King Lear and Nicholas and Alexandra: Effective Leadership

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Effective leadership requires a foundation of strong relationships to construct a clear outline of the responsibilities they must uphold. This is manifested through Shakespeare’s tragedy; King Lear and, the 1971 biographical film Nicholas and Alexandra directed by Franklin J. Schaffner, which tells the story of a devoted Russian Tsar, yet his ruling and decisions led to the end of a 300-year Romanov regime. It is evident in both texts that in order to be effective, leaders must use their relationships for support to fulfil their duties and also focus on nurturing them as it influences their status of power.

Leaders who do not have a support system are unable to achieve their goals and therefore are ineffective. This is evident in King Lear, through Edmund’s soliloquy in Act 1, Scene 2 where his plan to betray his brother for his desire of power is revealed to the audience. When Edgar is confused - “Some villain hath done me wrong”, Edmund responds “That’s my fear” and acts ignorant of the situation even though he was the instigator. The use of dramatic irony emphasises the neglect of his brotherly bond. Edmund loses the support of Edgar hence exposing his manipulative ways by declaring to the room “thou art a traitor!” Edmund therefore is deemed unworthy of a position of power by those superior to him, which is an obstacle towards his ambitions. Furthermore, Edmunds complex love affair with Regan and Goneril is shown through the repetition of questions portraying his confusion and uncertainty, “Which of them shall I take? Both? One? Or neither?” Edmund fails to address his relationships which results in the death of Regan and Goneril because they have such a strong love for him. This leaves him with no support system and he loses the key to accomplishing his motives. It is therefore evident that Edmund is an ineffective leader because he is unable to fulfil his goal of power due to an absence of strong relationships and furthermore an absence of support....
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