Jack Merridew is the main antagonist in Sir William Golding's novel Lord of the Flies. He battled through civilization, morality, and order even when it resulted to his descend to madness, painting himself dramatically.
Described to be physically unattractive but played by Tom Chapin, Jack is the tallest out of the boys, bony, but strongly built, sandy red-haired, freckled, and blue-eyed.
The strong-willed, egomaniacal Jack is the novel’s primary representative of the instinct of savagery, violence, and the desire for power—in short, the anti-thesis of Ralph. From the beginning of the novel, Jack desires power above all other things. He is furious when he loses the election to Ralph and continually pushes the boundaries of his subordinate role in the group. Early on, Jack retains the sense of moral propriety and behaviour that society instilled in him—in fact, in school, he was the leader of the choir-boys. The first time he encounters a pig, he is unable to kill it. But Jack soon becomes obsessed with hunting and devotes himself to the task, painting his face like a barbarian and giving himself over to bloodlust. The more savage Jack becomes, the more he is able to control the rest of the group. Indeed, apart from Ralph, Simon, and Piggy, the group largely follows Jack in casting off moral restraint and embracing violence and savagery. Jack’s love of authority and violence are intimately connected, as both enable him to feel powerful and exalted. By the end of the novel, Jack has learned to use the boys’ fear of the beast to control their behaviour—a reminder of how religion and superstition can be manipulated as instruments of power.
But, despite all of this, Jack is still very much a young boy, although undoubtedly a young boy who did horrific things.
- Jack was created after Jack Martin.
|Ralph • Jack Merridew • Piggy • Samneric • Simon • Roger|