The Theme of Leadership in the 'Lord of the Flies'. Who Do You Believe Is the Best Leader in the Novel?

Topics: Leadership, Management, Fiedler contingency model Pages: 5 (2177 words) Published: March 24, 2013
Throughout the novel, ‘Lord of the Flies’, William Golding is able to link the many aspects of our own world through the various characters he creates. One of these aspects is leadership, which plays a vital role in the novel’s microcosmic society, as it does in our own society. Golding uses leadership to convey his ideologies about human nature. Golding believes that all humans are fundamentally flawed, that all humans are evil and are capable of inflicting evil upon others. Only the law and order of our society hold back the flaws that all humans inherently possess. Golding uses the mixed feelings that he has about leadership to reveal his philosophy about human nature and other flawed aspects of our society. The Second World War, which Golding was a part of, brought about his pessimism of human nature. He was horrified at what himself and others did during the war. He gradually learned to see all human nature as savage and unforgiving, the darkness of mans heart; it is in all of us.
The qualities of a good leader are universally accepted. The leader has to have control over his followers. He has to demand respect. The leader also has to be able to persuade his followers to follow him without taking away from his beliefs and views. A good leader also has to be able to be strong, mentally more than physically. He needs to be able to stand his ground and strongly believe in what he feels is right. A good leader also has to believe in himself. If a leader does not believe in himself, then who will? A leader has to be assertive and does not need to back down from anything. The two main characters in this novel express some of these characteristics, one character more than the other.

There are always people, when in a group, who show and possess superior leadership attributes than others. The strongest, mentally and physically, tend to have the greatest influence over others. Sometimes the strongest person is not necessarily the best choice. Authors, including Golding, often show how humans select the strongest person, to give us an understanding of the influence people can possess over others. Golding has two stand out characters in the beginning of the novel who each show their own, but very different leadership skills. However Golding believes that there is no such thing as a perfect leader, and that every type of leadership is flawed in some way. Golding intends to use these two characters to highlight the two types of leadership that he tries to present in the novel.

The first character introduced to us is Ralph, who in my opinion is presented as the better leader. His capacity for leadership is evident from the beginning, “Shut up,” said Ralph absently. He lifted the conch. “Seems to me we ought to have a chief to decide things.” He then proceeds to be voted as the group leader, over Jack, mainly due to the fact that he was the one that initially blew the conch, “They obeyed the summons of the conch, partly because Ralph blew it, and he was big enough to be a link with the adult world of authority….”It is obvious from the offset that Golding has made Ralph the symbol of democracy in the novel. Golding shows his feeling about democracy as describing democratic voting as a ‘toy’. The other little’uns follow Ralph as he is the only link they have left to the civilised world. At the beginning and throughout the novel, Ralph is the primary representative of order, society and leadership among the group. Ralph starts off well at attempting to make a new society; he firmly believes that the most important thing in this situation is being rescued. He creates a fire beacon, for cooking, heat and rescue. The signal fire can be viewed as a sign of hope - the hope the boys have to return to society. When the flames dance brightly, it shows the enthusiasm they hold for the idea of being rescued. However, as the fire grows dim, it reflects the attitude of the...
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