Can Macbeths dishonesty be connected to Geroge Washingtons honesty?In my essay, I chose to focus on honesty as an important leadership quality, but I had trouble finding a "stereotypically" honest...

Can Macbeths dishonesty be connected to Geroge Washingtons honesty?

In my essay, I chose to focus on honesty as an important leadership quality, but I had trouble finding a "stereotypically" honest leader.  I chose Geroge Washington and the cherry tree myth.  Are there any better "honest" leaders? Merci!

Asked on by emmylouwho

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I think that one of the challenges in a question like this is that it examines individuals in rather harsh dualities.  It seems like they are sinners or saints who are overwhelmingly honest or completely duplicitous and evil.  The reality might be that they are human beings and lie somewhere in between most polarities.  Washington certainly had many strong qualities.  At the same tme, he did own slaves and after fighting for Colonial freedom, he never saw the same applicability to people of color who were enslaved.  In the final analysis, I think that while Macbeth acted in a rather repugnant manner, his condition is tragic in his succumbing to his tragic flaw.  I am not certain that leaders are purely "honest," just as it would be difficult to find human beings who are completely "honest."

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

This is a really interesting idea for an essay, but not an easy one.  The problem, to me, is that it's hard to think of a leader who is always honest.

Actually, I'm not sure that we would think of someone as a great leader if they were always honest.  For example, Franklin Roosevelt is famous for saying that Americans had nothing to fear but fear itself.  But really, they had actual fears -- many Americans were unemployed, many more had good reason to be afraid of losing their jobs.  In that case, Roosevelt's job was to be inspiring, not to be honest.  Do you think you might want to focus on when it's good to be honest and when it's not?

As far as honesty, you might want to look at Lincoln.  He did more stuff as president than Washington did.  You might talk about him being honest by talking about how the country couldn't continue on divided instead of trying to paper over the problems and let things go on how they had been.  But even he didn't tell the truth all the time -- I really think that leaders have to fudge things in times of crisis...

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