The Desire For Power

Society is a place for competition. Human beings leverage their power in different contexts and through a diverse set of modes. The choice is either to fight for power, to serve as a leader of a community, or to accept power from another source. Most of the time, people will fight for power because they do not want to serve under the dictatorship of another human being. As the desire for power grows, human beings strive to gain as much as they can to be at the top. This need for dominant influence is a recurring theme in the novel Lord of the Flies by William Golding. The plot centers around a group of abandoned British children stranded on an island and fighting to establish order to get off the uninhabited island. Despite the continuous efforts, no one truly ever gains the power they desire because humans are never satisfied in this regard.

The group decides to create a civilization of only themselves because there were no adults on the island. They started to vote for a leader between a boy named Ralph and a boy named Jack. Jack was so confident that he can become the best leader because he was chapter chorister, head boy, and he can sing C sharp. Instead, Ralph was deemed the chief, leaving Jack was upset as a result. In chapter 1, “Even the choir applauded; and the freckles on Jack’s face disappeared under a blush of mortification. He started up, then changed his mind and sat down again while the air rang.”(23) Despite losing, Jack changes his mind thinking that if he tries to act like he is helpful, and remain calm around Ralph, Ralph will give him a higher position in the civilization. People would do anything to get the power that they want. Even changing their personalities, acting differently, and serving under the one who has higher power for a while to get what they want.

As the novel goes on, Jack’s desire for power grows because no one listens to him. Jack starts trying to make Ralph look like a bad chief in front of everyone else in his attempt to turn the group against him. In chapter 8, Jack says “He’s not a hunter. He’d never have got us meat. He isn’t a perfect and we don’t know anything about him. He just gives orders and expects people to obey for nothing. All this talk.”(126) Jack did not want to serve under Ralph’s orders any longer, so he tried to do everything in his power to ruin in Ralph’s position by saying how bad and imperfect he is to the civilization. He wants power so everyone can listen to him and serve him like they did to Ralph. The desire for power gains over time by the way that society governs itself. People are always trying to be on top of each other, so they can have the power to control others.

An example of this behavior also takes place in the real-world experience. Donald Trump, the president of the United States, is similar to Jack in regards to his immense and seemingly endless desire for power. Donald Trump used to live out a fairly standard  ‘rich-guy’ life. However, he didn’t accept his normal life and decided to join politics, fight for his presidency, and sit in the government of the United States. He wanted a higher position, and now that he has it he is abusing his power. According to the newspaper CNN, “For nearly two years now, citizen, candidate, and President Donald Trump have agitated for the means to build a wall on the southern border. Better yet, he told supporters during his campaign, it would be American-made and Mexican-paid ‘believe me’.” When he was a businessman he couldn’t do anything of that. But after he achieved his power in the government, he started to plan it out, and process it. If he wasn’t running for his presidency, he would not be able to plan out these things, and public his speech about it. This also proves that power is never achieved as much as humans want. Donald Trump was a rich guy, he could just stay in his normal life and enjoying all of his money. But instead, he decided to join the government to try and get even more powers.

Jack and Donald Trump are alike because they both desire power. They needed it for their goals. They also wanted it because they did not want to serve others, instead, they want to use the power to rule others. Jack and Donald Trump are different because Jack only wants the power to rule others, while Donald Trump wants the power to find money for him along with ruling people. Power makes people feel happy because it provides them with their wants and needs. It lets them make others listen to the things that they want, and force others to help them out with whatever they want to achieve. Donald Trump wanted to build the wall, and he’s using his new power of the president to try and say that Mexicans have to pay for it.

Humans all desire power, and every single one desires different types of power. Power makes people feel different because it gives them what they want. Human desire never ends, so power can never achieve all of a human’s wants. This is shown in the book Lord of the Flies and in the real-life example of Donald Trump. They both desire power to do things that they want and their goals are endless. No matter how hard people fight for the power they never reach what they want, because they never stop wanting more.


  1. “Golding, William. Lord of the Flies. New York: Penguin, 2006.”

  2. “Why Do We Seek Power?” Power: Why Do We Seek Power? | KidSpirit, 11 Sept. 2016,

  3. “Power Makes People Happy.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers,

  4. Krieg, Gregory. “What Kind of Border Wall Does Trump Want? It Depends on Who's Asking.” CNN, Cable News Network, 17 Jan. 2018,

Comments (5)

William Flenner (Student 2020)
William Flenner

I knew somewhat before about why people desire power, however you brought up how Jack relates to Donald Trump and that really got me thinking. Your example is really true. The greatest lesson that this piece of writing tells me is that all humans desire power and even thoses high on the social hierarchy want more. It is human nature that no one is ever satisfied by power.

Orlando Irizarry (Student 2020)
Orlando Irizarry

Your essay stands out the most. I noticed and learned a lot from it. Love how you used two ways people choose to have power, I honestly am in between because I like having power but if the guy who is leader strong and intelligent I wouldn't mind it. Even though your topic is different it didn't change my thinking because I see it constantly when we do projects people tend to get upset when they aren't leaders or they aren't good leaders. I think this behavior can be avoided by having a mutual party vote because they don't know the candidates so there's no favoritism. This issue isn't solved because look at Donald Trump he wants to be president for the power not really work which isn't benefical at all.

Sara Frunzi (Student 2020)
Sara Frunzi

I really like the angle that you looked though in this essay. You delved into, and explored, one of humanity's utmost desires. You make it clear that nothing, no amount of power or money, is enough for humans. I also like the way that you compared Jack and Donald Trump, because it made me learn the aspects of power on both a very large and very small scale. I don't know how this could be changed or prevented. One way could be to have a "power to the people" type of government, but people will always want more, as is demonstrated by Donald Trump in our democracy of a country.

Salvatori Camarote (Student 2020)
Salvatori Camarote
  1. I was really interested in the approach in the first body paragraph how people would change themselves to get power. This changed a bit of the way I think about peoples desire for power.
  2. Preventing people from obtaining this power is the only way to prevent dictatorships, but often times there is not much that can be done about that.
Adil Shamsud-Din (Student 2020)
Adil Shamsud-Din

i learned that humans only care about power. and that they will do anything to get to the top, and that if they don't have power, then they have to automatically serve for another leader. the way that this could be avoided is by, maybe people should start to share power, or just not given a higher rank than others.