"This place is death" is a quote from Charlotte prior to her untimely death due to the Island's lack of anchor to space time. In my opinion it is highly possible that that is not far from the truth. In my personal experience with the vast majority of all stories revolve around a climactic battle between good and evil. Throughout the story of lost it has been set that each and every survivor has an interesting set of skills to contribute to the well being of the people around them in one way or another. For example: even though Sawyer was a con-man, he is now a good person who will do the right thing even if he has a feeling it could go wrong. Sayid was crucial to the development of the survivors because he was willing to go where others couldn't. He was the extremist of the group and if he hadn't crashed on that island then they would be back to square one because his expertise in torture and his handiness regarding a firearm saved their lives on more than one occasion. Jack is a doctor. Kate is the voice of reason. Locke is a tragic figure but his will to survive and his instincts led him to uncover the secrets of the island before anyone else even suspected. Bernard and Rose both were the brightest lights in a dark time because they were always there to comfort others, and keep morale up at times when the survivors needed it most. Everyone had a purpose. And their purposes were always meant to come to fruition on a random island in the middle of no-where that is caught up in a war. There has been a reference to war several times throughout the course of the five seasons of the show, and that war is going to happen in the sixth and final season. There is the good, benevolent Christ-like character (Jacob) who heals the sick (John Locke after he was pushed out of an eight story window), and gives each person who needs it purpose (his visits to each of the survivors). Jacob is all knowing, and is highly capable of preventing disaster. Which is what he is doing by creating the reality that he has. He chose the people who would change the world for the better in order to get people to the island. Each choice he made brought him closer to death by the hand of Benjamin Linus. He must have known the outcome because he knew everything else that happened up till that point. The evil character is the unnamed man on the beach, who had a short conversation with Jacob before telling him that as soon as he found a "loophole" he would kill him. I believe that this man represents Satan. He is the great corrupter. He convinces all of the "hostiles" to follow his lead simply by taking the persona of John Locke who was once their leader. I believe that the "monster" or the cloud of smoke or whatever you call it could be the man who spoke to Jacob on the beach. The monster can see into the very soul of the person it looks at (depicted in every encounter with it as a smoke that has visions of your past appear to you), therefore he knows John Locke's past. The man on the beach killed Locke by adopting his body (the smoke monster can take the shape of anything ie: Eko's brother, Kate's horse, Ben's Daughter) and telling Richard Alpert to tell the real Locke that he would have to die. That way Locke could die and the man on the beach could take his place to rule the Others. Assuming that my theory on the smoke monster is correct. Then he used Ben's love for Alex to make him follow Locke no matter the consequences. Locke being the monster because the man on the beach is trying to kill Jacob and had to use Ben as his tool because he is unable to lift a finger towards the benevolent character. Much like Satan is unable to physically harm Christ, and must instead manipulate others around him into doing his dirty work for him. Locke is dead. Much like in the episode Dead is dead. He cannot come back but by the time that Richard realized that it wasn't Locke who was in with Jacob. Jacob himself was already dead. Locke may have control of the Others, which would mean that Satan has his army. But it is possible that Jacob can be reborn in order to influence events related to the survivors which would mean that Christ has his army. The Island is an entity that was created simply to be fought over. Whoever controls the island most likely controls the fate of much more than simply a landmass. He could use the islands power for great evil (use its electromagnetic properties to destroy or control) or great good (use the restorative powers that it has to heal the sick). Of course this is all speculation but it seems a logical explanation for the time it takes for me to be proven wrong. Whose side will Widmore choose to aid? He could quite possibly be the deciding factor of the war. Thank you and Namaste.