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Simon, the Christ Figure
References to various religions in novels are made to help the author illustrate to
the reader the situation in which he has placed his characters. In The Lord of the Flies,
William Golding uses biblical allusion to enhance the reader's perspective on the story. In
events and metaphors, the character Simon stands out as the Christ figure, and the Beast
plays the part of the Devil.
As Simon is out walking, he comes across a group of small children trying to reach
fruit hanging from the higher branches of the tree.
Here, the littluns who had run after him had caught up with him. They talked,
cried out unintelligibly, lugged him toward the trees. Then, amid the roar of the
bees in the afternoon sunlight, Simon found for them the fruit they could not reach,
pulled off the choicest from up in the foliage, passed them back to the endless
outstretched hands. When he had satisfied them he paused and looked round. The
littluns watched him inscrutably over double handfuls of ripe fruit. (56)
In giving them the fruit until they are satisfied, Simon recreates the event in which Christ
multiplied the loaves and fishes to feed the poor until they were contented. After this,
Simon disappears from the others to be alone and begins to have feelings that something is
wrong. He starts to have premonitions of the Beast: The Lord of the Flies.
When the boys set off in a party to find the Beast on the mountain, Simon starts to
see a vision of what they will find.
Simon . . . felt a flicker of incredulity -- a beast with claws that scratched, that sat
on a mountain-top, that left no tracks and yet was no fast enough to catch
Samneric. However Simon thought of the beast, there rose before his inward
sight the picture of a human at once heroic and sick. (103)
Simon has a direct premonition of one of the physical manifestations of the Beast. He
later finds that "the Beast" is a dead paratrooper. Christ was also known to be a profit and
to predict works of the Devil. Simon predicting the instances of the beast conjures
thoughtful feelings in him, and leads Simon to contemplate his situation through silent
thinking, or meditation.
Before he confronts the beast, Simon meditates as Christ often did: away from
civilization and in the silence of nature. During his meditation, he senses that something is
wrong. His premonitions are right again as the hunting party leaves a present for the
beast, as worshippers leave offerings to the devil.
As Simon investigates this offering of a mutilated pig, he studies carefully the flies
on the spilled entrails of the pig and on the decapitated head of the animal, which is now
stuck up on a pole. The pig's head, another physical manifestation of the beast, begins to
speak to Simon. The beast begins to tempt and threaten Simon, as the Devil had done to
Jesus in the desert.
"There isn't anyone to help you. Only me. And I'm the Beast." . . . "This has gone
quite far enough. My poor, misguided child, do you think you know better than I
There was a pause.
"I'm warning you. I'm going to get angry. D'you see? You're not wanted.
Understand? We are going to have fun on this island. Understand? We are going
to have fun on this island! So don't try it on, my poor misguided boy, or else--"
The temptation offered to Simon is to have fun on this island, to abandon his hopes of
going home, or else. He begins to feel weary and loses consciousness.
When he awakes, he looks around and can see something on the top of the
mountain. On the top, he finds the dead paratrooper. He quickly loses strength, falls
once. and begins to be sick at the sight of the decaying corpse: the truth of the Beast. He
then takes the tangled lines of the paratrooper and sets them free from the rock which
holds them. As he turns around, he sees the entire camp along the beach, with nearly all
of the children there. As he starts down the mountain, he staggers and falls a second time,
as did Christ when he bore his cross, his burden of truth, to the hill. He then begins his
When Simon comes from the forest to the beach, the hunters are engaged in
dancing worshipfully to the
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