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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What is the significance of the title "A View to a Death" in the novel Lord of the Flies?

The significance of the chapter's title "A View to a Death" alludes to the fact that Simon witnesses the dead paratrooper, and the boys end up brutally murdering Simon at the end of the chapter. At the beginning of the chapter, Simon climbs to the top of the mountain and discovers that the "beast" is actually a dead paratrooper. He then runs down the mountain to tell the other boys that the "beast" is actually a dead human. While Simon is running down the mountain, Jack and his hunters begin their ritual dance and work themselves into a frenzy. Unfortunately, Simon ends up running onto the beach where the boys mistake him for the "beast" and brutally murder him. The title of the chapter not only alludes to Simon's discovery of the dead paratrooper but also his brutal murder. 

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What is the significance of the title "A View to a Death" in the novel Lord of the Flies?

The first significance is fairly obvious - Simon dies at the end of this chapter.  He comes down from the mountain to tell the boys that he understands who/what the beast is and the boys, already in a state of adrenalin, descend upon him and kill him.

However, besides death, the word "view" is significant for this chapter.  Simon is the prophet of the group.  A sensitive and intelligent boy, he views the dead pig's head.  Suffering from the heat and exhaustion, Simon imagines that the pig's head has talked to him, telling him about the fear and the violence and what it is really from.  Having been enlightened by this, Simon goes up the mountain to "view" the beast.  He understands that the beast is the dead pilot and his parachute.  This "view" sends him to spread the message to the boys.  The death of the pig and the death of the pilot have been the views that will lead to Simon's own death.

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What is the significance of the title of the book Lord of the Flies?

Interestingly, the title of the short novel 'Lord Of The Flies' was not the author's first choice. William Goldsmith originally had a much less 'attention-grabbing' title for his book, and during discussions with his publisher, decided to change it. A good decision, it appears, for the novel stirred up a lot of interest and early runs of the books were newsworthy as copies flew off the shelves. 

This shows us that the significance of the title has something to do with the inner selves of all us - it touches references and motifs and fears with which we are already familiar. The author's family had links to Christian education and perhaps one of the most obvious themes suggested by that title is the Bible. Think of the image of Beelzebub, an early name for the devil - who was often depicted as having horns or tusks, much like a pig. The novel deals with man's innate propensity for evil and this resonates with other religious events in the novel such as the choirboys with their torn dirty gowns. Think also of icons, graven images, statues and idols (often pushed up on sticks in religious ceremonies) and the Bible's warnings from God saying 'thou shalt have no other Gods but me, kneel not to graven images.' The word 'Lord' suggests hierarchy, such as that involved in the struggle between good and evil - in this case we wonder who wins out in the end? Is it the good theme represented by Simon, and the ending where rescuers arrive? We must remember that the 'rescuer' may represent a subtle form of perceived evil however, as he could represent the armed forces conducting a war which is only in the interests of a great superpower. The word 'Lord' also connotes dominion, both in the Bible (where man has dominion over all living things) and out in the world where feudalism, slavery and royalty still have relevance in certain parts of the world.

Flies also connote images of death, dirt and decay and engender fear and hostility among humans. Although potential readers do not usually know the outcome of the story in detail, the word 'flies' is powerful. The combination of the two images makes a potential reader wonder what such a 'Lord' could be - and is a hook which makes them curious enough to want to read the book.

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

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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