The Hobbesian State of Nature in ‘Lord of the Flies’


This ‘Lord of The Flies’ scene accurately depicts the Hobbesian state of nature described in the ‘Leviathan’. Without any assurances of protection, mankind would descend into a war of all against all, reserving survival for only the fittest, and “the life of man solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short (pg. 84).” The only way to suppress the ill effects of such self-interest and enable people to relax their distrust of one another is through the introduction of a social contract that requires the submission of personal authority and rights to the state. Importantly, it must contain a fear of punishment from the state, sufficient to exceed the possible rewards of self-interested behaviour. Hobbes thought that without “common power, there is no law, where no law, no justice” (pg. 85), and ‘Piggy’ echo’s these sentiments in his plea for a civilised environment in the clip. According to Hobbes, only in this refined state, with laws that specifically deter survivalist drives, can human prosperity and security be possible. The removal of such regulations would see the world become awash with violence and chaos, producing victims like ‘Piggy’.


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