He is the protagonist of Lord of the Flies and a natural leader.
Ralph is twelve years old, tall, blond, and attractive. After discovering
the conch shell, the boys elect him as their leader. Throughout
the novel Ralph tries to establish order and focus on rescue. He
decides that a boy can only speak at the meetings if he is holding
the conch shell. He wants to keep the fire on the mountain going
so that if a plane passes, the boys can be saved. He also encourages
the boys to build huts. He is very much a true human because although
he tries to maintain order, he is often tempted by the indulgences
of the other boys. He occasionally makes foolish mistakes, such
as joining in with the hysteria of the other boys and killing Simon.
When Jack forms a separate, rival group whose focus is on hunting
and savagery rather than rescue, Ralph fights against the superstition
and the terror of the other boys. When the numbers in his party
begin to diminish, Ralph is left to survive on his own in the forest
being chased by the transformed savage boys.
Piggy is a fat, asthmatic boy who wears glasses and is a typical
"sissy." He is scientific and an intellectual and is not accepted
by the other boys. He quickly befriends Ralph and recognizes that
he can express his views through Ralph. The taunting by the boys
escalates to beatings and having his glasses stolen. Eventually,
Piggy is killed.
Jack is the antagonist of Lord of the Flies. He is tall, redheaded,
and emerges as the leader of the choir- boys. When Ralph is elected
the initial leader, Jack becomes upset because he wanted that position.
Instead, he becomes the leader of the "hunters." He opposes Ralph
and leads the boys from being civilized young men into being savages.
He is malicious and animalistic. As structure breaks down, Jack
forms his own separate sect separating from Ralph and the rest of
the group. Jack is a cruel bully, who is constantly violent and
threatens those below him. Jack is always ready to fight and constantly
attempts to weaken others. He breaks Piggy's glasses and leads the
others towards Piggy's murder. He brings the boys into mass hysteria
and eventually hunts Ralph down like an animal.
Simon is the Christ like figure of the novel. He was skinny and
had black hair. Simon was a loner who often experienced fainting
spells. He would wander into the jungle to think by himself. Simon
sees beyond the surface of things. The other boys were indifferent
towards Simon for he was not extremely social. He helped others
with necessary chores, such as building the huts and taking care
of the littleuns. As the novel goes on Simon is gradually alienated.
Simon becomes brave in the face of danger, as he is the only character
to confront the beastie and find out the truth. After a traumatic
hallucinating experience with the Lord of the Flies, Simon discovers
the parachutist whom the rest of the boys had thought was a monster.
Before he can convey this information, he is brutally murdered being
ironically mistaken for the beast. It is Simon who truly understands
the nature of the beast that they all fear in that it is not a creature
hiding in the jungle, but one that is hiding in the subconscious
of us all.
Jack's second in command is a sadistic and cruel boy who bullies
the littluns and eventually murders Piggy by rolling a boulder onto
him. He is unique in that he was the only person to single-handedly
murder a fellow boy. He is perhaps the one character who undergoes
the greatest change throughout the boys' stay on the island. Being
somewhat subdued at the start of the story, limiting him to teasing
some of the littluns, Roger at the end of the tale relishes the
freedom he now has under Jack's rule to carry out his campaign of
sadism and terror.
These twins show great loyalty to Ralph right up until the end of
the novel and it is only through torture that they end up joining
Jack's tribe. They are called Samneric because they are always together
and have a tendency to finish off each other's sentences.
Perhaps the weakest boy on the island, being bullied by other littluns
as well as bigger boys, it is he who introduces the idea of a beast
lurking on the island, living in the sea during the day.
Lord of the Flies
The book derives its name from a sow's head thrust onto a stake
by Jack and his hunters as an offering to the beast. This gruesome
image is soon swarming with flies and it comes to represent the
primitive nature of Jack's tribe, which is full of cruelty and aggression.
When Simon is having his hallucinations, he thinks that the Lord
of the Flies comes to life and talks to him. It says 'We're going
to have fun on this island! So don't try it on ' or else.' Here
the Lord of the Flies is warning Simon not to try and oppose Jack's
new order, but to accept the savagery that will inevitably take
over the island. Towards the end of the novel, Ralph lashes out
against this idol, throwing aside the sow's head, which is now a
bare skull, and taking the stake as a weapon to use against Jack