In the novel “Lord of the Flies”, Golding uses Ralph to represent democracy and friendship. He also uses him, however, to represent how the innate goodness of someone can be overridden by their “essential illness” and vice versa. At the beginning of the novel, Ralph and Piggy find the conch. It is used to assemble all the boys on the island, forming a meeting. It is Ralph who realises that a leader is needed. They call a vote and Ralph is chosen, “Let him be chief with the trumpet thing”. Yet, in-spite of his power, Ralph chooses to delegate. He evidently realises how Jack needs to be kept occupied.
He also realises that Simon is vulnerable, so invites him along to explore the island. Ralph’s ability to judge characters, delegate power, and rule using democracy, represents how he was the perfect leader, and how without him, society would inevitably have collapsed immediately. Golding explores “man-kinds essential illness” and uses Ralph to express his ideas. Ralph’s appearance is described as proclaiming “no devil”, yet in-spite of this, Ralph still partakes in the murdering of Simon. Although he tries to convince himself that the affair was “an accident” he becomes aware of the boys true capacity for evil, “I’m frightened.
Of us”. Evidently, Ralph realised that without grown-ups, anarchy would (and did) strike, and if law-and-order weren’t resorted soon, then the island would become consumed in chaos and destruction. A further example of when Ralph is overwhelmed by the capacity to do nasty things is with Piggy. He spites Piggy, revealing to the others the information that was confided in him, “He’s not Fatty”, “his real name is Piggy”. Following this Ralph denies he disclosed any such information, “What on earth are you talking about”.
Clearly, Ralph wanted to deny all accusations made against him, and take advantage of Piggy’s vulnerability. Golding also expresses Ralph’s disability to ignore basic human instincts by describing the way he eats, Ralph “gnawed” his meat “like a wolf”. Yet again, Golding focuses on small, but vital characteristics of Ralph – one of the most moral characters – and shows that even the best of us give in to our animalistic characteristics. However, Golding essential use for Ralph is to express that the innate goodness of someone can fight the evil that surrounds them.
At the start of the novel, Ralph, like the other boys, seemed to have a baseless hatred for Piggy. He conceals private information about Piggy, and belittles him and his auntie, “Sucks to your auntie”. Yet, as the novel develops, Ralph realises Piggy’s worth and starts to value him more, “He sought for help and sympathy and chose Piggy”. It was only after Piggy’s death, that Ralph realises how reliant he was on him, “What was the sensible thing to do? There was no Piggy to talk sense”. In spite of the incipient evil on the island, Ralph, generally speaking, manages to ignore it.
He befriends the most hated character on the island, and as such, sacrifices his position as leader. Golding assigns Ralph with this characteristic to demonstrate that in-spite of the overpowering presence of evil, it can still be fought and beaten. Golding also uses Ralph to express the necessity of acceptance. Although Ralph was not directly responsible for Simon’s and Piggy’s deaths, he accepts, as elected leader, the onus for these atrocities and holds himself solely liable for the barbaric acts that took place on the island – “Who’s boss here” “I am”.
It is also Ralph who apprehended the true potential of the island. He realises how much the boys lost as a result of their experience, and therefore he cried – “Ralph wept for the end of innocence, the darkness of man’s heart”. Ralph plays a major role in the novel “Lord of the Flies. He is a responsible, democratic leader and a good friend. His acceptance for the boy’s moral corruptness further accentuates this idea. He shows that, if fought hard enough, good can still exist, despite the inherent evil.