Masks and Disguise Essay

Published: 2020-04-22 15:06:56
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Category: Literature

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In William Goldings novel Lord of the Flies and Shakespeares play Romeo and Juliet masks and disguises are used to serve different purposes.

Both texts use masks and disguise to allow characters to behave in ways that they usually would not or could not. For example, in Lord of the Flies, the boys go from being civilised to becoming savage. This is evident when it says the mask was a thing on its own, behind which Jack hid, liberated from shame and self consciousness. The fact that the mask is a thing on its own shows that the boys, Jack in particular, feel as if they are not responsible for their actions because of the mask. This is supported by the quote The mask compelled them. It also suggests that the boys have become completely different people after wearing the mask.

The word hid suggests that the boys are also protected from the repercussions of their violent actions because the mask creates anonymity. At the masquerade ball in Romeo and Juliet, people are able to speak openly to each other as their true identities are hidden beneath their masks. This is evident when Capulet says I have seen the say/ That I have worn a visor, and could tell/ A whispering tale in a fair ladys ear. This shows that Capulet was able to charm a lady with his stories with the aid of his mask.

The word whispering suggests that Capulets action was something that had to be done with secrecy and that the mask allowed him to speak openly with the fair lady. Romeo, hidden beneath his mask, is also able to charm Juliet. This is shown when Juliet says My only love sprung from my only hate! / Too early seen unknown, and known too late! The word unknown reinforces the fact that people are anonymous beneath masks and are able to do things they usually wouldnt. It also shows that Juliet fell in love with Romeo because she did not know his true identity. Also, if Romeo did not wear a mask, he would not have been able to meet Juliet, so the plot would not be able to move forward to reveal their death-markd love.

During the time in which Romeo and Juliet is set, people often had masked parties as cultural occasions or for celebrations, ¦the nuptial of Luciento¦ and then we masked. However, in Lord of the Files, masks are used to represent the removal of culture and the dehumanisation of the boys. This is shown in the quote The forest near them burst into uproar. Demoniac figures¦ rushed out howling¦ stark naked¦ This shocks the reader as the boys go from completely civilised children to savages.

The word uproar makes it sound as if there is chaos on the island. The word demoniac shows that Jack and the boys have become the embodiment of evil, unlike their former selves. The word howling makes the boys sound more like animals than humans. It may also suggest that the boys have freed their inner beasts and that wearing a mask makes it easier for their inner beasts to come out.

The fact that they are stark naked shows that they are not civilised anymore and have become less British. The boys are also hidden behind masks when they brutally kill Simon and behave like savages. The masks used during Simons death protect the boys from punishment as their identities are hidden so no-one can be held accountable. This makes the reader feel upset because Simon gets no justice. Golding may have included this to show that all humans have the potential to become uncivilised and evil, and to show that civility is what contains a persons inner beast.

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