Power and Leadership in Lord of the Flies

Power/Authority/Leadership essay – Lord of the Flies (chapter 1)

Within the first chapter of William Golding's 'Lord of the Flies' the reader is introduced to the novel's protagonist Ralph, and his yet-to-be-established rival Jack. Both characters already have strong elements of authority on the island with Ralph's ownership of the Conch shell and Jack already being the head of the choir;however throughout the beginning chapter there exists a continuous, silent battle between the two boys over power and status which is slowly unveiled more towards the end of the section. The fight   for leadership between the pair can be interpreted as a symbolism of the modern day debate of democracy versus dictatorship and Ralph and Jack are Golding's way of portraying both the benefits and conflicts of the governmental schemes which leads to this idea becoming a key theme in the novel.

Ralph's character presents very democratic traits throughout chapter one. In every action he takes, he does so in a fair manner, for instance when the boys are voting for chief he says “All right. Who wants Jack for chief?” conveying his equitable self by offering everyone the chance to voice their opinion meanwhile Jack declares “I ought to be chief” immediately which contrast with Ralph's idea of how to organise a leader, presenting the different approaches to power opportunities. When Ralph is elected as chief he still takes Jack into consideration and allows him to control the choir and their occupation when he states “The choir belongs to you of course...What do you want them to be?” conveying signs of a true leader because he kindly offering the other potential leader Jack a 'second in command' position on the island, making him appear quite equitable. Whereas for Jack the reader is given the impression from his actions that he is a dictator, even Hitler-like character. When entering the chapter he and his followers are described as “something dark” foreshadowing that evil is about to...