Comparative Literary Analysis
If you were placed onto a stranded island in the middle of nowhere with no hope of being rescued, even the most civilized person would turn to savagery by the end. This is a fact about human nature, and at one point humans lose their morals and values. In The Crucible and the Lord of the Flies, both authors, Miller and Golding, show the evil in nature, the fight for truth, and mob mentality in certain situations. Abigail Williams and Jack both become very power hungry by the end and show the evil in nature, while and Simon are looking for the truth, and Mary Warren and SamnEric follow the mob mentality that is going around.
In The Crucible, Abigail Williams is first seen as a child speaking the truth and pointing out the people in the town who are “witches”. Everyone in the town believes her and her group of friends. But as she realizes that she has the power to condemn anyone as a witch, she overuses that power. Since Abigail desires to be with John Proctor, but he is not willing to be with her due to his wife, Abigail decides to condemn Elizabeth Proctor as a witch, so that she would be able to be with John. This clearly shows how people can use their power that they might have for their own good and use it for evil.
This occurs in The Lord of the Flies when Jack slowly becomes more and more power hungry. Throughout the novel, Jack always wants to become chief but Ralph is chosen as chief and this did not please Jack. But as the novel progresses, Jack slowly turns to savagery, and the others follow Jack with his savagery. An example is his wild hunts for pigs, and his crazy dances after killing the pig. He feels much more powerful as more people start to enjoy killings pigs with him and he starts to form a type of mob.
“His 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) This quote explores Jack’s mental state in the aftermath of killing his first pig. This slightly shows the decline into savage behavior. This quote shows Jack’s feelings of power and superiority he experiences after killing the pig. This power slowly transitions into creating his mob and gaining more power from everyone around him, which causes him to become the chief.
With this power he gains, Jack now controls most of the island, which allows him to do almost anything he wants, including to set the island on fire just to kill Ralph. At the same time in both The Crucible and The Lord of the Flies, John Proctor and Simon are looking for the truth for the fear in which everyone was going crazy in the town or island. In The Crucible, John Proctor looks for the truth as he questions the honesty of the girls calling out the witches in the town. John carefully looks for evidence to prove that the girls aren’t telling the truth.
Fortunately Mary Warren admits to John that they are all playing along only because of Abigail. But at the courthouse, no one believes Mary Warren, and she is also called a witch, so to save herself, she blames John Proctor in threatening Mary to lie. As much as John tries to fight for the truth, he fails at showing everyone because of the power everyone else has over him. Simon in The Lord of the Flies also fails to show the truth over the “beast” that everyone feared. “‘As if’, said Simon, ‘the beastie, the beastie or snake thing, was real. Remember?’” (Golding 50)
From the beginning Simon doubts the truth about this beast in the island and tries to assure the younger kids that there is no beast. Simon is the only character who truly looks out to find the truth about the beast. But in the end, he is seen as the beast and is killed by the boys who change into savages. When Simon returns to the campfire to tell everyone what the beast that everyone has feared of, he is mistaken as the beast and never gets to explain the truth. This is just like John Proctor in which he is also killed before the truth gets out.
This comparison is similar because both Simon and John were the only people to reveal the truth to the public but no one listens to them, and they end up dead before they say anything. During all of this in The Crucible and The Lord of the Flies, there are the leaders, Abigail and Jack, and then there are the followers, Mary Warren and SamnEric. In The Crucible, Mary Warren follows the mob mentality because of Abigail, and the fear of getting caught. If Mary did not follow what Abigail had said in the beginning to play along with her, Abigail threaten to kill them all, or at least hurt them.
Due to this Mary went along with the mob. Although Mary tries to confess in the courtroom, in the end she still retreats back to the mob mentality and blames John Proctor. This also happens in The Lord of the Flies when SamnEric join Jack’s mob. “Now the painted group felt the otherness of SamnEric, felt the power in their own hands. They felled the twins clumsily and excitedly. Jack was inspired. ”(Golding 191) This quote shows how Jack becomes happy with the increasing number to his group and it shows that SamnEric join due to the mob mentality and the power that Jack has compared to Ralph.
They try to follow their conscience but end up joining the mob and go along with the savages. Throughout the movie and novel, people end up losing their morals either due to having too much power or not having enough and going out of their way to gain that power. The evil in nature is clearly shown by both authors and depict how far people would go for ambitions that they want such as power. Both authors also show that the truth never gets out, which is unfortunate, but life doesn’t always have happy endings either. And last but not least, the mob mentality is a driving force for all the madness in the town of Salem and the Island.