The tension that causes evil outcomes : a study on the relationship between setting and the inherent evil of a character in William Golding’s lord of the flies
Erliana Binte Mohammed Zaid
Date of Issue2011
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
To propose the notion that evil lies solely within oneself is a simplistic one. There is no denying that human beings have the capabilities and the propensity towards evil, whether it is strong or otherwise. Yet, to fully insist that human beings are the sole cause of evil denies the possibility for other forms of evil that might evolve from other means. Instead, I would like to argue that there is another factor of evil, or that instigates evil, that the Lord of the Flies does explore. This other factor of evil is the extreme situation that is at once real (when one is within the situation) and seemingly unreal (when one reflects on the situation afterwards) to one caught in such a circumstance. This extreme situation is not a product of any form of society. Instead, it is a closed system that is separate from the person’s familiar society. Hence, my argument does not posit itself against the system or any form of civilised society, where the system refers to social conventions at large. Rather, it supports average societies, where the term ‘average’ is to be taken in the most general sense. It is in an extreme alien environment that I propose that the boys tend to be more predisposed to their instinctive violent tendencies that already exist within them. These instinctive violent tendencies are borderline evil, despite the attempt to maintain a certain form order based on societal conventions that the boys are familiar with. In other words, without some sort of catalyst outside of the human body, most human beings would not act on their inherent evil qualities.
Final Year Project (FYP)
Nanyang Technological University