Comparative Essay Ransom And On The Waterfront Year 11 Essay

943 words - 4 pages

A true leader is born when they understand themselves. How does Ransom and On The Waterfront explore this?
Leadership often highlights how characters get to where they are by embracing their own values. In the novel ‘Ransom’, written by David Malouf, which takes place during the Trojan War as described in the Illiad, Malouf demonstrates how the king of Troy, Priam, transgresses and becomes more aware of what he is meant to do through recognition of what is necessary, as shown when he takes upon himself to get his son’s body back. In comparison, Elia Kazan’s film, ‘On the Waterfront’, explores the conflicts faced by ex-prize fighter, Terry Malloy, as he learns that he needs to fight for what is right, in order to prove a point to those around him. Although these stories are set in separate places and periods of time, both explore how one, to be a true selfless leader, should be able to stand up for what they believe against all odds. However, while ‘Ransom’ and ‘On the Waterfront’ show how characters embrace themselves and take action, both also exposes how the reverse isn’t true, where characters that have come into power their own way can be in conflict with their own followers, which can lead to disapproval and even rejection.
By being able to fight for their goals they believe in, one shows a sign of confidence and morality, setting them up to be a figurehead for change. Ransom and Invictus both show how the power of self-awareness can drive an individual’s will further to achieve what they want. The death of Hector in the first scenes of ‘Ransom’ presents Priam a chance to carry out the treacherous task of ransoming his son’s body without assistance, reflecting the nature of justice. Although a king and a beloved one at that, Priam recognises the futility of just being a ‘ceremonial figurehead’, ‘to others, great Priam. But only because they have never really looked at [him]’. A similar uncertainty in what one is supposed to do is demonstrated in Kazan’s film, ‘On The Waterfront’, with its opening scene showing Terry shocked at the fact that a man has just been murdered, a death that he played a part in unwillingly. Kazan presents Terry’s distress through a medium shot of him and his _____ , which contrasts how shell-shocked Terry is, who says very few words during the aftermath of Joey’s death, considering that ‘he wasn’t a bad kid, that Joey’, to the casual behaviour of Johnny Friendly’s men, who laugh at Joey being a ‘canary’. This scene provides viewers with information that hints at how Terry is not comfortable with being one of Johnny’s men, his values in conflict especially when his brother Charley totally submits himself to Friendly. In addition, Malouf details how after Pr...

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