Why does Ralph fail as chief? (Answered)

Why does Ralph fail as chief

Why does Ralph fail as chief? William Golding’s novel “Lord of the Flies” explores the themes of power, leadership, and the inherent evil present in human nature. Ralph, the novel’s protagonist, is initially elected as the chief of the boys stranded on the island. However, as the story progresses, it becomes clear that Ralph cannot maintain his leadership position effectively. In this article, we will explore why Ralph fails as chief.

Why does Ralph fail as chief? (Answer)

Ralph’s hesitation at crucial moments proves too great a weakness for him to maintain his leadership position. Throughout the novel, Ralph struggles to make decisions and take action when faced with difficult situations. For example, when Jack and his followers steal Piggy’s glasses, Ralph is unsure what to do and ultimately decides to hold a meeting. This indecisiveness and lack of assertiveness make it difficult for Ralph to maintain control over the group.

Ralph is also ultimately ineffective as a leader because he is unwilling to use fear and violence to lead the boys. In contrast to Jack, who is willing to use fear and violence to control the boys, Ralph tries to lead through persuasion and democratic processes. However, as the boys become increasingly savage and violent, Ralph’s peaceful approach becomes less effective. Ralph’s inability to assert his authority and make difficult decisions ultimately leads to his downfall as chief.

In addition, Ralph’s leadership style is also undermined by the emergence of his rival, Jack. Jack is charismatic, bold, and willing to use violence to achieve his goals. He quickly gains a following, and his group becomes a rival power to Ralph’s. As Jack’s group becomes more powerful, Ralph’s authority is increasingly challenged, and he struggles to control the group.

What happened to Ralph as a leader?

As the leader of the boys stranded on the island, Ralph initially establishes a democratic system to maintain order and ensure their survival. However, as time passes, Ralph begins to lose his grip on leadership. His failure to effectively address the growing fear and chaos among the boys leads to a loss of confidence in his ability to protect them. Additionally, Ralph’s inability to prioritize their immediate needs and focus on building shelters instead of hunting, like Jack’s faction, causes further division and undermines his leadership. Ultimately, Ralph’s failure to maintain control over the group results in his loss of democratic power and descent into a hunted outcast fighting for survival against Jack’s savage tribe.

What does Ralph realize about being an effective chief?

Ralph realizes that being an effective chief requires thinking and wisdom. He understands the importance of thought and how it can lead to tangible results. However, he also becomes aware of his limitations in this aspect, admitting that he cannot think as effectively as a chief should. This realization highlights Ralph’s self-awareness and humility, acknowledging that there may be others who possess the necessary qualities to lead more effectively than him.

Why does Jack think Ralph is a bad chief?

Jack thinks Ralph is a bad chief because he believes that being a strong hunter should be the primary qualification for leadership. Jack challenges Ralph’s authority by arguing that his hunting skills make him better suited to lead the group. According to Jack, Ralph’s lack of hunting prowess undermines his ability to effectively govern the boys on the island. This disagreement highlights the contrasting priorities and values of Jack and Ralph, as Jack prioritizes survival skills while Ralph emphasizes order, organization, and maintaining a signal fire for potential rescue.

How does Ralph feel about being chief now?

At the beginning of Lord of the Flies, Ralph feels a sense of pride and excitement about being elected as the chief by the group of boys stranded on the deserted island. He understands that being chief comes with responsibilities but also gives him a sense of authority and control. Initially, Ralph is enthusiastic about establishing order, implementing rules, and organizing efforts to be rescued. However, as the novel progresses and tensions rise among the boys, Ralph becomes increasingly burdened by the weight of his leadership role. He begins to feel overwhelmed by the challenges he faces in maintaining order and guiding the group toward survival and rescue amidst growing chaos and savagery. Ultimately, Ralph’s feelings about being chief evolve from optimism to frustration as he realizes that his authority is gradually diminishing and Jack’s violent influence continuously undermines his efforts to uphold civilization.

What does Ralph want to control?

Ralph, the main protagonist in Lord of the Flies, wants to control two crucial aspects on the island: maintaining order and civility among the boys and keeping a signal fire lit in hopes of being rescued. He recognizes the importance of establishing rules and structures to ensure their survival and ultimately return to civilization. Ralph understands that without order and cooperation, chaos will prevail. Additionally, he understands that the signal fire serves as their lifeline, symbolizing hope for rescue and a return to normalcy. Thus, Ralph’s desire to control these elements reflects his commitment to maintaining a sense of humanity amidst their stranded situation.

Who is the antagonist in Lord of the Flies?

In Lord of the Flies, the antagonist is Jack Merridew. Initially presented as a charismatic and confident leader, Jack gradually descends into savagery and becomes the primary source of conflict on the island. Driven by his desire for power and control, Jack’s reckless actions and ruthless behavior lead to the deterioration of order and civilization among the group of boys stranded on the island. His manipulation, violence, and obsession with hunting ultimately threaten their survival, making him a formidable antagonist throughout the novel.


In conclusion, Ralph’s failure as chief is due to a combination of factors. His indecisiveness and lack of assertiveness make maintaining control over the group difficult. His unwillingness to use fear tactics and violence also undermines his authority as chief. Additionally, the emergence of Jack as a rival leader further weakens Ralph’s position. Ultimately, Ralph’s leadership style is not well-suited to the island’s challenging circumstances, and he cannot maintain his position of authority.

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