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Irony in Lord of the Flies


In Golding’s novel Lord of the flies the use of irony portrays his satire view towards society. As Golding experienced the Second World War he realizes that our ‘civilisation’ is anything but civilised. His satire is based on the civilized world, which is having a war and killing people in a “civilized” manner. This as Golding believes is due to the fact that all humans have an inner evil, however this evil is only portrayed when it is allowed to do evil, as for example during War. This fictional evil within the novel is portrayed by the real society, as it shows that the human nature itself is evil and comes out without society. Therefore we should ask ourselves what society actually is. Society can be rules for example the law saying what is right and what is wrong, and we get punished if we do something, and we can also be punished if we do not do something. However society can also be in ourselves, in form of our morality, and the way we have been brought up. For example a child brought up in a family with a lot of aggression and were the father hits their children, than most likely the child will do the same to his children, as he will think that this is completely normal. This shows that society does play a major role in the way humans act and behave. Therefore without society people will act different to the way they act in their ‘normal’ lives within society. This could explain why people like Jack experience a change of personality without society looking after him. In the Novel Lord of the Flies the boys speak of ‘the grown ups’, which is portraying society as the boys need


One of the first instances of irony within the novel is Jacks hesitation to kill the pig. Jack becomes the chief of the ‘savages’ and in no way hesitates to even kill a boy. This as Golding explains is due to the fact that the evil in people comes out if there is nothing to stop it from coming out.


“because of the enormity of the knife descending and cutting into living flesh; because of the unbearable blood”


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It is clear that although Jack does not kill the pig the urge to do so is within him. Ironically society seems to stop Jack from killing the pig, but as soon as there is no more society and Jack is the chief the bloodlust inside him takes over and therefore Jack does not hesitate to even kill people. Jack turns into a killer, as there is nothing to stop him from doing so. This change in personality from Jack as he was when he arrived to Jack the chief is due to the fact that the society does not stop him from killing, which shows Goldings satire as society also allows people to kill during War.


We’ve got to have rules and obey them. After all, we’re not savages.


This second example of Irony again focuses on the fact that without society the characters and personalities of humans change. As Jack says this shortly after the crash he wants to keep society as it is, but later in the novel he does not have any morale left inside him that causes this whole evil inside all the savages.


In my opinion the best example of Irony is the fact that society allows countries to have wars, which cause the boys to be on that island.


grownups know things. They ain’t afraid of the dark. They’d meet and have tea and discuss. Then things ‘ud be all right.


This clearly shows that Golding is mocking society, in that Piggy believes that grown ups could solve the problems on the island but the grown ups are not able to solve their own problems.


The use of Irony in Lord of the Flies is a very important theme as it portrays real life and allows the reader to see this from a different perspective. Even the rescue of the boys from the Island is portrayed in a very ironic way, as the Officer fails to realise that these British school boys have completely changed and that they have not formed an orderly society but have turned into savages with no morale values. The failure to realise this shows the ignorance of the officer, which can be related to the ignorance of the people which in our own society which are also ignorant of evil within themselves and other people. Therefore we can ask ourselves whether everything that society tells us is right, as we are in actual fact ignorant of the actual truth as we wish to live in a well ordered society, and wish to be told what is right and what is wrong. In my opinion this is exactly why we have the evil inside us, as we do not actually wish to show it and therefore we expect society, which we have made by ourselves in the first place to cover up this fact. And because the human created society we believe that we can apply it to our own lives and change ‘the rules of the game’.


William Goldings Lord of the Flies


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