The ID, Ego and Superego in Lord of the Flies Essay

Freud primarily signed up for the idea that there are two energies that drive human habits. These 2 energies are sex– the satisfaction concept and hostility. The human mind is comprised of the mindful, preconscious, and unconscious. Within the worlds of the mind, the human personality is controlled by the id, the ego, and the superego. The id is driven by the pleasure principle. The superego is the instinctual moral great, which intends to please the ego ideal, or the magnified ethical values.

The ego connects with both the id and the superego and intends to please both elements (Connors). William Golding’s Lord of the Flies embodies Freud’s psychoanalytic theory. Golding utilizes the characters of Jack, Piggy, Simon, and Ralph to personify the id, the ego, and the superego, respectively.

Jack is a prime example of Freud’s id. Similar to the id, Jack cares about survival instead of rescue. The id concentrates on immediate and primitive pleasures rather than a long-lasting plan. Jack shows no interest in a signal fire and rather spends all of his time hunting. He flourishes upon control. He does not support the rules established and attempts to be a totalitarian leader. Many times throughout the novel, he attempts to turn the boys against Ralph, the original head chief. “Bollocks to the rules! We’re strong– we hunt! If there’s a beast, we’ll hunt it down! We’ll close in and beat and beat and beat–!” (Golding 79). He controls the young boys, kills animals, and help in eliminating Simon and Piggy. Jack eventually subdues Piggy and Simon, by helping and abetting in their deaths, similar to the id can subdue the superego.

Throughout the unique, Jack solely cares about his own enjoyments. His very first priority is hunting pigs and getting meat. He enjoys the idea of catching, controlling, and killing a pig. Jack’s people concentrates on killing and on the enjoyment principle. “Jack was on top of the plant stabbing downward with his knife … The spear moved forward inch by inch and the horrified screeching became a high-pitched scream. Then Jack discovered the throat and the hot blood spouted over his hands,” (Golding 120). Jack’s need to kill and please his own desires pertains to fruition in the scene with the plant. He shows to the other boys that he will stop at absolutely nothing to perform his own requirements just like the id aims to take over the thoughts in a human’s mind in order to please its own desires.

The superego embodies humanity. Its objective is to carry out an instinctual moral excellent. Piggy personifies the superego’s duty to perform social requirements. Piggy aims to be a voice of factor, but is only able to do so with the assistance of Ralph, the chief. The superego’s desires, like Piggy’s wishes, can just be revealed through the ego. Piggy engages social standards and provides the only adult figure in the novel by reciting the words of his auntie. The superego often acts as the character angel on one’s shoulder that guides a person to do what is morally ideal. Piggy consistently encourages Ralph to do the right thing for the tribe. Whenever a substantial occasion takes place on the island, Piggy exists. Piggy helps Ralph summon the very first meeting, his glasses light the primary bonfire, he witnesses Simon’s death, and so on. Piggy time and again assists in bringing a voice of reason to every scenario. “Piggy’s role– as man’s thinking faculties and as a dad– derives some of its intricacy from the truth that the fire which the children foster and guard on the mountain in the hope of interacting with the adult world is lighted with his glasses,” (Rosenfield). Piggy likewise challenges Jack, which ultimately results in his death. Piggy’s participation in representing the superego is focused on the social requirements and assisting to press Ralph into the ideal direction.

Simon epitomizes the very ego. Simon supervises the kids and wishes to assist everyone. He uses both social and moral rules. He attempts to show the great nature of the civilized and uncivilized kids on the island. Simon is the one young boy who never takes part in devastating behaviors and constantly adds to the well being of the kids. He continues to work even after everybody stops, offers Piggy food when no one else will, and speaks his mind about the monster. He is also the only one to understand that the real monster is inside the boys. Simon’s ethical compass, just like the superego, allows him to see the evil of mankind. Simon is whole-heartedly excellent. The superego tries to lead an individual to the ethically right pathway, just like Simon intends to reveal Ralph how he can do what’s finest for the people. The primitive nature of the others overpowers Simon’s internal excellent nature. Even after his death, Simon’s moral nature resides on through the kids similar to how the superego can continue to shine after a person follows the desires of the id.

Ralph’s character embodies the ego. The ego is the rational aspect of the mind. Ralph’s rationality is shown in his role as leader. He focuses on the idea of being rescued and arranges the fires as a mode of getting the attention of a rescue ship. He works on constructing shelters for the members of the tribe. He tries to keep meetings organized and establishes the role of the conch to keep order. Ralph decides for the good of the group. He holds disputes and constantly aims to have the group stick, in spite of Jack’s constant efforts to break the people apart. Most significantly, Ralph continues his function chief regardless of how he feels, due to the fact that he understands he makes a much better chief for the group than Jack could ever be.

Additionally, the ego, like Ralph, referees in between the instinctual requirements of the id and the societal needs of the superego. The ego is the only facet of the mind that communicates with both the mindful and the unconscious. Ralph regularly serves as the democratic figure that tries to keep the id and superego under control. Ralph’s task as chief is to keep the boys as a civilized society on the island. Like the ego, Ralph should look at various situations and identify what is the very best option to take at that moment. Golding puts Ralph into situations where he need to choose in between pleasing Jack or doing what Simon suggests is best. Ralph, as leader of the tribe, attempts to be the best human he can be and frequently follows the assistance of the superego; although, like everyone at one point or another, Ralph does catch the primitive desires that Jack embodies. Ralph first succumbs to the pleasure of hunting. He later on falls down Jack’s pathway when he helps in killing Simon. He right away regrets this and keeps in mind all that Simon taught him. From this point forward, Ralph tries to listen to his ethical compass.

Ralph is the ultimate balance in between great and wicked. “Ralph is every man– or every child– and his body ends up being the battleground where factor and instinct battle, each to assert itself. For to relate to Ralph and Jack as Excellent and Evil is to neglect the function of the kid Piggy, who in the kid’s world of make-believe is the outsider,” (Rosenfield). Ralph’s role as the ego perfectly represents how the ego must constantly balance the id and the superego. Jack’s selfish desire for hunting and control characterizes the id’s continuous need to seek enjoyment. Piggy and Simon’s total unselfish sacrifices and goal to lead Ralph down the ethically right pathway solidify their functions as the superego. William Golding’s Lord of the Flies personifies Freud’s psychoanalytic theory that the mind can be seen as the id, the ego and the superego. Golding’s use of Jack, Piggy, Simon, and Ralph to represent the id, the ego, and the superego places the abstract functions of Freud’s theory onto concrete topics that the reader can judge, befriend and get in touch with.


Connors, R. (2013, January/February). Freudian theory. Psychology of personality. Lecture conducted from Anna Maria College, Paxton, MA. Golding, W. (1954 ). Lord of the flies. London, England: Penguin Books Ltd. Rosenfield, C.(1990 ). ‘Men of a smaller development’: A mental analysis of William Golding’s ‘lord of the flies,’. In R. Matuz & & C. Falk (Eds.), Contemporary Literary Criticism (Vol. 58). Retrieved from|H1420009370&& v=2.1 & u=tusc49521 & it=r & p = LitRC & sw = w

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