The Quintessence of Evil: An Analysis of Jack in Lord of the Flies
Throughout history, good and evil have always clashed. In many civilizations, there were tyrants whom tried to destroy the positive progress that advanced civilization. In Lord of the Flies, by William Golding, the main antagonist, Jack Merridew serves as the evil tyrant who tries to dismantle the democratic ideals that Ralph tries to maintain. Jack is a malevolent, and villainous person who clearly disregards the rules, is obsessed with hunting, and leads the others into a state of savagery. First of all, Jack’s frequent disregard of the rules lead him into being the villainous person who destroys the morals on the island. He starts by ignoring simple rules like keeping the fire on top of the mountain. However, he soon starts challenging Ralph’s authority by breaking all of the rules and leading the group away from order and into savagery. By breaking the rules, he is abandoning the order that Ralph tries to establish. Without any order, it becomes easier for Jack to become a malevolent, and villainous person. Later, Jack’s instinct of breaking the rules leads to a sense of self-interest and selfishness. That sense of self-interest and selfishness makes Jack become an evil character. Because of his disregard for the rules, Ralph considers Jack a concrete manifestation of an abstract evil (Anjum et al.). Also, Jack’s simple disregard for the fire represents his desire to be savage.
Fire is generally “regarded as the elementary step to development and progress” (Anjum et al.), so when Jack breaks the rules and does not maintain the fire, he does not care about order and civilization anymore. Soon, disregarding other rules in place will lead to Jack being obsessed with hunting. In addition, by not doing his part, Jack takes up hunting and becomes obsessed with it, precluding his attention to more important events. Before, Jack became fully obsessed with hunting, the island was stable and had order. But once he disregarded the rules to go hunting, he let a ship come by and soon the island was in anarchy. According to Fatima Anjum, “Jack created problem to the stability of [the] system through his obsession of hunting.” He hunts because he is a violent, malevolent character who finds amusement in killing people and animals. When his sadistic trait is not fulfilled by the killing of animals, he feels the urge to kill other humans. What started as a means of getting food soon turns into a way to fulfill Jack’s sadistic trait which causes him to become a malevolent and villainous person. With his obsession with hunting, Jack not only does not care about getting rescued, but he also shuns the civilization of democracy and order that his peers created. Finally, Jack shows his full potential of evil by leading his peers into a state of savagery. By doing so, he destroys the order and democracy that Ralph and Piggy establishes and tried so hard to maintain.
Now that the island is in anarchy, there is no chance of being rescued and Jack can fully execute his evil plans. Jack tricks the survivors into joining his tribe with duplicity by falsely promising, “I gave you food. .. and my hunters will protect you from the beast. … Who’ll join my tribe and have fun?” (Golding 191). He tries to lure the littluns into his tribe to turn the boys against Ralph and Piggy, who are the only ones in his way from achieving his nefarious goals. The tribe becomes barbaric and uses uncivilized measures to try to take out Ralph and Piggy. The true hatred of Jack reveals itself when he leads the Ralph-hunt with the intent on putting his head on a stick. Soon, the conflict between Jack and Ralph clearly reflects the conflict between good and evil, with Jack representing the barbaric state of evil, and Ralph represents the order of civilization (Anjum et al.). When Jack leads the boys away from the civilization of order and democracy created by Ralph, he leads them into a state of savagery characterized by anarchy and barbarianism. All in all, Jack transforms into an evil character due to his thinking “that rules were meant to be broken” (Anjum et al.), his obsession with hunting, and leading the boys into a savage state. His malicious mindset causes him to commit acts meant to destroy the civilization that ralph created. He can be considered the quintessence of evil and is compared to evil dictators such as Hitler. In conclusion, Jack Merridew is concrete manifestation of an abstract evil (Anjum et al.) and would have destroyed the island with his nefarious plans if they did not get rescued.