Who do you think is the best leader in the novel Lord of the Flies? William Golding's Lord of the Flies

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bigdreams1 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are actually 4 possible answers to that question. The "best" one would depend on who is to be led and what task the leader has to do.

When I teach Lord of the Flies, one of the studies we do is on the personality types of the main characters and what those personalities contribute to society. We use the Keirsey temperament sorter, and it is an interesting exercise.

Simon is the guardian. Guardians, according to Keirsey follow the rules, take responsibilty seriously, respect people, and care for their needs. Simon used these traits and was a good leader when it came to building shelters and caring for the littleuns.

Ralph was the idealist. Idealists are hopeful people who try not to sacrifice their morals while imagining the best for others. He kept the rescue dream alive and was the best leader for keeping the boys focued on the future.

Jack was the artisan. Arisans are interested in the quick pay off even if they have to bend the rules. They are interested in the here and now...what they can get their hands on. Jack was the best leader here...when the group needed meat and protection. Jack took care of the here and now.

Piggy was the rational. He is a problem solver. He is pragmatic and seeks effective answers.  In this way Piggy was the best leader because he came up with the idea of the conch as a gathering horn. He was the best leader for creative problem solving.

I think Golding's point was....that no one personality can effectively lead a society.  Citizens need the blend of different leadership styles for a properly run country.

luannw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

If by "best" you mean, "most effective", then Jack is the obvious answer.  Jack realizes what it is the boys most want:  food, protection, and fun.  In chapter 9, Jack entices most of the remaining members of Ralph's tribe to join his own tribe by promising him those three things:  "I gave you food," said Jack, "and my hunters will protect you from the beast.  Who will join my tribe?"  Once in his tribe, Jack rules by intimidation.  He beats a boy for no reason other than to exert his power over the boys.  He realizes what it takes to get power and to keep power, at least until someone stronger and more intimidating comes along.  He is a tyrant. 

If you mean "best" to mean who has the boys' best interests in mind, then Ralph is the answer.  Ralph wants the boys to get rescued and he realizes that keeping the signal fire lighted.  When the signal fire is untended and it goes out, he is outraged.  Ralph believes that the boys can be ruled by reason; that the boys will realize that he has their interests in mind when he tells them to get busy building huts and to follow the rules.  He is thinking of their safety and their long term survival.  Ralph wants to be chief because he feels he can do the job and that he can keep them all safe in doing so.  He believes that if everyone has the same goal, then all will be well.  This is a naive belief since Jack clearly does not share it.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I agree with Post #2.  Ralph is completely ineffectual.  He can't keep people on his side.  He loses them to Jack's "tribe."  This shows that Jack is more effective.  But Ralph is way more moral and a better person.

So this totally depends on what you mean by "best."  Ralph is a good person, but he's not a good leader.  Jack is good at getting people to do what he wants, but he's evil.  So which way do you go?  I'd go with Ralph because I'd rather have a weak leader who is good than a Hitler type.

mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As an allegory, Lord of the Flies has characters who represent different aspects of humanity.  Thus, no one character fulfills the role of leader, and as post #3 indicates, a civil society requires all to work together if the "darkness in men's hearts" is to be controlled--like Roger's arm that has been conditioned by society to not hurt anyone.

qasenior | Student

i agree with post # 3 

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