"The Lord of the Flies" by William Golding

Essay by bmanlevacHigh School, 10th gradeA+, May 2006

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The famous quote by Lord Action, "Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely" is proven to be true by the actions of the character Jack, in the novel "Lord of the Flies" by William Golding. At the beginning of the novel Jack is an innocent, young boy who progressively becomes power dependant and thrives off of this power. By the end of the novel Jack has become absolutely corrupt with this power and commits terrible acts of violence such as killing pigs and ultimately other boys.

At the beginning of the novel, Jack's power was similar to that of the other boys since they were all new to the island and each other. The only dividing factor was that Jack had some additional power due to his position as leader of the choir boys.

Jack was a born leader and when he was not elected leader of the boys on the island he immediately sought ways to gain power.

Jack was elected leader of the hunters. This allowed him to make his first step, up the ladder of power on the island.

While exploring the island with Ralph and Simon, the boys encountered the first pig on the island. Jack, being the leader of the hunters, stepped in for his first kill but hesitated and couldn't bring himself to execute the trapped piglet. This showed that Jack was not corrupt at the beginning of the novel because he could not think of himself killing an animal.

On page 29 Ralph says, "Why didn't you-?" They knew very well why he hadn't: because of the enormity of the knife descending and cutting into living flesh; because of the unbearable blood. William Golding made it very clear that Jack still valued his morals and believed that killing was wrong.

As the novel progressed, power began to corrupt Jack and now that he was the leader of the hunters, he killed pigs without hesitation.

Jack had progressively gained power on the island and began to hunt more regularly with his hunters.

Jack had gained more power at this point in the novel because he took Sam'n'eric away from the fire to hunt, however the twins knew that they should have stayed to watch the fire as Ralph requested.

Jack rushed towards the twins,

" The rest are making a line. Come on!"

"But- "

"We-"

"Come on! I'll creep up and stab-" (p.67)

Jack was becoming more corrupt and violent and was so obsessed with the idea of killing pigs that he chanted about the killings. Jack's corruption became blatant as evidenced in this quote: "We hit the pig- I fell on top- I cut the pig's throat," said Jack, proudly. (p.73)

By the end of the novel Jack dominated the island with his absolute power, and killing pigs no longer satisfied his bloodlust. Jack had become absolutely corrupt with his complete power and wanted to kill Ralph as he saw him as the last threat to his tribe.

Jack had become a dictator because he controlled the island with absolute power and all the members of his tribe looked up to him and believed that he was the most knowledgeable and the strongest.

Jack is comparable to a world leader who is a dictator and the boys of his tribe are the people of the country. Jack being a dictator forced the boys in his tribe have the same views and beliefs as him ultimately resulting in the boys doing whatever Jack wished.

With all power in Jack's favour he had become totally corrupt and overcome with bloodlust, wanting Ralph dead.

"The Chief and Roger- yes, Roger- They hate you, Ralph. They're going to do you."(p.209)

This quote shows Jack's severe hatred towards Ralph to the point of wishing him to die.

Jack will take extreme measures to kill Ralph even if it means setting the jungle on the island on fire to smoke out Ralph. Setting the island on fire jeopardizes everyone's chance of survival and if they weren't rescued due to the smoke from the fire then they would have died anyways because of the destroyed resources.

-there is a direct relationship between power and corruption -as one is gained so is the other

-Jack arrived on the island with little power and as his control increased there was a definite increase in corruption

Power is directly proportionate to corruption