A Christ Figure: An In-Depth Analysis into Lord of the Flies
In modern art, literature, and pop culture, there are subtle yet suggestive clues that allude to a parallel between certain characters and Jesus Christ, the former classified as ‘Christ figures.’ The son of God, Christ is the divine embodiment within human flesh; he represents bliss and all that is innately good in the universe. Though Jesus’ teachings promoted good in man and society, they have been opposed by evil. The profound concept that man, defeated by his inherent evil nature, can be the most savage creature to walk the Earth has been the subject of much debate and controversy. On an isolated island, the cruelty of man becomes evident, but one boy in the group sticks out.
Arguably the most complex character in William Golding’s magnum opus, Lord of the Flies, Simon displays incontrovertible similarities in his qualities, actions, and death with Jesus Christ. Simon shares a plethora of qualities and attributes with Christ. For instance, Simon, like Jesus, is sensitive to the feelings and emotions of other people. Simon is compassionate towards Ralph when he felt uncertain about their return to civilization, “‘You’ll get back to where you came from…You’ll get back all right. I think so, anyway'” (Golding 111). Despite the vastness of the ocean that separated them from safety, Simon takes the time to understand how hopeless Ralph felt, and alleviates his pain.
Jesus and Simon were both able to understand truths. At first, when Simon postulates that the notorious ‘beastie’, which everyone feared, was actually the evil that resides in everyone, his idea is met with ridicule and skepticism. Simon feels obligated to get his idea across though he is incapable of expressing the key motif of the novel, “‘What I mean is…maybe [the beast’s] only us…we could be sort of…'” (Golding 89). Simon guesses the truth, but this revelation is far too mature for the boys to comprehend. Until his death, Simon is the only one who grasps the truth. Jesus was misunderstood by many, and thought to be an eccentric lunatic; like Simon was an object of mockery within the group of boys.
When Simon cannot effectively communicate his idea of the evil within each of them, everyone laughs, “The hunters were screaming with delight…the laughter beat [Simon] cruelly and he shrank away defenseless to his seat” (Golding 89). Thought to be strange and peculiar, his reputation on the island is slandered.
Humiliated and misunderstood to be an odd fellow, he resembles Jesus who was perceived by the Pharisees as well as his peers to be a fraud. Simon and Jesus also act analogously in their lives. Jesus was a common Jewish male as well as the son of God; in this manner, Jesus possessed a dual identity. Simon possesses the same trait, and acts with two very different purposes. Primarily, Simon dedicates himself to Ralph so that the group can return to civilization; he is the only boy who helps Ralph build the shelters, and besides Piggy, Ralph’s only consistent supporter.
Besides this identity, Simon has a sage-like alter ego which surfaces when he visits the forest glade that he found on the island, away from civilization: “Then he…walked into the forest with an air of purpose…he wormed his way into the center of the mat…holding his breath he cocked a critical ear at the sounds of the island” (Golding 55-57). Simon goes to a clearing in the forest where he can meditate upon the sights and sounds of nature. This mature and arcane side of Simon pursues a spiritual nirvana – thus completing his dual identity. In the Gospels, Christ is tempted by the evil Satan during his forty days and nights of fast. Simon too is taunted by the Lord of the Flies, which translates into Beezlebub in Hebrew – a demon of Hell.
The Lord of the Flies speaks to him in an apparition, “‘You are a silly little boy…there isn’t anyone to help you. Only me. And I’m the Beast…you knew, didn’t you? I’m part of you?…don’t try to escape…we are going to have fun…'” (Golding 143-144).
The apparition taunts him until he gives out, but Simon still confronts the evil Lastly, Christ and Simon are persecuted for their ideals: Jesus for spreading his faith that conflicted with Romans, and Simon for trying to spread the truth about the ‘beastie.’ Simon was humiliated for his guess that they were the beast, but when he returns with knowledge of the parachutist and the Lord of the Flies, he is brutally killed by the savagery that has taken over the boys. The deaths of Christ and Simon are peculiarly related. As Jesus is resurrected after his crucifixion, Simon too reawakens after a temporary ‘death’. Simon is swallowed whole by The Lord of the Flies – the symbol of man’s evil nature ‘consumes and claims’ his innocent life… When he is ‘resurrected,’ he has a new purpose, a new mission to carry out: to tell the others of the parachutist and that the ‘beastie’ resides within them.
Simon, like Jesus, dies in a manner associated with his ideals. After learning the truth about the false beastie and the dark con of man, he tries vainly to tell the other boys on the island, “A thing was crawling out of the forest…the beast stumbled into the horseshoe…Simon was crying out something about a dead man on a hill” (Golding 152). Jesus died because he believed in his identity as the son of God, and Simon died because he adhered to his idea that they were the ‘beastie.’ This was Simon’s ideal from the start until the end. Their deaths are unjust as well, as the societies that killed them have no legitimate rationale behind their actions.
Simon is killed out of fear and adrenaline, “The sticks fell and the mouth of the new circle crunched and screamed…there were no words, and no movements but the tearing of teeth and claws.” (Golding 152-153). Jesus was killed for heading a radical new belief, and Simon was killed simply because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. In both situations, the group which killed them acted unjustly. In William Golding’s masterpiece, Lord of the Flies, Simon’s resemblance to Jesus Christ is irrefutable in the aspects of his qualities, actions, and death. Like Christ, he was a misunderstood, sensitive, and a wise character.
Also, he acted with a dual identity, confronted the devil, and died for his idea of the beast. Lastly, he is reborn with new purpose, but murdered unjustly for his belief as Jesus was. Christ showed us to do good deeds, to be good people, but evil continues to dominate man’s life. So dark the con of man which relishes imposing its will upon other beings. Golding shows us that isolation can bring out the savage beast at bay that resides in the depths of man’s heart.
But amidst all the savagery on his island, one brilliant ray of innate goodness was found: Simon, a ‘Christ figure.’