Why is evil attractive?
Lord of the Flies by William Golding dramatized the primordial evil that is in man’s subconscious. Although normally, civilized human beings consider evil undesirable and therefore to be avoided, the fact is, many are drawn into it. Evil holds some kind of a seductive quality that less morally discerning people find hard to resist.
Setting evil intentions in context
In this novel, Golding gave life to various characters that represent the two basic types of people in this world, the good and the bad. Ralph, Piggy, and Simon were the good ones, while Jack and Roger were the evil ones. Stranded in a deserted tropical island, Ralph and Piggy wanted to establish rules, build shelters, secure clean water and food. But the tasks to achieve these were boring and most of the boys wanted just to play and hunt. Jack who was the leader of the hunting party, would soon emerge as the more attractive and powerful leader.
Playing and hunting are not evil in themselves but in the novel, these were seeds of evil that would soon grow into disturbing magnitude. The boys in Jack’s group enjoyed hunting and killing the animals and eventually became obsessed with hunting and killing Ralph.
This paper analyzes how evil holds some kind of attraction and why people are drawn into it. There are at least three hypotheses– (1) Evil is attractive because it gives a pleasurable experience; (2) Evil is attractive because it satisfies bloodlust, considering the belief that there is a murderous inclination in every man; and (3) Evil is attractive because of the opportunity it provides to play God, to be in control, to be powerful.
With Golding’s work as point of reference, this paper illustrates how the conflict between good and evil continues to occur in various ways, in different people. The film by Adrian Lyne, Unfaithful that starred Diane Lane and Richard Gere is used here as one example. In this film, all the mentioned premises above were portrayed. Like the English boys in the novel, Connie and Edward, the couple in the said film were decent, intelligent, and admirable. However, when thrown in a critical situation that tested their character, the evil in them triumphed over the good. The basic assumption of course is that man is dual, both good and evil. Always man struggles with this internal conflict.
Lust for flesh, blood and power
In the novel, “… Jack found the throat and the hot blood sprouted over his hands. The sow collapsed under them and they were heavy and fulfilled upon her.” (Golding)
The imagery evoked by this description is sexual. A primordial bloodlust was satisfied.
In the film, Unfaithful, Connie was drawn into an affair with Paul because of the sheer pleasure of the experience, despite the fact that she had a good home and a fulfilling marriage. The film seemed to suggest that her motivation was irrational. She had an affair because a strong wind was blowing. She slipped on the road and cut her knee. The irresistible lover-to-be was passing by and offered help, invited her to his apartment to dressed her wound. Later she called to thank him. He invited her for coffee and she accepted. From there began a series of trysts.
Connie’s hubris ( Greek for sin of pride) was assuming she was in control, that she can have an affair and then forget about it and go on with her life. Unfortunately, she kept coming back to his flat and began to neglect her duties. When Edward, her husband found out, he also assumed he was in control and attempted to confront Paul, the lover in a civilized way. However, when Edward saw their wedding anniversary gift in the lover’s bedroom, he lost control and bash Paul’s head, thus killing him. Connie and Edward eventually became partners in crime as they worked to dispose Paul’s corpse and lied to the police.
Connie chose not to channel her passion into something creative. She yielded to her sexual energy instead.. Her pride and confidence, her sense of adventure overpowered her. She probably knew what she was doing was wrong but went ahead because she had not been very spiritually discerning lately. She was young, attractive, comfortable, loved, secure. It never occurred to her to pray to be a faithful wife. She assumed she can get away with infidelity, never thought she was putting her marriage and loved ones at great risk when she chose to give in to lust for flesh.
Edward was good and tried to make things right, perhaps persuade the lover to stop seeing his wife. But in a sudden burst of insane rage triggered by the sight of their wedding anniversary gift that found its way into Paul’s room, Edward killed the latter.. Suddenly his lust for blood craved to be satisfied.
In the end, both wife and husband wanted to assume ultimate control over the evil they have done. Instead of trying to rectify their sins, regain their worth as human beings and pay for their crime, Connie and Edward chose instead to cover up their evil deed. They have totally given in to the machination of the devil.
Man cannot just kill the beast
Man, in his foolish naivete, continue to believe the devil’s lies about happiness, knowledge, and power.
In the song, “Hotel California” by Eagles, a few lines mentioned “the beast.”
And in the master’s chamber
They gathered for the feast
But with their steely knives
They just can’t kill the beast.
Man can not just kill the beast in him, and so he has to be alert and spiritually discerning. The evil in man’s subconscious may surface when he least expect it and cause him to commit a sin that would destroy him and those around him. Always, the attraction of pleasure, bloodlust, and power will entice mankind to commit evil.
The antidote is found in the New Testament, in the book of Ephesians 6: 10-17, about putting on the helmet of salvation and the armor of God, consisting of truth as belt, justice as breastplate, zeal to propagate peace as footgear, faith as shield, and the word of God as sword of the spirit.
Eagles. “Hotel Califoria.” Wea International. May 2006.
Golding, William. Lord of the Flies. 1954.
Lyne, Adrian (Director). Unfaithful. Fox 2000 Pictures. 2002
The New American Bible. Thomas Nelson Publishers. 1971.