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Уильям Голдинг. Повелитель мух (engl)



William Golding's


edited by

James R. Baker

Arthur P. Ziegler, Jr.


This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and

incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or

are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons,

living or dead, business establishments, events or locales

is entirely coincidental.

A Perigee Book

Published by The Berkley Publishing Group

A division of Penguin Putnam Inc.

375 Hudson Street

New York, New York 10014

Copyright (c) 1954 by William Golding

Purdue Interview copyright (c) 1964 by James Keating &

William Golding

All rights reserved. This book, or parts thereof,

may not be reproduced in any form without permission.

Published simultaneously in Canada by General Publishing Co.

Limited, Toronto.

ISBN 0-399-50643-8

First Perigee edition: September 1988

Fourteen previous printings by G. P. Putnam's Sons

The Penguin Putnam Inc. World Wide Web site address is

Printed in the United States of America

22 23 24 25 26 27 28


A casebook edition of any work of literature is necessarily the result

of work and good will by numerous people. We are deeply indebted to the

writers who contributed the original materials contained in this volume.

We also wish to thank the authors, editors, and publishers who so

kindly granted permissions for use of the previously published materials

collected in this volume. Full acknowledgment for their valuable aid is

printed in the headnote for each of the articles as well as original sources

of publication.

The editors gratefully acknowledge the special courtesies of William

Golding, J. T. C. Golding, Frank Kermode, Donald R. Spangler, Bruce P.

Woodford, A. C. Willers and James Keating. The Introduction to this book

originally appeared in the Arizona Quarterly. It is reprinted here (revised)

by permission of the editor, Albert F. Gegenheimer.

For her expert aid in preparing the manuscript, our thanks to Mrs. Paul

V. Anderson, and our special gratitude to Miss Helen Davidson, who not only

performed routine secretarial duties but offered advice and kept spirits

buoyant with her penetrating wit.


A.P.Z., Jr.


Arthur P. Ziegler, Jr.



James R. Baker



William Golding

Lord of the Flies


James Keating-William Golding

Purdue Interview


Frank Kermode-William Golding

The Meaning of It All


Frank Kermode

The Novels of William Golding


E. M. Forster

An Introduction to "Lord of the Flies"


Donald R. Spangler



Carl Niemeyer

The Coral Island Revisited


J. T. C. Golding

A World of Violence and Small Boys


John Peter

The Fables of William Golding


Ian Gregor & Mark Kinkead-Weekes

An Introduction to "Lord of the Flies"


William R. Mueller

An Old Story Well Told


Thomas M. Coskren

Is Golding Calvinistic?


Claire Rosenfield

Men of a Smaller Growth


E. L. Epstein

Notes on "Lord of the Flies"



Lord of the Campus


A Checklist of Publications

Relevant to "Lord of the Flies'




It is most astonishing and lamentable that a book as widely read and

frequently used in the classroom as William Gelding's Lord of the Flies has

received so little analytical attention from the critics. True, it has not

been neglected; this volume attests to that. But despite the profusion of

essays by a number of well-known and worthy critics, few close analyses of

Golding's technique can be found among them, few explications of the

workings of the novel will be discovered.

Indeed, despite a running controversy over the meaning of the novel,

critical articles fall largely into a pattern of plot summary and applause

for the arrangement of the novel's materials followed by observations on

Golding's view of human nature, often embellished with the critic's response

to that view.

There are exceptions - they will be found among the essays in this book

- like Claire Rosenfield's psychological study of meaning, Carl Niemeyer's

comparative study of the novel and its antipathetic predecessor The Coral

Island, Donald R. Spangler's penetrating study of the function of Simon, and

William Mueller's discussion of the use of the various hunts.

Further explorations are needed in many areas, however, among them a

careful scrutiny of the opening descriptions of Ralph and Jack in Chapter

One. It is useful, but perhaps not very subtle, to point out that the former

is immediately declared the "fair boy," that he, like the angel Gabriel,

sounds a horn that announces good news - that of survival - that Jack with

his angular frame, black cloak and cap, and red hair is Lucifer-like.

More Biblical parallels must be developed - the paradisiacal setting,

the symbolic nakedness or near nakedness of all the boys except Jack and his

followers - but most especially needed is a study that explains items that

do not comply with the original Biblical pattern but that perhaps serve as

tip-offs to the theme and the ironies that Golding employs without fully

delineating until the last page, for instance the "response" of the paradise

to the boys- first from the heat, then a bird with an echoed "witch-like

cry," then the entangling creepers (more like the Eden of Milton than

Genesis)-together with the important information that Ralph, not Jack, has a

snake-clasp belt, that Jack wears a golden badge. We have implications very

early that Golding's view is not simple, traditionally Christian, or

predictable in spite of the title, that it is a complex rebuttal to the

ever-present faith in man's potential for regeneration and redemption. Here

is a fruitful area of research: do all these elements of the novel, some

seemingly inconsistent, even extraneous, operate in unified support of


Symbolism is one of the most puzzling aspects of this book. The names

of the four major characters are a perplexing illustration. Simon, the

mystic of the group, has a name clearly linked with an Apostle of Christ,

the one, strange to say, who denied Him three times. (Simon does deny the

objective existence of the beast, but is this a parallel?) Jack also has

such a name, since his first name is a nickname for John, the announcer of

Christ, also a follower of Christ, arid his last name is Merridew, an echo

at least of Mary. Ralph's name, oddly enough, is unrelated to the New

Testament and in fact is said to be akin to the Anglo-Saxon Raedwulf,

"wolf-council." Piggy's nickname appears even more incongruous because it is

Simon rather than Piggy who is slain as a substitute pig. The only instance

in which a name seems incontestably appropriate is that of Roger, where

etymology directs us to the Anglo-Saxon Hrothgar, "spear-fame." 1

In The Coral Island the three protagonists are named Jack, Ralph, and

Peterkin Gay. Golding claims that he changed the latter name to Simon to

emphasize his priestly qualities2-implying some intention on his

part to make at least one name symbolic-while another critic insists that

Peterkin is altered not to Simon but to Piggy.3 But that is

beside the point. The central question is, "To what extent do the names

function symbolically?" Do we just select Simon and Roger and, because

inconvenient, forget the others? Or is there another more subtle solution?

1.Golding's recorded interest in Anglo-Saxon makes it unlikely that he

should be unaware of this etymology. See E. L. Epstein, "Notes on Lord of

the Flies" below, p. 277.

We are also mystified by the relationship between Lord of the Flies and

The Coral Island. Before undertaking a study of Golding's book, must one

study Ballantyne's? To what degree do details in the former depend upon the

latter, and, more confusing, to what degree do both books contain the same

details because of similarity of setting?

No one has produced a full-scale synthesis of the symbols of the novel

either, nor has anyone prepared a fully adequate study of characterization.

Ralph himself is an enigma. Does he represent the idealist and Piggy the

pragmatist? Or the reverse? Why are Piggy and Jack foes from the start, but

Ralph and Jack friends for a considerable length of time? Is it important

that Ralph disdains Piggy for so long? Why does Ralph the leader have such

difficulties controlling the littluns even though they instantly recognize

him as chief rather than Jack? Why doesn't Ralph establish a closer bond

with Simon? Why does Golding-have Ralph enjoy drawing blood? As one examines

the novel closely, he may find himself confronted with a highly ambiguous

protagonist, and for what purpose? Do these complications help or hinder the

operation of the novel? These are vital matters in evaluating it.

One could add to this list of needed studies indefinitely: a detailed

look at the use of war and fighting (they are important from the first page

to the last), a discussion of the relationship of nature descriptions and

events, a look at the historical predecessors of the mountain, and how they

bear on the novel (Calvary, Sinai, Ararat, Olympus, to name a few

possibilities), the cause of the evil (Is it really "original sin"?), and so


2.Frank Kermode and William Golding, "The Meaning of It All," Books and

Bookmen, 5 (October 1959) p. 10. See below in this volume p. 199. Note

Golding's statement that the novel was worked out "very carefully in every

possible way."

3.Carl Niemeyer, "The Coral Island Revisited," College English, 22

(January 1961), p. 242. See below in this volume, p. 219.

Yet in spite of the gaps in the criticism, some commendable studies

have been undertaken, and we have tried to assemble the most useful of them

in this book. Supplementing them are two interviews with Golding in which he

discusses both his own conception of the novel and related


Through our arrangement of and notes to the articles, we have tried to

reflect the intricate texture of the novel as illustrated by the critics and

to point up areas of perplexity and disagreement. The bibliography at the

close of the volume indicates possibilities for further reading and study.

4. The reader, of course, will wish to weigh any artist's view in the

light of the continuing critical dialogue surrounding the "intentional

fallacy." Frank Kermode calls Golding's views in question in "The Novels of

William Golding," International Literary Annual, p. 19. See p. 206 below.



Lord of the Flies offers a variation upon the ever-popular tale of

island adventure, and it holds all of the excitements common to that long

tradition. Golding's castaways are faced with the usual struggle for

survival, the terrors of isolation, and a desperate out finally successful

effort to signal a passing ship which will return them to the world they

have lost. This time, however, the story is told against the background of

an atomic war. A plane carrying some English boys, aged six to twelve, from

the center of conflict is shot down by the enemy and the youths are left

without adult company on an unpopulated Pacific island. The environment in

which they find themselves actually presents no serious challenge: the

island is a paradise of flowers and fruit, fresh water flows from the

mountain, and the climate is gentle. In spite of these unusual natural

advantages, the children fail miserably and the adventure ends in a reversal

of their (and the reader's) expectations. Within a short time the rule of

reason is overthrown and the survivors regress to savagery.

During the first days on the island there is little forewarning of this

eventual collapse of order. The boys are delighted with the prospect of some

real fun before the adults come to fetch them. With innocent enthusiasm they

recall the storybook romances they have read and now expect to enjoy in

reality. Among these is The Coral Island, Robert Michael Ballantyne's

heavily moralistic idyll of castaway boys, written in 1858 yet still, in our

atomic age, a popular adolescent classic in England. In Ballantyne's tale

everything comes off in exemplary style. For Ralph, Jack, and Peterkin (his

charming young imperialists), mastery of the natural environment is an

elementary exercise in Anglo-Saxon ingenuity. The fierce pirates who invade

the island are defeated by sheer moral force, and the tribe of cannibalistic

savages is easily converted and reformed by the example of Christian conduct

afforded them. The Cord Island is again mentioned by the naval officer who

comes to rescue Golding's boys from the nightmare they have created, and so

the adventure of these enfants terribles is ironically juxtaposed with the

spectacular success of the Victorian darlings.2 The effect is to

hold before us two radically different pictures of human nature and society.

Ballantyne, no less than Golding, is a fabulist 3 who asks us to

believe that the evolution of affairs on his coral island models or reflects

the adult world, a world in which men are unfailingly reasonable,

cooperative, loving and lovable. We are hardly prepared to accept these

optimistic exaggerations, though Ballantyne's story suggests essentially the

same flattering image of civilized man found in so many familiar island

fables. In choosing to parody and invert this image Golding posits a reality

the tradition has generally denied.

1. Copyright 1964 by James R. Baker.

The character of this reality is to be seen in the final episode of

Lord of the Flies. When the cruiser appears offshore, the boy Ralph is the

one remaining advocate of reason, but he has no more status than the wild

pigs of the forest and is being hunted down for the kill. Shocked by their

filth, their disorder, and the revelation that there have been real

casualties, the officer (with appropriate fatherly indignation) expresses

his disappointment in this "pack of British boys." There is no basis for his

surprise, for life on the island has only imitated the larger tragedy in

which the adults of the outside world attempted to govern themselves

reasonably but ended in the same game of hunt and kill. Thus, according to

Golding, the aim of the narrative is "to trace the defects of society back

to the defects of human nature"; the moral illustrated is that "the shape of

society must depend on the ethical nature of the individual and not on any

political system however apparently logical or respectable."4 And

since the lost children are the inheritors of the same defects of nature

which doomed their fathers, the tragedy on the island is bound to repeat the

actual pattern of human history.

2.A longer discussion of Golding's use of Ballantyne appears in Carl

Niemeyer's "The Coral Island Revisited." See pp. 217-223 in this volume.

3.See John Peter's "The Fables of William Golding" on pp. 229-234 of

this volume. A less simplistic view is offered by Ian Gregor and Mark

Kinkead-Weekes in their Introduction to Faber's School Edition of Lord of

the Flies reprinted on pp. 235-243 in this volume.

The central fact in that pattern is one which we, like the fatuous

naval officer, are virtually incapable of perceiving: first, because it is

one that constitutes an affront to our ego; second, because it controverts

the carefully and elaborately rationalized record of history which sustains

the ego of "rational" man. The fact is that regardless of the intelligence

we possess-an intelligence which drives us in a tireless effort to impose an

order upon our affairs-we are defeated with monotonous regularity by our own

irrationality. "History," said Joyce's Dedalus, is a nightmare from which I

am trying to awake." 5 But we do not awake. Though we constantly

make a heroic attempt to rise to a level ethically superior to nature, our

own nature, again and again we suffer a fall-brought low by some outburst of

madness because of the limiting defects inherent in our species.

If there is any literary precedent for the image of man contained in

Gelding's fable, it is obviously not to be found within the framework of a

tradition that embraces Robinson Crusoe and Swiss Family

Robinson6 and includes also those island episodes in Conrad's

novels in which the self-defeating skepticism of a Heyst or a Decoud serves

only to illustrate the value of illusions.7 All of these offer

some version of the rationalist orthodoxy we so readily accept, even though

the text may not be so boldly simple as Ballantyne's sermon for innocent

Victorians. Quite removed from this tradition, which Golding invariably

satirizes, is the directly acknowledged influence of classical Creek

literature. Within this designation, though Golding's critics have ignored

it, is an obvious admiration for Euripides.8 Among the plays of

Euripides it is, The Bacchae that Golding, like Mamillius of The Brass

Butterfly, knows by heart The tragedy is a bitter allegory on the

degeneration of society, and it contains the basic parable which informs so

much of Golding's work. Most of all, Lord of the Flies, for here the point

of view is similar to that of the aging Euripides after he was driven into

exile from Athens. Before his departure the tragedian brought down upon

himself the mockery and disfavor of a mediocre regime like the one which

later condemned Socrates. The Bacchae, however, is more than an expression

of disillusionment with the failing democracy. Its aim is precisely what

Golding has declared to be his own: "to trace the defects of society back to

the defects of human nature," and so account for the failure of reason and

the inevitable, blind ritual-hunt in which we seek to kill the "beast"

within our own being.

4. Quoted by E. L. Epstein in his "Notes on Lord of the Flies." See

below, p. 277.

5. Ulysses (New York: The Modem Library, 1961), p.34.

6.See Golding's remarks on these novels and Treasure Island in his

review called "Islands," Spectator, 204 (June 10, 1960), 844-46.

7.Thus far, attempts to compare Golding and Conrad have been

unsuccessful. See Golding's remarks on Conrad (and Richard Hughes's High

Wind in Jamaica) in the interview by James Keating on p. 194 in this volume.

See also William R. Mueller's essay, p. 251.

The Bacchae is based on a legend of Dionysus wherein the god (a son of

Zeus and the mortal Semele, daughter of Cadmus) descends upon Thebes in

great wrath, determined to take revenge upon the young king, Pentheus, who

has denied him recognition and prohibited his worship. Dionysus wins as

devotees the daughters of Cadmus and through his power of enchantment

decrees that Agave, mother of Pentheus, shall lead the band in frenzied

celebrations. Pentheus bluntly opposes the god and tries by every means to

preserve order against the rising tide of madness in his kingdom. The folly

of his proud resistance' is shown in the defeat of all that Pentheus

represents: the bacchantes trample on his edicts and in wild marches through

the land wreck everything in their path. Thus prepared for his vengeance,

Dionysus casts a spell over Pentheus. With his judgment weakened and his

identity obscured in the dress of a woman, the defeated prince sets out to

spy upon the orgies. In the excitement of their rituals the bacchantes live

in illusion, and all that falls in their way undergoes a metamorphosis which

brings it into accord with the natural images of their worship. When

Pentheus is seen he is taken for a lion9 and, led by Agave, the

blind victims of the god tear him limb from limb. The final humiliation of

those who deny the godhead is to render them conscious of their crimes and

to cast them out from their homeland as guilt-stricken exiles and wanderers

upon the earth.

8.On several occasions Golding has stated that he has read deeply in

Greek literature and history during the past twenty years.

For most modern readers the chief obstacle in the way of proper

understanding of The Bacchae, and therefore Golding's use of it, is the

popular notion that Dionysus is nothing more than a charming god of wine.

This image descends from "the Alexandrines, and above all the Romans- with

their tidy functionalism and their cheerful obtuseness in all matters of the

spirit-who departmentalized Dionysus as 'jolly Bacchus' . . . with his

riotous crew of nymphs and satyrs. As such he was taken over from the Romans

by Renaissance painters and poets; and it was they in turn who shaped the

image in which the modern world pictures him." In reality the god was more

important and "much more dangerous": he was "the principle of animal life .

. . the hunted and the hunter-the unrestrained potency which man envies in

the beasts and seeks to assimilate." Thus the intention and chief effect of

the bacchanal was "to liberate the instinctive life in man from the bondage

imposed upon it by reason and social custom. ..." In his play Euripides also

suggests "a further effect, a merging of the individual consciousness in a

group consciousness' so that the participant is "at one not only with the

Master of Life but his fellow-worshipers . . . and with the life of the

earth."10 Dionysus was worshiped in various animal incarnations

(snake, bull, lion, boar), whatever form was appropriate to place; and all

of these were incarnations of the impulses he evoked in his worshipers. In

The Bacchae a leader of the bacchanal summons him with the incantation, "O

God, Beast, Mystery, come!" 11 Agave's attack upon the lion" (her

own son) conforms to the codes of Dionysic ritual: like other gods, this one

is slain and devoured, his devotees sustained by his flesh and blood. The

terrible error of the bacchantes is a punishment brought upon the land by

the lord of beasts: "To resist Dionysus is to repress the elemental in one's

own nature; the punishment is the sudden collapse of the inward dykes when

the elemental breaks through perforce and civilization


9. In Ovid's Metamorphoses the bacchantes see Pentheus in the form of a


10. E. R. Dodds, Euripides Bacchae, Second Edition (Oxford: The

Clarendon Press, 1960), p. xii and p. xx. Dodds also finds evidence that

some Dionysian rites called for human sacrifice.

11. From the verse translation by Gilbert Murray.

This same humiliation falls upon the innocents of Lord of the Flies. In

their childish pride they attempt to impose an order or pattern upon the

vital chaos of their own nature, and so they commit the error and "sin" of

Pentheus, the "man of many sorrows." The penalties, as in the play, are

bloodshed, guilt, utter defeat of reason. Finally, they stand before the

officer, "a semicircle of little boys, their bodies streaked with colored

clay, sharp sticks in their hands."13 Facing that purblind

commander (with his revolver and peaked cap), Ralph cries "for the end of

innocence, the darkness of man's heart" (186-87); and the tribe of vicious

hunters joins him in spontaneous choral lament But even Ralph could not

trace the arc of their descent, could not explain why it's no go, why things

are as they are; for in the course of events he was at times among the

hunters, one of them, and he grieves in part for the appalling ambiguities

he has discovered in his own nature. He remembers those strange, interims of

blindness and despair when a "shutter" clicked down over his mind and left

him at the mercy of his own dark heart. In Ralph's experience, then, the

essence of the fable is spelled out: he suffers the dialectic we must all

endure, and his failure to resolve it as we would wish demonstrates the

limitations which have always plagued the species.

In the first hours on the island Ralph sports untroubled in the

twilight of childhood and innocence, but after he sounds the conch he must

confront the forces he has summoned to the granite platform beside the sunny

lagoon. During that first assembly he seems to arbitrate with the grace of a

young god (his natural bearing is dignified, princely) and, for the time

being, a balance is maintained. The difficulties begin with the

dream-revelation of the child distinguished by the birthmark. The boy tells

of a snakelike monster prowling the woods by night, and at this moment the

seed of fear is planted. Out of it will grow the mythic beast destined to

become lord of the island. Rumors of his presence grow. There is a plague of

haunting dreams-the first symptom of the irrational fear which is "mankind's

essential illness."

12.Dodds, p.xvi

13. Lord of the Flies, p. 185. All quotations are taken from the

edition contained in this volume. Subsequent page references will appear in


In the chapter called "Beast from Water" the parliamentary debate

becomes a blatant allegory in which each spokesman caricatures the position

he defends. Piggy (the voice of reason) leads with the statement that life

is scientific," adds the usual Utopian promises ("when the war's over

they'll be traveling to Mars and back"), and his assurance that such things

will come to pass if only we control the senseless conflicts that impede

progress. He is met with laughter and jeers (the crude multitude), and at

this juncture a littlun interrupts to declare that the beast (ubiquitous

evil) comes out of the sea. Maurice interjects to voice the doubt which

curses them all: "I don't believe in the beast of course. As Piggy says,

life's scientific, but we don't know, do we? Not certainly . . ." (81). Then

Simon (the inarticulate seer) rises to utter the truth in garbled,

ineffective phrases: there is a beast, but "it's only us." As always, his

saving words are misunderstood, and the prophet shrinks away in confusion.

Amid speculation that he means some kind of ghost, there is a silent show of

hands for ghosts as Piggy breaks in with angry rhetorical questions: "What

are we? Humans? Or animals? Or savages?" (84). Taking his cue, Jack

(savagery in excelsis) leaps to his feet and leads all but the "three blind

mice" (Ralph, Piggy, Simon) into a mad jig of release down the darkening

beach. The parliamentarians naively contrast their failure with the supposed

efficiency of adults, and Ralph, in despair, asks for a sign from that

ruined world.

In "Beast from Air" the sign, a dead man in a parachute, is sent down

from the grownups, and the collapse foreshadowed in the allegorical

parliament comes on with surprising speed. Ralph himself looks into the face

of the enthroned tyrant on the mountain, and from that moment his young

intelligence is crippled by fear. He confirms the reality of the beast and

his confession of weakness insures Jack's spectacular rise to power. Yet the

ease with which Jack establishes his Dionysian order is hardly

unaccountable. In its very first appearance the black-caped choir, vaguely

evil in its military esprit, emerged ominously from a mirage and marched

down upon the minority forces assembled on the platform. Except for Simon,

pressed into service and out of step with the common rhythm, the choir is

composed of servitors bound by the ritual and mystery of group

consciousness. They share in that communion, and there is no real

"conversion" or transfer of allegiance from good to evil when the chorus,

ostensibly Christian, becomes the tribe of hunters. The lord they serve

inhabits their own being. If they turn with relief from the burdens of the

platform, it is because they cannot transcend the limitations of their own

nature. Even the parliamentary pool of intelligence must fail in the attempt

to explain all that manifests itself in our turbulent hearts, and the

assertion that life is ordered, "scientific," often appears mere bravado. It

embodies tile sin of pride and, inevitably, evokes in some form the great

god it has denied.

It is Simon who witnesses his coming and hears his words of wrath. In

the thick undergrowth of the forest the boy discovers a refuge from the war

of words. His shelter of leaves is a place of contemplation, a sequestered

temple, scented and lighted by the white flowers of the night-blooming

candlenut tree, where, in secret, he meditates on the lucid but somehow

over-simple logic of Piggy and Ralph and the venal emotion of Jack's

challenges: There, in the infernal glare of the afternoon sun, he sees the

killing of the sow by the hunters and the erection of the pig's head on the

sharpened stick. These acts signify not only the release from the blood

taboo but also obeisance to the mystery and god who has come to be lord of

the island-world. In the hours of one powerfully symbolic afternoon Simon

sees the perennial fall which is the central reality of our history: me

defeat of reason and the release of Dionysian madness in souls wounded by


Awed by the hideousness of the dripping head (an image of the hunter's

own nature) the apprentice bacchantes suddenly run away, but Simon's gaze is

"held by that ancient, inescapable recognition" (128)-an incarnation of the

beast or devil bom again and again out of the human heart. Before he loses

consciousness the epileptic visionary "hears" the truth which is

inaccessible to the illusion-bound rationalist and the unconscious or

irrational man alike: " 'Fancy thinking the Beast was something you could

hunt and kill!' said the head. For a moment or two the forest and all the

other dimly appreciated places echoed with the parody of laughter. 'You

knew, didn't you? I'm part of you? Close, close, close! I'm the reason why

it's no go? Why things are as they are?' " (133). When Simon recovers from

this trauma of revelation he finds on the mountain top that the "beast" is

only a man. Like the pig itself, the dead man in the chute is fly-blown,

corrupt, an obscene image of the evil that has triumphed in the adult world

as well. Tenderly, the boy releases the lines so that the body can descend

to earth, but the fallen man does not die. After Simon's death, when the

truth is once more lost, the figure rises, moves over the terrified tribe on

the beach, and finally out to sea -a tyrannous ghost (history itself) which

haunts and curses every social order.

In his martyrdom Simon meets the fate of all saints. The truth he

brings would set us free from the repetitious nightmare of history, but we

are, by nature, incapable of receiving that truth. Demented by fears our

intelligence cannot control, we are at once "heroic and sick" (96),

ingenious and ingenuous at the same time. Inevitably we gather in tribal

union to hunt the molesting "beast," and always the intolerable frustration

of the hunt ends as it must: within the enchanted circle formed by the

searchers, the beast materializes in the only form he can possibly assume,

the very image of his creator; and once he is visible, projected (once the

hunted has become the hunter), the circle closes in an agony of relief.

Simon, call him prophet, seer or saint, is blessed and cursed by those

intuitions which threaten the ritual of the tribe. In whatever culture the

saint appears, he is doomed by his unique insights. There is a vital, if

obvious, irony to be observed in the fact that the lost children of

Golding's fable are of Christian heritage, but when they blindly kill their

savior they re-enact an ancient tragedy, universal because it has its true

source in the defects of the species.

The beast, too, is as old as his maker and has assumed many names,

though of course his character must remain quite consistent The particular

beast who speaks to Simon is much like his namesake, Beelzebub. A prince of

demons of Assyrian or Hebrew descent, but later appropriated by Christians,

he is a lord of the flies, an idol for unclean beings. He is what all devils

are: an embodiment of the lusts and cruelties which possess his worshipers

and of peculiar power among the Philistines, the unenlightened, fearful

herd. He shares some kinship with Dionysus, for his powers and effects are

much the same. In The Bacchae Dionysus is shown "as the source of ecstasies

and disasters, as the enemy of intellect and the defense of man against his

isolation, as a power that can make him feel like a god while acting like a

beast. ..." As such, he is "a god whom all can recognize." 14

Nor is it difficult to recognize the island on which Golding's

innocents are set down as a natural paradise, an un-corrupted Eden offering

all the lush abundance of the primal earth. But it is lost with the first

rumors of the "snake-thing," because he is the ancient, inescapable presence

who insures a repetition of the fall. If this fall from grace is indeed the

"perennial myth" that Golding explores in all his work,15 it does

not seem that he has found in Genesis a metaphor capable of illuminating the

full range of his theme. In The Bacchae Golding the classicist found another

version of the fall of man, and it is clearly more useful to him than its

Biblical counterpart. For one thing, it makes it possible to avoid the

comparatively narrow moral connotations most of us are inclined to read into

the warfare between Satan (unqualifiedly evil) and God (unqualifiedly good).

Satan is a fallen angel seeking vengeance on the godhead, and we therefore

think of him as an autonomous entity, a being in his own right and prince of

his own domain. Dionysus, on the other hand, is a son of God (Zeus) and thus

a manifestation or agent of the godhead or mystery with whom man seeks

communion, or, perverse in his pride, denies at his own peril. To resist

Dionysus is to resist nature itself, and this attempt to transcend the laws

of creation brings down upon us the punishment of the god. Further, the

ritual-hunt of The Bacchae provides something else not found in the Biblical

account. The hunt on Golding's island emerges spontaneously out of childish

play, but it comes to serve as a key to psychology underlying human conflict

and, of course, an effective symbol for the bloody game we have played

throughout our history. This is not to say that Biblical metaphor is

unimportant in Lord of the Flies, or in the later works, but it forms only a

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