The Nature Of Man

698 Words3 Pages
Jd Ks Advanced Placement English Language and Composition 14 October 2011 The nature of man, primarily whether he is inherently good or evil, is a topic that is widely debated by philosophers. The Romantic view on the subject is that man is inherently good, but becomes corrupted by civilization. After reading William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, I disagree with this perspective. I believe that man is inherently evil and that society influences him in a positive manner. Man always has a choice in his actions, but being that the pressure of society forces man to account for how his peers view him before he takes action, we must look to examples of man in nature and unfettered by the chains of society to see man’s true character. Oscar Wilde recognized that to see man free from social conscientiousness, you must give him anonymity. In Wilde’s Intentions, he writes “Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.” Jack Merridew is a prime example of this because he is the first character to dawn a mask. When nature presents him with a helpless piglet to kill, he is unable to bring himself to do it, but once he dawns a mask, he has no qualms with killing and proceeds to lead the hunters in their first kill. This remorselessness is further shown in the murder of Piggy and the attempted murder of Ralph. After Roger kills Piggy, Jack redirects his tribe towards Ralph without pause telling him that he would meet the same fate, and the very next day he leads his tribe in a hunt for Ralph who is just trying to survive, even resorting to burning down the forest in his bloodlust. In Lord of the Flies, when the boys first arrive on the island, they are still under the effects of society and try to maintain law and order on the island. As time progresses, society starts to break down on the island, and as society’s
Open Document