Hobbs and Golding

Hobbs and Golding - In his"Leviathan Hobbes argues that the...

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In his “Leviathan,” Hobbes argues that the chief end of man is self-preservation. This 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 Simon. 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 go? 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
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goodness in order to emphasize the anarchy the boys create.
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This note was uploaded on 05/16/2008 for the course POLI SCI 13 taught by Professor Jewishguy during the Spring '04 term at UCSD.

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Hobbs and Golding - In his"Leviathan Hobbes argues that the...

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