Interpretation of Characters by Sigmund Freud in the Tovel Lord of the Flies

In the novel Lord of the Flies by William Golding, Sigmund Freud would interpret Jack as the Id, Ralph as the Ego, and Piggy as the Superego to represent different parts of human psychology and to show how self destruction can happen through their imbalanced relationship.

Sigmund Freud would interpret Jack as the Id because of his natural, primal instincts and his instinct to act on impulse. Before hunting the pig, Jack made his own mask from mud. “The mask was a thing on its own, behind which Jack hid, liberated from shame and self-consciousness” (Golding 64). Here, like the Id, Jack is making decisions on pure instinct. “Liberated from… self-consciousness” meaning he is unconscious and not thinking about his actions or thinking about hunting and killing the pig. His body is telling him he needs to do this in order to survive. After Jack and his group of hunters killed the pig, “[Jack’s] mind was crowded with memories; memories of the knowledge that had come to them when they closed in on the struggling pig, knowledge that they had outwitted a living thing, imposed their will upon it, taken away its life like a long satisfying drink” (Golding 70). Here, Jack’s “mind was crowded with memories” of the hunt. He was unable to think about anything else which shows how his excitement connects to a feeling of power and superiority. Since his body is telling him to survive, he becomes obsessed with hunting because of the pleasure it gives his instincts.

Sigmund Freud would interpret Ralph as the Ego because he uses facts and reality to make decisions and to keep the Id and Superego in check. As Ralph talks to the group of boys to plan what they are going to do on the island, he explains that “‘We’ve got to have special people for looking after the fire. Any day there may be a ship out there … and if we have a signal going they’ll come and take us off. And another thing. We ought to have more rules. Where the conch is, that’s a meeting. The same up here as down there” (Golding 42). Like the Ego, Ralph uses his conscious, smart decisions to keep everyone in check. He uses a set of rules for society and their safety, and comes up with a plan for the future to be rescued. He sets up his society and has a mission and meaning while living on the island. He is not thoughtlessly making barbaric, violent decisions like the rest of the boys will in their decline from civilization. Towards the end of the novel after the boys find the naval officer, “Ralph wept for the end of innocence, the darkness of man’s heart, and the fall through the air of a true, wise friend called Piggy” (Golding 202). Just like the Ego is supposed to do, according to Freud, Ralph took into consideration Piggy’s ideas and what he had to say. Here, Ralph also realizes how there is evil in all humans and how they all lost their innocence and will never be the same.

Sigmund Freud would interpret Piggy as the Superego because he uses his morals, and ideas that he was taught, to stay civilized. As Piggy talked to Ralph about Jack, he timidly said, “I’m scared of him, and that’s why I know him. If you’re scared of someone you hate him but you can’t stop thinking about him. You kid yourself he’s all right really, an’ then when you see him again; it’s like asthma an’ you can’t breathe” (Golding 93). According to Freud, the Superego makes the mind feel guilty if the Ego submits to the Id, but here the Superego, Piggy, succumbs to the Id, Jack. An example of this is when Jack and the others would strike down Piggy’s moral and thoughtful ideas. In the end, the Id ultimately prevails over the Superego when Piggy dies. This is an example of how Jack, Ralph, and Piggy’s (the three parts of human psychology) imbalanced relationship destroyed each other and the group. As Piggy talked to the group about the beast, he says, “Life … is scientific, that’s what it is. In a year or two when the war is over they’ll be traveling to Mars and back. I know there isn’t no beast – not with claws and all that I mean – but I know there isn’t no fear either … Unless we get frightened of people” (Golding ). Here, Piggy is using rational, smart thinking. While the rest of the boys are turning savage, he is conscious and civilized enough to know that the only thing that will destroy the group is themselves.

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Interpretation of Characters by Sigmund Freud in the Tovel Lord of the Flies. (2022, Nov 30). Retrieved December 10, 2023 , from

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