Piggy"s death in Lord of the Flies symbolically represents the end of rational thought and civilized behavior on the island.

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As a character, Piggy represented rational thought and intellect. His death represents the death of these things and the triumph of savagery and mayhem. The conch, which represents civilized society, remains in Piggy’s hand in his last moments and is destroyed with him, marking the end of any hope of...


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As a character, Piggy represented rational thought and intellect. His death represents the death of these things and the triumph of savagery and mayhem. The conch, which represents civilized society, remains in Piggy’s hand in his last moments and is destroyed with him, marking the end of any hope of democracy or civilization among the boys.

While Piggy was severely short-sighted and never likely to win any kind of “survival of the fittest” competition, he was the most logical and pragmatic thinker on the island. His loyalty to the concept of the conch shows his faith in the idea of civilized society. Right up until his death, Piggy never gives up the hope of establishing order on the island. However, his attempt to inspire Jack with his rational thinking fails, and his death—courtesy of a rock rolled down the cliff by Roger—represents the end of any hope for law and order. The conch is also destroyed in the moment of Piggy’s death, heralding the end of civilized society.

Piggy’s death represents the vulnerable nature of intellect. It is the first murder on the island that cannot be chalked up to “mob mentality,” and Ralph knows that Piggy’s death (together with the imprisoning of Samneric) heralds the end of him having a single ally.


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Last Updated by bsci-ch.org Editorial on March 10, 2021

Carroll Khan, M.A.
Teacher (K-12)

B.A. from Indiana University of Pennsylvania M.A. from Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Educator since 2020

359 answers


Piggy"s character represents civility, scientific thought, and rationality. Piggy is one of the few boys who champions civilization and order over hunting and savagery. Despite his annoying personality and physical limitations, Piggy is by far the most intelligent boy on the island and understands the importance of maintaining the signal fire for rescue. He encourages the boys to pragmatically solve their problems, challenges Jack"s style of leadership, and reveres the conch. Piggy"s vulnerability and knowledge influence him to embrace civilization and support Ralph.

In chapter 11, Piggy, Ralph, and Samneric travel to Jack"s stronghold, Castle Rock, to retrieve Piggy"s glasses. Shortly after Ralph fights Jack, Piggy holds the conch and addresses the group of savages. Piggy hopes to inspire Jack and the savage hunters to accept civilization, exercise rationality, and abandon their barbaric way of life. Piggy demonstrates his affinity for civilization and rational thought by posing the question, "Which is better—to have rules and agree, or to hunt and kill?" Suddenly, Roger, the sadist, rolls a massive boulder down the cliff, striking Piggy and killing him instantly.

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Piggy"s death symbolically represents the end of order and rational thought on the island. The conch also explodes into thousands of tiny pieces and symbolizes the demise of civilization. Piggy"s death also underscores Golding"s theme regarding the struggle between civility and savagery. Chaos reigns supreme following Piggy"s death, and Ralph is the only rational boy alive.