???Evil is not an external foe, it dwells in the heart of men???
This statement points out that while many people attempt to externalise evil, it is true that it is actually born and conceived in the hearts of men.
In William Goldings Lord of the Flies, Golding uses symbolism to reflect this idea of evil being innate within humans.
Golding uses the settings as different symbols throughout the novel. One of the first symbols is the main setting, the island. The island in itself represents isolation of the children. Since the children are isolated on the island, there is no way that the evil of the outside world could influence them to become evil. The island is also used to show that the environment, being so beautiful and pure. The island is described as a place where “the white surf flinked on a coral reef, and beyond that the open sea was dark blue. Within the irregular arc of coral the lagoon was still as a mountain lake–blue of all shades and shadowy green and purple”
Golding shows that the children are not conditioned by society or another satanic force to act in an evil manner; the innate evil within themselves causes them to act in such a way.
A river flows through the centre of the island providing the children with fresh water. This river represents purity on the island, before corrupted by ???man???. The water runs pure and clean until the dead bodies, representing evil, are thrown into it by the ???children??? and pollute it. This symbolises again that island was pure and clean, empty of evil but because of the evil within ???men??? the island??™s river now runs polluted.
Another setting which adds to the idea that evil is born within man is the “scar” where the plane crashed. When the plane crashed, it left a clearing in the jungle known as the scar. “All round him the long scar smashed into the jungle”. The scar shows how a beautiful and innocent area is corrupted by man and the evil within him.
The last setting that portrays the idea of evil being within the children is the jungle. The jungle symbolizes evil being hidden within. “Soon the high jungle closed in. Tall trunks bore unexpected pale flowers all the way up to the dark canopy???, ???The air here was dark too”. The jungle is described as a dark evil place, often would hold something frightening, whether it be the “snake-thing” or ???the beast???. The dark jungle is located in the ???heart??? of the island. This represents a “heart of darkness”; evil inside the children corresponding with evil inside the island.
Though not all the boys are evil, there is one boy named Simon. “he was a skinny, vivid little boy, with a glance coming up from under a hut of straight hair that hung down, black and coarse”. Simon is used in the story to show the innate evil within the other boys. Throughout his time on the island Simon acts as a Christ figure in many settings. His actions show inner qualities much the same as Piggy and Ralph. Simon always wants to help and never acts cruel or evil against the other boys.
“Simon found for them the fruit they could not reach, pulled off the choicest from up in the foliage, passed them back down to the endless, outstretched hands” Simons actions represent them qualities of Christ.
Simon has no inner evil; this is one of the main reasons for his murder.
A further symbol that links evil being born within men is when Simon speaks with the Lord of the Flies. While in his special clearing Simon is able to communicate with the Lord of the Flies, which in reality is the dead pigs head. The Lord of the Flies “tells” him:
“Fancy thinking the Beast was something you could hunt and kill. You knew, didnt you Im part of you Close, close, close! Im the reason why its no go Why things are what they are??? Simon realizes that ???the beast??? the one they all fear as an ???external foe??? is actually living and ???dwelling??? inside them.
After finding out what the beast really is, Simon feels the need to let the others know. But seemingly mistaken for the “beast” coming down from the mountain, the boys murder Simon.
“It was dark. There was that–that bloody dance. There was lightning and thunder and rain. We was scared!” they little??™uns tried to make excuses for the ???accident??? they made but in reality jack new exactly what he was doing and he felt that because of no parents there would be no consequences. Jacks inner evil grows a lot quicker than the other boys; this could be because of nurture or nature. Some people believe nature (in our genes, always inside us) is what determines our characteristics while others believe in nurture (the influence our parents or guardians have on us). It is Jacks inner evil that leads the other boys into joining his ???tribe???.
In the beginning of the novel the boys show a sense of civilisation and common sense this is shown by conch, the fire and group meetings. Slowly the evil inside of them begins to create fear and insecurity. Some boys try covering this up by trying to act tough, like when they pick on Piggy: ???Piggy once more was the centre of social derision so that everyone felt cheerful and happy ???or when jack pulls the knife to the piglets??™ throat trying to show his immunity to fear.
The beast and the Lord of the Flies is essentially the same thing: an imaginary representation of the evil inside the boys. The boys belief in the beast becomes stronger as they become more uncivilized because their inner evil takes a stronger hold of them, clouding their perception of the truth.
There is no evil foe on the island, the lord of the flies dwells inside there hearts.
“Golding inveighs against those who think it is the political or other systems that create evil. Evil springs from the depth of man himself – it is the wickedness in human beings that creates evil systems or that changes what from the beginning is, or could be, good into something iniquitous and destructive.”