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Lord of the Flies is set during a war; Golding may have got this idea as he was in a war himself. The boys are being evacuated, when the plane crashes on the island. After the boys get out it is washed out to sea. ‘He glanced around the scar ‘, this is the first thing that Ralph sees when he gets onto the island. It is a big ditch where the plane has crashed, you could argue that the boys have just become a destructive force and so the beast is ‘born’.

From the first impressions that you get of the choir, you know that they are evil from the start. ‘Then the creature stepped from mirage onto clear sand’, mentioning them as one creature makes them sound big and powerful. The fact that it says ‘…mirage on to clear sand’, gives them a mystical property, which would gain them admiration and respect from the rest of the group. The impression of evil is created again as they are likened to blackbirds or crows. The crow is a symbol of evil so they are branded with evil within the first 17 pages. However, ‘The boy with fair hair…’ which is said about Ralph shows the good and purity about him. Already we are given the idea of good and evil, which is the basis for the beast. This difference is significant because later on in the novel these are the two groups that get divided at the very start of the tribal split.

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In this novel the beast always represents evil, it always scares the boys no matter what it takes on. This shows that the beast is such a powerful force, that even when the good forces on the island become the beast, it scares the evil forces.


‘In the woods.’

Either the wandering breezes or perhaps the decline of the sun allowed a little coolness to lie under the trees. The boys felt it and stirred restlessly.’ The boys are scared of the beast from the start of the novel, which gives the idea that it is real. However, I don’t think that it is real as it changes forms throughout the novel so it must be the boy’s imagination. In Effect the boy who tells the group about the snake starts off a chain reaction of fear, which will eventually split up the group and result in Piggy and Simon’s deaths. The beast is the only thing that scares them on the island, as it is in their heads that is the thing that they are worried about without even considering anything else. Some people may say that this is an argument for the beast being real.

During the novel, the beast takes on many forms. One of the forms it takes on is the boys. This happens for the first time when the boys drop a huge rock into the trees from the mountain. They are the beast here because they have destroyed part of the island, therefore showing evil and taking on the form of the beast. However, it is most obvious when the boys kill Simon because of the amount of violence that goes on in that part of the novel. I think that when the hunters start putting on paint, it makes the violence worse, ‘A hunter crouched on either side. All three were masked in black and green.’ The paint sounds like war paint, and the fact that it says masked makes them sound like different people, so maybe they feel they can kill people because they are not themselves, they have turned into the beast.

The parachutist takes on the form of the beast when it lands on the island and all the boys get scared of it, they even say that that it is the beast, ‘It was furry. Something was moving behind its head-wings. The beast moved too-.’ The boys who said this exaggerated a lot as what they saw was a dead man. Maybe they do this because they want respect for fighting a huge beast, but the most likely reason is that it is the psychological effect of being on the island. This would then be an argument for the beast being an imaginary thing instead of a physical one. I would say that this is more of a psychological thing because the boys are not used to an environment such as this, therefore they are feeling very insecure and so they are worried about their surroundings. Also, the boys will have been with their parents for their entire lives so they associate safety with their parents, they are not there so the boys feel unsafe. The boy who sets off the idea of the beast is only small and so would be even more worried than the big boys, this would make him feel even more aware of a beast on the island. He then tells the other boys and this then makes their fears grow larger until most of them believe that there is a beast.

The beast also takes on the form of the island as it is always holding the boys back. Even when the boys first arrive on the island it attacks them by stopping them going on, ‘I can’t hardly move with all these creeper things’. This might be because they are new on the island and it is not ‘happy’ with their presence. It doesn’t know what they are like so it is wary of them and lets them know who’s in charge by holding them back at the start. However, sometimes it is helpful as when the savages are trying to kill Ralph it creates a protective cavern of thorns where Ralph can go to be safe. ‘Within seconds he was worming his way into the thicket’. This could show that the savages are the beast at that part in the novel and Ralph is a ‘good guy’ as the island is protecting him. The island is probably being kind to Ralph here because all through the play he was trying to get them off the island and stop all of the destruction that was going on. This is why the island is trying to stop him from being killed because otherwise the island itself might become completely ruined.

Another form that the beast takes on is fire, especially at the start when it destroys half of the island. ‘Now you been and set the whole island on fire. Won’t we look funny if the whole island burns up?’. This could be said to be the boys being the beast but it could also be interpreted as the fire in the form of the beast. However, some might argue that the fire never takes on the form of the beast. When it burns down part of the island you could say that it is only trying to get rid of the boys and that they are the beast and an unwanted force. If it wasn’t for the fire then they wouldn’t have been rescued so they would have been stuck there, so there are two ways of looking at it but I believe that the fire takes on the form of the beast. This is because it does more harm than good throughout the novel and it is always destroying things.

I think that Golding added the beast into the story to add an element of fear and excitement to the island. It is the main subject that the story revolves around and it is the thing that drives the story along. Without it, the story might be quite boring as there would be nothing to motivate the boys and keep the storyline moving. The beast also represents the boy’s sanity on the island, for example, when the pig’s head takes on the form of the beast, it starts talking to Simon and he starts talking back. This shows that as the story has progressed, the boys have become less sane. When the novel comes to an end, I think that the beast has been destroyed. This is because Ralph’s idea with the fire is the idea that gets them off the island and so good has triumphed over evil. This was the idea that some of the group had that the fire would never work. I also think this is helped by the fact that humans come onto the island at the end and bring back all of the security and safety of their homes and parents. This would mean that the beast is completely abolished if the beast is a psychological thing.

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