at the description at the link below for symbolism.

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