While we are no longer developing Digital Mysteries and Thinking Kit, we are leaving our website up for those of you interested in the ideas behind the Apps.

Lord of the Flies

Lord flies

Audience: KS4

Subject: English

Topic: Literature, Moral, Responsibility, Nature, Murder, Island, Children

Question: In ‘Lord of the Flies’ who is responsible for the murders on the island?

Author: Stephanie Nelson



This mystery can be used before embarking on study of ‘Lord of the Flies’ by William Golding to gain a general overview of the plot and characters. Or, it could be used after reading the text, to engage with themes in the novel such as moral responsibility and the nature of evil, especially if the middle to higher ability questions is used. 

The Mystery is designed to allow pupils to explore how the deaths on the island have taken place. For lower ability pupils and those who have not read the text this mystery will help them sequence events in the novel and assign blame for the murders to certain characters in the novel – i.e. all of the boys are responsible in some way for Simon’s murder and Roger (under the leadership of Jack) for Piggy’s murder.  Students may form other conclusions, such as delirious hunger and lack of adult supervision as factors contributing toward the boy’s deaths. Pupils will begin to consider the main themes of the novel and the message Golding was trying to give through the text.

However, the higher ability question, ‘Who or what is the beast?’ should lead higher ability students to the comment Golding was wishing to make regarding human nature and the effects of evil. It could lead in to discussions regarding social and moral responsibility for actions and the beast which is within all of us.