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The Roles Leaders and Followers Play in a Society

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“I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion.” – Alexander the Great. In a society, roles of leaders and followers are evident. The relationship between the leader of a group and their followers can be exploited to fulfill personal goals. As shown in examples of literature, in history, and in the quote by Alexander the Great, when a leader does not have the right mindset this can lead to negative outcomes. In both Arthur Miller’s The Crucible and William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, characters can be categorized into roles of leaders and followers, both because of the characters’ circumstances in the respective pieces and their natural human qualities. Not only do the characters with the qualities of a leader entice others to follow them, but they compete with others who share their qualities based on their different intentions. Characters that clearly show this dynamic include Jack and Abigail, Simon and John, and the Littluns and Abigail’s friends.

The primary example of a leader involves Jack in Lord of the Flies and Abigail in The Crucible. Both characters show the traits of a leader and assume their roles naturally, but later abuse the authority they gain in this capacity. This abuse is explored by the authors’ inclusion of Abigail’s and Jack’s tendency to mask their identities in order to manipulate their groups and further their own goals. An example of this is when “Jack challenges Ralph to join the hunt, and Ralph finally agrees to go simply to regain his position in the eyes of the group”. Ralph’s decision to join the group is made only to protect himself, yet it shows how much of an influence Jack has over the rest of the group. In addition, this proves the steps Jack is willing to take to feel as though he has an edge over everyone else. It is not only Jack who abuses his subordinates, though. Abigail is similarly manipulative in her approach to leading the group. The other members of either group tend to comply with their leader, and though Ralph tried to do his own thing at first he eventually succumbed to Jack’s leadership as well. Abigail’s intentions and actions may be seen as worse than Jack’s, though.

She uses scare tactics to get all of Salem on her side, which all stems from her lust for John Proctor, whereas Jack uses the Littluns and their young age to his advantage. Although Ralph’s approach to leadership would have certain benefits for the group, like the ability to use the conch shell in a positive way, Jack’s appears more preferable to the group. In continuation, another role that is represented in both Lord of the Flies and The Crucible is that of the lone wolf, someone who strays away from the group and acts upon their own intuition. Simon and John Proctor both fit this role, as both characters are not swayed by the perceived roles of Jack and Abigail. These two characters seem to fall outside of the realm of leaders and followers. Despite this being the case, Simon and John help to show how any one person can have as much power as people like Jack and Abigail do, either in obvious or innocuous power. These individuals stand out from the pack and do not fall victim to the mob mentalities of their peers. Simon and John both have an innate consciousness of the world around them.

This is made evident when Simon says, “What I mean is…maybe it’s only us” . Throughout the novel, Simon was the only one who was able to step back and look at the situation, realizing the truth that there was no monster. Even though Simon was most practical, the rest of the boys never paid attention to him. With regards to this comparison, John Proctor is similarly unwavering in his ability to use logic throughout The Crucible. John Proctor stands his ground blah……. that play into these distinct roles. In essence, the Littluns and Abigail’s friends are steadfast followers of those who lead them. Furthermore, their actions represent those of people who have fallen into coercion. During the Salem Witch Trials Abigail takes advantage of her friends…*example*. Her friends stay ardent in their support of her . With this example taken into account, the dynamics between leading and supporting characters can be described as toxic and manipulative.

The children gave him the same simple obedience that they had given to the man with the megaphones. The Littluns and Abigail’s friends bear much weight in the events that occur throughout their respective novels, while the leaders reap the benefits. The importance of responsibility is expressed in passages from Lord of the Flies and The Crucible. Since some people naturally assume a position of leadership, it is imperative to ensure that they will serve others in a manner that is selfless, unlike Jack and Abbey. The people who tend to follow the pack are much more likely to succumb to mob mentality with a selfish leader, as shown in both novels. Between both novels, one can compare the roles that Jack and Abigail, Simon and John, and the Littluns and Abigail’s friends played in terms of leading, following, or straying from the others.

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