The beast, the Lord of the Flies, is seen as a real object on the island which frightens
the boys. Actually the beast is something internal; the Lord of the Flies is in soul and
mind of the boys, leading them to the natural chaos of a society with no reasoning adults.
Only Simon understands what the real beast is, but is killed when he tries to tell the
boys about the Lord of the Flies.
Conch: The conch
shell symbolizes the law and order of the old adult world which Piggy tries so desperately
to protect. The conch represents all the authority which the boys are so used to obeying.
When Roger destroys the conch, anarchy quickly ensues because any hope of strong, central
leadership has been abandoned. The island society collapses into chaos.
Facepaint: This is the excuse many of the boys use for living as hunting
savages, instead of civilized English citizens. The paint symbolizes the smoke-screen the
beast uses to infiltrate the boys souls.
Fire/Smoke: The smoke of the signal fire symbolizes the last best hope of
the boys being rescued. To Piggy and Ralph, the fire represents the moral influence of
their old life in England. When the fire goes out, Ralph loses his bearings, unsure of his
The fire is
diatonically opposed to hunting, the activity of anarchy on the island.
purposefully picked an island to be the landing place of the crashed plane because an
island is isolated from the rest of society. The boys have no contact with the outside
world and must look to themselves to solve the problems of their own micro-society. In
this way, the island, which symbolizes isolation, serves as a perfect backdrop for the
frailties of human nature which eventually surface.
Glasses: The glasses symbolize the voice of reason and logic among the
boys. Piggy defends his glasses even more than the conch. Piggy, who represents the
superego of the boys (and societys) collective personality, uses his glasses
to find solutions to the boys problems. The most important solution the glasses find
is the lighting of the fire, the boys best chance of being rescued.
The Parachute Man: The dead body flying in the parachute symbolizes the
end of adult supervision of the boys on the island. While the parachute man is flapping
back and forth on the island, conjuring up a powerful image of its prolonged death, the
Beast, or Lord of the Flies, is prospering under its new control over Jack and most of the
other boys on the island. So while the law and order of the adult world is waning,
childish chaos is growing exponentially. Simon has a special connection with the parachute
man. He climbs the mountain, subconsciously, to determine whether the parachute man is
still alive. When he finds out that the man is dead and that the Beast is alive, Simon has
a nervous breakdown. The moral confrontation which occurs when Simon has the interview
with the Lord of the Flies symbolizes mans inability to conquer the evil anarchy of
The association between the expression "Lord of the Files" and the devil can be traced back
to the Scriptures where the word Baal-zebub/Beelzebub appears. This word was first used in the
Old Testament and in Hebrew the literal meaning of Baal is lord and Zebub is a large destructive
fly. In the New Testament, which was originally written in Greek, Baal-zebub is Beelzebub, or
Beelzebul, a name used in reference to Satan.