Superego And Ego In William Golding's Lord Of The Flies

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What force truly controls humans? Is it a primal need to satisfy every whim, desperation to attain a moral high ground, or a logical combination of the two? In William Golding’s novel, Lord of the Flies, he answers this query with Sigmund Freud’s personality theory applied to characters in the book. Jack is the epitome of the id, an innate drive to fulfill one’s desires; Piggy represents the superego, a conscience indefinitely aware of the most ethical decision; and Ralph personifies the ego, the logical mediator between the id and superego. As a result of Golding’s fascination with the human psyche, his characters perfectly parallel Freud’s psychological theory of the id, superego, and ego.
Within the novel, Golding exemplifies Freud’s concept
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Generally speaking, the superego is the ethical component of Sigmund Freud’s personality theory: “[it] provides the moral standards by which [humans operate] . . . and absorbs the traditions of the family and the surrounding society and serves to control aggressive or other socially unacceptable impulses” (“Superego”). According to Ashby, Piggy portrays the superego; this impeccably suits him as he constantly urges the group to choose socially acceptable decisions over all else. For instance, Piggy demanded he be given a proper chance to speak when he held the conch because the boys previously decided that the person holding the conch was allowed to speak freely (44). In other words, Piggy is trying to abide by the moral standards of the boys’ understood law regarding the conch. Furthermore, Piggy felt great remorse after participating in Simon’s death and even claimed that it was merely an accident (148). This guilt, however, only further reinforces the notion that Piggy represents the superego. “Violation of the superego’s standards results in feelings of guilt or anxiety” (“Superego”). Thus, based on Piggy’s conform to the social norm and regret after partaking in the murder of another human, he irrevocably represents the …show more content…
Jack personifies the id through illogically chasing after his desires and his sheer aggression. Piggy epitomizes the superego by strictly following societal norms and expressly showing guilt for immoral actions. Ralph, lastly, embodies the ego simply by acting as the intermediary between the id and superego. In conclusion, these three characters flawlessly equate to Freud’s psychological theory of the id, superego, and ego. However, the question still stands—what force does control humans?
Works Cited
Asbhy, Brandi. “Lord of the Flies.” West Morgan English Department, 24 Oct. 2016. West Morgan High School, Trinity. Lecture.
Cherry, Kendra. “What Is the Pleasure Principle?” Verywell. About, Inc., 6 May 2016, verywell.com/what-is-the-pleasure-principle-2795472. Accessed 18 Nov. 2016.
"Ego." Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 2016, britannica.com/topic/ego-philosophy-and-psychology. Accessed 4 Nov. 2016.
Golding, William. Lord of the Flies. New York: The Penguin Group, 1954. Print. “Id.” Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 2016, britannica.com/topic/id-psychology. Accessed 4 Nov.

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