What qualities make someone a good leader? In Lord of the Flies who demonstrates this role of being a leader, and how is it being displayed? A leader is someone who has the ability to take control and charge of a group. A leader is there to guide, manage, and provide assistance to a group in a specific situation.

In William Golding’s novel, Lord of the Flies, the character of Ralph is a good leader.  He displays specific characteristics that define a good leader.

By possessing the ability to show initiative, responsibility, courage and determination on the island, transforms him into the remarkable leader he is. Without Ralph’s leadership skills, the boys may have not been able to survive during their time on the island.

Ralph as the leader on the island shows a lot of initiative. He takes a great deal of control and is usually the first to step up in a situation to benefit the safety of everyone on the island. “’You hunters! You can laugh! But I tell you smoke is more important than the pig, however often you kill one.

Do all of you see?’ He spread his arms wide and turned to the whole triangle. ‘We’ve got to make smoke up there – or die.’” (Golding, 86-87). This quote displays how Ralph is attempting to maintain order and civilized behavior.

By being the first to tell them what to do and by showing initiative and setting goals for the boys to follow, he prepares practical plans that will help the boys get rescued. He is trying to tell them what to do to help save them so they will not die. 

Ralph also shows an immense amount of initiative when most of the other boys are concerned with playing, having fun, and avoiding work. Ralph decides to build huts as a method of survival. For this reason, Ralph’s authority and power over the other boys are secure at the start of the novel.

This expresses how Ralph has this idea and stuck with it for the safety of himself, and the others on the island. Ralph is always on the lookout for opportunities and ideas to help the group get rescued. In chapter four Ralph and Piggy see a ship in the distance.

They run to the top of the hill to try and light the signal fire but it is too late and the ship had already passed. This shows how Ralph took the initiative to run all the way to the top of the hill, just to try and light the fire, so the boat will see it and rescue them. His main goal is to be rescued, and he tries to do many things to accomplish his goal.

The theme of chaos is demonstrated through the loss of control, power-struggle, and the fight for survival on the island. As a leader, Ralph possesses the quality of responsibility. “The storm broke. ‘Sit down!’, ‘Shut up!’, Take the conch!’, ‘Sod you!’, ‘Shut up!’ Ralph shouted.”(Golding, 96).

This quote demonstrates how Ralph takes control in tough situations, acts responsible, and tries to create a mini-society filled with laws to abide by. His ability to keep the other boys calm and protected allows all of the problems that the boys face to be easily resolved.

Ralph also takes the responsibility to set a strict set of appropriate rules for the boys on the island. These rules include using the designated toilet area and making sure that the signal fire never dies out, along with gathering an abundance of water and building shelters. At a point in the novel, the boys neglected these rules and there was a failure on the island.

Ralph arranges meetings to make sure everything is running smoothly on the island, along with assuring the safety of the boys. The kids fear the beasties and have nightmares regarding the beasties existence. Ralph has the idea that the kids should wait until the morning to climb the mountain because it will be difficult to destroy the monster at night. This shows the role of responsibility to ensure that everyone is safe and calm on the island.

The role of a good leader is displayed a number of times through Ralph’s courage and determination to be rescued, during his time on the island. He shows a great amount of courage and determination to be rescued, and survive. Ralph’s commitment to society and morality is strong, and all he wants to do is leave the island and go home.

This strength gives Ralph an ethical conquest at the end of the novel, when he throws the pig’s head to the ground to defend himself against Jack’s hunters. This shows the determination and courage that he uses to protect himself. In chapter six the boys reach a part of the island that they have never seen or visited before.

They reach a thin walkway that leads to a hill scattered with small caves. The boys are afraid to venture across the walkway and around the ledge of the hill, and Ralph’s sense of courage is shown when he volunteers to investigate the area alone.

As a leader, Ralph has to set an example for the boys on the island, and has to face many obstacles alone. This is why he has to show courage and determination in front of the kids to complete the obstacles. “Ralph wept for the end of innocence, the darkness of a man’s heart, and the fall through the air of a true, wise friend called Piggy.” (Golding, 225).

This quote concludes the novel and shows how Ralph is relieved and accomplishes his goal of being rescued, and how he reflected back on the memories on the island, the memories of his good friend Piggy. He should have been happy but instead, he was thinking about all the evil that persists in all people.

To conclude that Ralph is indeed a superior leader in the novel Lord of the Flies, he was able to possess the ability to show initiative, responsibility, courage and determination on the island.

These characteristics all make him the great leader he is. He is able to take control and charge of a group, and he is there to guide and manage the group in many difficult situations. Ralph should recognize his contribution to the island, and how he made a great impact. Without him, the children on the island may have not been rescued.

author avatar
William Anderson (Schoolworkhelper Editorial Team)
William completed his Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts in 2013. He current serves as a lecturer, tutor and freelance writer. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, walking his dog and parasailing. Article last reviewed: 2022 | St. Rosemary Institution © 2010-2024 | Creative Commons 4.0


  1. Thnk you so much for creating this wonderful essay.

    I needed this for English class; and this really helped! Thank you again.

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