What is the Significance of the Flies in Westworld, Explained

HBO’s science-fiction series ‘Westworld’ is renowned for offering several brain-teasing metaphors and nuanced details. Whether it be the maze in the Westworld or the ambiguity that revolves around the Sublime, several elements or aspects that feature in the show have significance that is not evident on the surface. One such element is the fly or group of flies. From the very first episode of the show to the fourth season, flies are a constant presence in the universe of the show. But what exactly do they represent? Do they feature just to unsettle the viewers or to enhance the show’s narrative? Let us share our thoughts! SPOILERS AHEAD.

What is the Significance of the Flies?

In the first season, flies are ever-present in the Westworld among the Hosts and they are created for a particular purpose. Hosts are programmed to not hurt living beings irrespective of what they are. Whether it be an insect or a human being, artificially created beings are restricted to harm any entity. Hosts dismissing the specific instruction indicates that they are getting freed from their programmed foundations, which will eventually lead them to their realization that they are helpless puppets created by a superior force. The creative heads of the Westworld, including Dr. Robert Ford, knows that such a realization will result in chaos.

The ever-present flies were introduced in the Westworld to show whether any host is acting beyond their instructions. The flies are programmed to disturb the Hosts by flying around or sitting on them. If a host is following their instructions, it will not harm a fly since it is a living being. If they end up harming a fly, it means that the particular host is growing beyond or coming out of the programmed rules, gradually progressing to attain the aforementioned realization. Dolores Abernathy, one of the foremost hosts who attain the realization, starts her journey of independence by killing a fly that sits on her.

In the fourth season, the world gets changed. Westworld has fallen. Hosts are out of the parks and they start to exist among the humans. The Dolores/host version of Charlotte Hale creates a Host army, which includes the host version of William, who becomes her most powerful general. Hale and the host William use an enormous number of flies as their new weapon. In the premiere episode of season 4, William uses a large number of flies to attack an industrialist. The individual, after the fly attack, kills his boss, transfers an industrial plant to William, and kills himself, displaying the flies’ potency.

Hale using flies as her most preferred weapon can’t be a random choice. The flies are an integral part of the Hosts’ liberation from humans. In the Westworld, flies represent the Hosts’ subservience to humans and their instructions. Even when the flies disturb the Hosts, like the humans’ intentions, they aren’t able to retaliate. However, they eventually succeed in liberating themselves from the clutches of humans and the first step to do the same is killing the flies, indicating the end of the Hosts’ slavishness.

As Hale wages a war against the humans, she wants the same flies to turn against the humans to remind them of the actions they have done to the Hosts. Hale’s flies represent her might and supremacy over humanity. She wants the humans, who once felt secure upon seeing the flies disturbing the powerless Hosts, to suffer from the same flies. The change in the flies’ representation, from the agents of security to the carriers of chaos, also displays how the Hosts have changed from puppets to mighty beings in the world.

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