Piggy, Jack, Simon, and Ralph can all be seen as symbolic characters in William Golding's novel Lord of the Flies. Golding uses symbolism to display his belief of the nature of mankind. He believes that the change from good to evil, from civilization to primitivism is unavoidable if there is not any direct authority over people. Piggy, an overweight asthmatic boy about 8 years in age, who cannot see without his glasses represents physical weakness and mental strength. His poor vision and obesity immediately establish to the reader his traits of physical infirmity and incompetence. The glasses, however, help illustrate his intellectual strength, his ability to think situations over logically and use reason, rather than emotions to decide upon important dilemmas. Piggy does not let his emotions guide him. Through the course of the novel, we observe how the allegorical society on this uninhabited tropical island in the Pacific Ocean makes the transition from carefully organized democratic reasoning to feeling-driven anarchy. The climax of this transition is marked by the death of Piggy and the destruction of the conch shell, which has very similar symbolism to Piggy. The gradual shift is also measured by various incidents that hinder Piggy's mental reasoning, such as the breaking of his spectacles, and the loss of the boys' faith in him. Piggy's character is used by William Golding to show how even the best solution to a problem can easily be overlooked because of the lack of respect, pre-established prejudices, and the lack of mature thinking processes. Jack's role in " Lord of the Flies" is to show the transition from the opposite perspective. Jack Merridew first appears in the novel leading his choir in a strictly organized fashion. He is the epitome of discipline. Then, for some reason, he becomes gradually obsessed with the killing of pigs, stealing from the other boys, and fighting the 'beast'. The most substantial point in this transformation is the first time he kills a pig. Shortly after the boys have accidentally landed on the island, Jack is reluctant to kill the pig. He is frightened to draw blood from a living thing. A quotation from Jack himself describes this perfectly: "I was going to [stick the pig]. I was choosing a place. Next time---!" Jack was not only afraid of the enormity of his knife cutting into living flesh, but he was also greatly concerned of what the other boys thought of him. Then, for some reason, Jack overcomes his fear and is able to slaughter the pig fiercely and brutally. This is a result of his changed identity due his painted face, and the fact that he has adapted to the island. Jack further evolves into a relentless dictator who gains followers by promising to fulfill the children's desire for a reversion to primitivism. His character unfolds even beyond this point into the killing of people, when his 'gang' kills Piggy and when he gives orders to his followers to track down Ralph and to kill him. Jack transforms from good to evil simultaneously as Piggy changes from power to death. Simon is the most mature of the boys because he does not fear the imaginary beast and he realizes that it is only in the boys' minds. His symbol is that of a Christ-like figure who sees the truth, but is killed because of ignorance. He has the solution for surviving on the island, but is unable to pass it on to the boys when he is killed in a mob-like fashion. His role is similar to Piggy's in this manner. This just shows how again, the emotions of the boys prevail in a life threatening situation, even if the 'life threatener' is only imagined. Simon's hallucinations symbolize messages from God, to be passed on to the people. Ralph is the best leader of the boys, even though they cannot see it. He runs a democratic government, is totally fair, has the right priorities. The change from good to evil is shown in Lord of the Flies by the shift from Ralph to Jack as the boys' choice of leaders. The boys start off by choosing Ralph as the leader, but over time all the boys except Piggy decide to follow Jack. Ralph is the evenhanded, honest, thoughtful leader, while Jack is the exact opposite, an unjust, callous dictator. When Ralph is being hunted, it symbolizes a total revert to primitivism and evil. In " Lord of the Flies", William Golding uses the four main characters to symbolize different aspects of the inevitable change from civilization and happiness to primitivism and instinct that occurs when people are placed in an environment without direct authority.