Lord of the flies an allegory of natural condition of mankind imagined by Hobbes?




   Thomas Hobbes was an English philosopher of the 17th century. Nowadays, he is especially known for his works on political philosophy. Indeed, he thought about a state of nature which shows the natural condition of mankind to understand human nature. I don’t know if it’s also your case, but, when I read Lord of the flies, written by Golding, I thought that it is a great illustration of the Hobbes’s idea, developed in the Leviathan, published in 1651. In this work, Hobbes asserts that humans are naturally equal but they wants to assert their power on the other humans. Thus, in this state, there is “a war of all against all.” For Hobbes, this state is unlivable: there is an permanent insecurity.  Well, when it became too much to bear, humans accede to a social contract. They give their powers to one person in exchange for their security. For Hobbes, it’s the way chose civil society was established.


   In Lord of the flies, written by Golding and published in 1954, some children were obliged to live in a deserted island where they must pull through by themselves and return to the “natural condition of mankind”.  At the beginning, they managed to stay civilized. Then, the things go wrong and they have a war, which result in two deaths. In this story, the author wanted to show the true face of human and the primitive signs that can come back at any time. Even they had enough education to know how they must have acted, they didn’t act as civilized children. As we have seen in the extract we have studied, they are rescued by the arrival of the officer which symbolizes authority and civilized world. I think, but it’s my personal interpretation, that William Golding should have read the Leviathan by Hobbes and wanted to show that the dreadful human nature must be avoided only by the presence of authority. However, it can come back at any time, above all when there are not political authorities or a civilized structure. Well, I think that Lord of the flies is a good illustration of the Hobbes’s idea concerning human nature. However, the existence of a state of nature has interested a lot of philosophers of the 17th century such as Rousseau or Locke who had not the same idea of human nature and were not really agree with Hobbes. Aristotle said that “man is a political animal.” Well, are men obliged to live in society? If they are left alone in a deserted island, are they capable of pulling through?

Laisser un commentaire