In his “Leviathan,” Hobbes argues that the chief end of man is self-preservation.
inherent desire for self-preservation in the original state of nature, leads to a state of war, which
then, reasonably leads to a system of government, that is, a social contract.
Golding, in his novel
“The Lord of the Flies,” reinforces Hobbes’ ideas of the state of nature, the state of war, and self-
preservation, and his book serves as a tangible manifestation and viable example of the ideas
Hobbes conveys in his “Leviathan.”
Hobbes argues that in the state of nature, that is, the human state without government or
institutionalized rule, every man’s goal is self preservation; this idea is evidenced by Golding in
his depiction of the state of nature as related to the lives of the boys stranded on the island in
“Lord of the Flies.”
In writing about the natural condition of mankind, Hobbes states “The right
of nature…is the liberty each man hath, to use his own power, as he will himself, for the
preservation of his own nature; that is to say, of his own life; and consequently, of doing any
thing, which in his own judgment, and reason, he shall conceive to be the aptest means
thereunto” (Hobbes, 56).
In this statement, Hobbes argues that in the state of nature, because
self-preservation is the chief goal of man, every man must selfishly take care of his own interest,
and there is no single power or institution to enforce rule.
In essence, Hobbes argues that life in
the state of nature is chaotic, anarchic, and primal, each man seeking only the good of himself,
regardless of the negative implications for other men.
This state of nature is evidenced by
Golding in “Lord of the Flies,” when the Lord of the Flies, a boar head on a spear, speaks to
The Lord of the Flies says “Fancy thinking the Beast was something you could hunt and
kill…You knew, didn’t you?
I’m part of you?
Close, close, close!
I’m the reason why it’s no
Why things are what they are?” (Golding, 143)
The words of the boar imply that Simon had
discovered the innate savagery in the boys on the island, and that Simon knew this lawlessness
was consuming the boys.
Throughout the book, Golding uses Simon’s character as a symbol of