Simon's role as an artistic, religious visionary is established not only by his hidden place of meditation but also by the description of his eyes: "so bright they had deceived Ralph into thinking him delightfully gay and wicked." While Piggy has the glasses — one symbol of vision and truth — Simon has bright eyes, a symbol of another kind of vision and truth.
Simon is different from the other boys not only due to his physical frailty, manifested in his fainting spells, but also in his consistently expressed concern for the more vulnerable boys. Littluns follow him, and he picks choice fruit for them from spots they can't reach, a saintly or Christ-like image. He stands up for Piggy and helps him get his glasses back when Jack knocks them off his head, another allusion to Simon's visionary bent. In addition, he has a secret place in the jungle, where he spends time alone.
Simon's loner tendencies make the other boys think he's odd, but, for the reader, Simon's credibility as a mystic is established when he prophesies to Ralph "You'll get back to where you came from." Simon reaches an abstract understanding of mankind's latent evil nature and unthinking urge to dominate as "mankind's essential illness." When Simon tries to visualize what the beast might look like, "there arose before his inward sight the picture of a human at once heroic and sick" — Golding's vision of humanity as flawed by inherent depravity. Golding gives this knowledge to an outsider like Simon to reflect the place visionaries or mystics typically hold in society: on the fringes, little understood by the majority, and often feared or disregarded. Like other mystics, Simon asks questions the other boys cannot answer. His questions to them, "What's the dirtiest thing there is?" and "What else is there to do?" require both abstract thought and courageous action to answer.
In contrast to Piggy and Ralph's equating adulthood with knowledge and higher understanding, Simon sees the darker side of knowledge. For him, the staked sow's eyes are "dim with the infinite cynicism of adult life," a view of adults not defined by the civilized politeness and capability the boys imagine. Yet Simon soldiers on in his quest to discover the identity of the beast on the mountaintop because he sees the need for the boys to face their fears, to understand the true identity of the false beast on the mountain, and to get on with the business of facing the beast within themselves.
By courageously seeking to confront the figure on the mountaintop, Simon fulfills his destiny of revelation. He doesn't get to share his revelation with the other boys because they are not ready to accept or understand it. Instead he dies as a result of being made the scapegoat for the boys' unshakeable fear. When Simon's body is carried off by the tide, covered in the jellyfish-like phosphorescent creatures who have come in with the tide, Golding shifts the focus from Simon's body's movements to the much larger progressions of the sun, moon, and earth because Simon represented a knowledge as fundamental as the elements.