At an allegorical level, the central theme is the conflicting human impulses toward civilization and social organization—living by rules, peacefully and in harmony—and toward the will to power . Themes include the tension between groupthink and individuality, between rational and emotional reactions, and between morality and immorality. How these play out, and how different people feel the influences of these form a major subtext of Lord of the Flies . [ citation needed ] The name "Lord of the Flies" is a literal translation of Beelzebub , from 2 Kings 1:2–3, 6, 16 .
Without the usual authority figures to direct the boys, they must fend for themselves. Ralph, one of the boys, takes on a leadership position. He knows little more than any of the others, but he manages to gather them in one place and is voted leader. At his side is the compassionate, clever, but fatally clumsy Piggy, a nicely rendered character who serves as Ralph's conscience.
Ralph's election is contested by Jack, a cool customer with his own squadron of followers, a former choir under his leadership. Jack is a force of nature with intentions of leading hunting parties deep into the primordial jungle. With Piggy's planning, Ralph's reluctant leadership and Jack's energy, the castaways establish a successful, thriving village, at least for a day or two. Soon, the few sensible efforts -- such as keeping a fire burning at all times -- fall by the wayside.
Jack grows bored, restless and resentful of Ralph's leadership position.
After the attack, the four boys decide to go to the castle rock to appeal to Jack as civilized people. They groom themselves to appear presentable and dress themselves in normal schoolboy clothes. When they reach Castle Rock, Ralph summons the other boys with the conch. Jack arrives from hunting and tells Ralph and Piggy to leave them alone. When Jack refuses to listen to Ralph's appeals to justice, Ralph calls the boys painted fools. Jack takes Sam and Eric as prisoners and orders them to be tied up. Piggy asks Jack and his hunters whether it is better to be a pack of painted Indians or sensible like Ralph, but Roger tips a rock over on Piggy, causing him to fall down the mountain to the beach. The impact kills him and, to the delight of Jack, shatters the conch shell. Jack declares himself chief and hurls his spear at Ralph, who runs away.