English Literature » Notes » Lord of the Flies: Roger Character
Roger in Lord of the Flies (1990) movie

Lord of the Flies: Roger Character

Roger is one of the major characters in William Golding‘s Lord of the Flies, and the decisions that he makes have huge impact on the unfolding of the story of the novel. He is introduced as a slightly built boy who is shy, secretive and keeps to himself. Rather than let Jack automatically become the leader, Roger suggests that they have a vote. This demonstrates how at the start he was a civilized person who knew what was proper and just to do, rather than simply allowing the loudest voice to get their way.

Roger is shown to be a bully as he constantly picks on the littluns by destroying their sandcastles, throwing sand in their eyes and throwing rocks at them. By Rogers own nature he really wanted to hit the boys with the stones but was held back by society’s conditioning of his behavior and as a result missed every time. In the hunt his true sadistic nature is further evidenced by his excessive violence towards the pig.

Roger edged past the chief, only just avoiding pushing him with his shoulder. The yelling ceased, and Samneric lay looking up in quiet terror. Roger advanced upon them as one wielding a nameless authority. (11.231)

This all demonstrates that he had made a conscious decision to follow Jack rather than Ralph as this allowed him to foster his dark intentions even though he knew that this was morally wrong. He chose to be involved in the frenzy that lead to the brutal murder of Simon and afterwards showed no remorse for his actions. Therefore civilization was being removed as an inhibiting factor and Roger became increasingly more primitive and savage in his behavior.

When Roger hears of Jack’s intentions to beat Wilfred he hurries back to the tribe so that he can torture him himself, showing the further lost of any control society once had on him. When he was looking down at Piggy from his vantage point at Castle Rock, his only thoughts about Piggy were that he was a “bag of fat”, highlighting Rogers’s now clearly evident complete lack of empathy for others. By this stage Roger is well and truly a savage with no more restraints of civilization and because of this he gave into his sadistic urges and pushed the boulder off the cliff, killing Piggy.

In dealing with newly captive Sam and Eric, Roger asserts authority through violence and forces them to join the tribe and tell him of Ralph’s whereabouts, expressing his disregard for conventional authority. The next day Roger sets out with Jack on the hunt for Ralph with the intention of killing him and impaling him so that he can offer him to the Beast. At this point Roger exemplifies the complete breakdown of the boys’ behavior from a civilized

Christian background to a Pagan tribe. However he is stopped utterly in his tracks when the naval officer appears and he is dragged back to reality. In a flash the sight of a representative of civilization from a screaming savage and has brought back all the memories of humanity. Rogers’s decisions reflect how his character gradually disintegrated under the breakdown of order. To me Roger is a despicable and reprehensible character who illustrates the worst aspects of humanity.