In Lord of the Flies, when a group of young boys are stranded on an island and left their own devices, a leader must be chosen. What separates a good leader is someone who cares for the greater good of the group and their well being rather than just caring about themselves. Some of the boys are better leaders than others and through characterization we see who is most capable of being chief. Ralph is the most qualified leader on the island because of his leadership skills, his talent of obtaining order, his unwillingness to let his id take over, and his democratic traditions.
Ralphs leadership skills are what gets the boys support and motivates them towards a common goal. Shortly after all the children find each other Ralphs first instinct is that the island should choose a leader. The boys hold an election and because of Ralphs charisma and prestige they elect him. While the other boys are interested in playing and having fun on the island, Ralph is thinking about ways to stay alive and get rescued. Ralph displays his leadership skills through his speeches and presence in front of an audience; he holds a meeting in which he proposes a signal fire and creates a new goal for the island, which is to keep the smoke signal going: A fire! Make a fire, [the boys shouted]. At once half the boys were on their feet (38).
By setting rules and boundaries, Ralph creates order and peace on the island like a true leader. Using the conch, which first helped unify all the boys together, Ralph creates a method of organization. He forms a rule that only the person holding the conch, a symbol of order, has the right to speak and may not be interrupted, thus giving limitations to the people. He also enforces rules to help keep the fire burning, which he believes is their only means of being rescued. In order to keep the island tidy, Ralph creates specific areas to go to the bathroom, keep potable water, build shelters, etc. Ralph knows that in order to maintain a civilized society there must be restrictions and laws: We ought to have more rules (42).
Ralph is an excellent idol and leader of the island because of his morality and civilized actions during a time of anarchy. As the other boys on the island begin to form their own government, one full of destruction and chaos, Ralph prefers to maintain his moral and educated characteristics. On their island without parents or police enforcement, the other children begin to lose their humane personas and become primitive, letting their id take over, however, Ralph continues to carry out plans and think with a conscience. When the children on the island loose all control and kill one of the boys Ralph is the only who has a sense of civilization and can realistically evaluate their actions for what it is: That was murder (156). While the other boys on the island loose all conditioning, Ralph remains civilized and preserves his ego.
Ralphs characteristics and form of government represents the most fair and pure rule, democracy. He holds a government is which all people take action in political activities; before any decision is made Ralph gives all the boys a chance to give their opinions and be part of the decision-making. Just like in all democratic systems, Ralph offers everybody freedom and equality. Ralphs characteristics of morality, leadership and organization are all major qualities of a democratic ruler. When Ralph sees the Lord of the Flies, a sows skull on a stake, he knocks it down and breaks it into pieces. The smashing of the sows skull symbolizes Ralphs disgust towards totalitarianism and savagery. Instead of the harshness of a military based society Ralph prefers a peaceful society in which all citizens have a voice.
When it comes to the greater good of civilization and having a fair administration, Ralph is the best leader on the island. His leadership skills, organizational skills, moral principles, and other democratic character traits are all crucial for a chief to have. Ralph wants what is best for the island and makes sure to get it in a diplomatic way. Through his speaking skills and organization, Ralph can persuade well and have great influence over his people. Ralph is the most excellent leader on the island and represents the finest form of government.
Lord of the Flies by William Golding