In his novel, Lord of the Flies, William Golding evaluates the nature of man. He uses characterization and the interaction of those characters in order to come to the theme of a loss of innocence. This loss of innocence occurs through the realization that man is innately evil. The degeneration of reason and rationality, the loss of conscious, and the release of passion all contribute to the realization.
Ralph represents will. He is symbolized by the author as the "strong willed politician", and exhibits leadership qualities like selfless dedication, courage, conviction, and integrity (Parivelan). He is also the voice of reason among the boys on the island. He has a "social identity, correct manners, morality, and a sense of justice" (Parivelan). Although he doesn't understand Jack's hunting rituals, he is "excited by it when involved" (Handout). When he is forced to try to justify Simon's death, his "degradation of reason" begins, which also signals the beginning of his loss of innocence (Parivelan).
Piggy represents rationality. While Ralph is the voice of reason, Piggy symbolizes the force behind that voice. His gradual loss of sight and eventual death highlight the degeneration among the community, and "with Piggy's death, the remaining not only get degenerated, but completely devoid of human control that comes from rational awareness" (Parivelan).
Simon represents conscious. He symbolizes a prophet in the way that he is seen as crazy and ignored by the rest of the tribe. His search for the truth about the beast and the evil within everyone personifies the role of the conscious faculty as human self, and "his death, symbolic of the destruction of the conscious, paves the way for depersonalization" (Parivelan). With the loss of inhibitions that allow the boys to murder Simon, their sense of self is destroyed with him. Now the masks are necessary not only to allow the boys to get into another character, but to allow them to escape their own.