Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Lord of the Flies book cover
Start Your Free Trial

At a Glance

  • Ralph, the elected leader of the stranded schoolboys.
  • Jack, who rebels against Ralph and leads the boys to savagery.
  • Piggy, an intelligent, overweight boy who acts as Ralph's advisor.
  • Simon, an innocent boy killed by the savage group.
  • Roger, a sadist who becomes one of Jack's first followers.

Download Lord of the Flies Study Guide

Subscribe Now

List of Characters

Lord of the Flies can be read as a rich set of character studies nested within the novel’s larger allegory. Thus each of the main characters is unique, representing a particular aspect of human society, from Piggy’s scientific rationality to Simon’s intuitive creativity to Jack’s tyrannical malevolence. 

Ralph

Ralph is the protagonist of Lord of the Flies. He is one of the older boys on the island, and his good looks and confidence make him a natural leader. He finds the conch and initially looks on it as a... (Read our extended character analysis on Ralph)

Jack

Jack is the antagonist of Lord of the Flies. He is set in physical contrast to the attractive Ralph, instead described as tall, thin, and “ugly without silliness.” Jack is the leader of a church choir, and... (Read our extended character analysis on Jack)

Piggy

Piggy is established as an outsider and source of ridicule amongst the boys on the island, with his weight, asthma, and spectacles offering up prime targets for jokes. His thin hair, physique, and... (Read our extended character analysis on Piggy)

Simon

Simon is the one of the younger “biguns,” portrayed as thoughtful, gentle, and prone to fainting spells. He begins as one of the choir boys but he does not join Jack’s band of hunters, instead staying... (Read our extended character analysis on Simon)

Roger

Extended Character Analysis

Roger is one of the “biguns” and a member of the choir led by Jack Merridew. He is described as “dark” and “slight and furtive,” and none of the other boys know him well. However, as the boys spend more time on the island, Roger quickly establishes his cruel nature by knocking down the younger boys’ sandcastles and throwing rocks at Henry. At first, the constraints of polite society prevent him from actually hurting anyone, but as Jack’s power grows and the boys’ society collapses, Roger grows more bold and more violent. The killing of the nursing sow showcases Roger’s sadism, as he drives his sharpened stick into the pig’s anus, an action that serves no purpose aside from causing pain. Roger's embrace of violence culminates in the murder of Piggy, wherein Roger casts off his inhibitions completely and serves as Jack’s executioner. 

Roger acts as a foil for Piggy. Just as Piggy is Ralph’s advisor, Roger is Jack’s second-in-command, establishing himself as Jack’s executioner. He is shown to have significant influence within the tribe when he takes over the torture of Samneric. Piggy represents wisdom, prudence, and civility, helping push Ralph to be a better leader and hold society together. Roger represents the direct opposite: savagery, recklessness, and anarchy. Whereas as Piggy is lucid in articulating his many thoughts, Roger is silent and undecipherable, preferring action to speech. It is the bounds of society that once kept Roger contained, so his influence, now unbounded, seeks to undermine order and rationality in favor of violence and chaos. His murder of Piggy represents the triumph of savagery and hedonism over order and civility. 

Samneric

Extended Character Analysis

The identical twins Sam and Eric are referred to as Samneric due to their indistinguishable appearances and personalities. They are regularly appointed to tend the signal fire, and they are involved in both the missed rescue opportunity and the initial sighting of the dead parachutist, which they mistake for the beast. 

After Jack defects and forms his own tribe, Samneric are the only “biguns” aside from Piggy and Simon who remain loyal to Ralph. They go with Ralph and Piggy to reclaim Piggy’s stolen glasses from Jack. After Piggy’s death and Ralph’s escape, they are captured and tortured...

(The entire section is 1,681 words.)