The Prince vs Dead Poets Society: Compare & Contrast
Leadership is the aptitude to direct or control people, but there are many more dimensions of leadership beyond this generalized conception. There are several ways to just guide or direct. A leader is an important person whose qualities help to steer a group of people in a way they consider is advantageous. Leadership and power are not identical things. The key dissimilarity lies in the foundation of influence. Only being in the responsibility for something does not entitle one as a leader. Certain qualities must be present in a personality to suit the character of a first-class leader. In other words, it requires the leader to be completely dedicated to his position. Groups can sense the genuineness and would like to be directed by a genuine person. The veteran author Northouse opines, “Leadership is a process whereby individual influence on a group of individuals to achieve a common goal” (Northouse, 3). Leadership necessitates a mutual association and making such rapport cannot be counterfeited by the utilization of plain command. Different mediums of public communication such as philosophy, literature, movies, and books have held up the varied notions and the techniques of leadership from time to time.
Many intellectual exponents have propounded the established or traditional notions of leadership previously. The oratory skills are closely associated with the idea of a well-balanced and influential leadership. The great philosopher Aristotle puts forward this theme of rhetoric power in his well-known philosophical work, Rhetoric. Aristotle vividly describes the power of a good and channeled rhetoric that can empower a speaker with immense hypnotizing effect to mesmerize the audience. Without any hesitation, Aristotle opines that a skilled orator can misuse the power of rhetoric. He also tells that it is simple to convince the audience with just and good factors than that of the opposites of them. Aristotle rightly speaks in his book that “… some speakers succeed through practice and other spontaneously” (Aristotle, 3). However, in modern-day’s context, it might not be correct to say that the audience can be fooled so easily. The mass media play a significant role to empower the general people with sufficient wisdom to counter the preconceived political and social thoughts.
Another significant and famous theory of leadership emerges from Machiavelli’s The Prince. Machiavelli has many perspectives on how to manage a republic. The book has been divided into three books with distinct themes. At first, Machiavelli describes the interior shape of the republic. After this commentary, he justifies the issue of warfare. Ultimately, he resorts to the theme of The Prince that reflects the theme of individual leadership. The uniqueness of The Prince rests on its primary objective and practical approach. Machiavelli makes an observation about the real conduct of political leaders and he also narrates whether or not they truly obtain the actual results they want to achieve. He then applies these conditions as a foundation of the pragmatic proposal, and these recommendations often act against the general notion of morality. However, in The Prince, his special focus propounds the negation of the peer influence that contributes to the making of a royal leader. He says, “Principalities are either hereditary in which the family has been long established, or they are new.” (Machiavelli, 21). Machiavelli stresses on individual emergence of a true leader with his spontaneity. He wants a true leader, without any prior influence and with the fresh principles on which a nation can move forward with the new ardor of development. The pre-conceived concepts of leadership are deconstructed by the author himself here. He criticizes the stagnancy of a society that goes on the wheels of age-old policies.
Two different techniques of leadership have been presented in the film Dead Poets Society. It illustrates the way in which people respond to each approach and the penalty to be incurred in the process. Mr. Keating’s (Robin Williams) leadership advancement crafts a well-built union with the students and authorizes them to be triumphant in their own ways. In Mr. Keating’s class, the students are encouraged to reflect on themselves. Keating’s knowledge of vocabulary and teaching procedures guides each student to connect with him at an individual level and experience a feeling of faith. Faith is the innate response of concern, honor, thoughtfulness, and equality. Leadership here engages in the building of team uniqueness and provides the crowd with achievable goals and at a similar point, the leader upholds them to lofty prospects. The Welton Academy is filled with several systems. It comprises the systems of rewards, such as approval into the Ivy League, and penalties, such as removal from the institution or paddling, which are planned to drive the students and maintain the respected rank of the institute. The iconoclastic approach of Keating, in this movie thoroughly manifests a fresh thought about leadership that propels the followers to think in fresh ways and break the old schools of ideas.
In the movie Twelve Angry Men, the theme of leadership has been described by two split characteristics. It portrays those people who are chosen as the leaders and also those who have no unique or significant title. In this movie Twelve Angry Men, Henry Fonda depicts a personality that achieves admiration from others for emerging as a leader. Besides holding leadership capabilities, his proceedings also resulted in standard techniques of communication. This movie strongly upholds the notion of leadership as a unique quality that can emerge from anyone, irrespective of his or her classes. The age-old class-consciousness is challenged in this movie. It is shown that a leader can even emerge from the deplorable life of a proletariat. The qualities to direct the mass with hope and actions to their redemption from morbidities of life are ultimately the sole element of a true leader.
The above discussion shows how the conventional leadership approaches and values associated with them have given way to new ones. The first notion of the leader of being always right does not hold in the context of modern times because communication, exchange of ideas, transparency, and team spirit are the new pillars of leadership. It is not always true in the present context that a leader would always know the best for the organization and others should follow him without queries. Aristotle’s idea of a mesmerizing leader and Machiavelli’s concept of a royal leader has been deconstructed gradually to give birth to the importance of organizational leadership which survives on the basis of the above-mentioned tenets.
Northouse, Peter, G. Leadership: Theory and Practice. London, UK: SAGE. 2009.
Machiavelli, Niccolo. The Prince. : Plain Label Books. 1938.
Aristotle. Rhetoric. Kansas, USA: Digireads.com. 2005.
Dead Poets Society. Weir, Peter (director), Williams, Robin, Hawke, Ethan, Charles, Josh (performers), USA: Touchstone Production, 1989.
Twelve Angry Men. Lumet, Sidney (director) Fiedler, John, Fonda, Henry, Cobb, Lee J., Begley, Ed Sr., Marshall, E.G., Klugman, Jack, Warden (performers), New York: Orion Nova Production, 1957.