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Regardless of the different settings and contexts, Ransom and Invictus suggest that there are universal qualities that outline successful leadership. Malouf and Eastwood depict societies on the brink. Moreover, from these societies, emerge leaders who can challenge expectations and demonstrate empathy with those who are on the other side of the spectrum; this is achieved at great personal cost. Both authors suggest leaders should have a strong sense of their own identities before they can effectively lead others.

Despite the accouterments of power, the burdens of leadership are shown to extract a high personal toll in both texts; Ransom and Invictus depict leaders who are weighed down by the roles and responsibilities of their nation, sacrificing their relationships to fulfill their obligations. In Ransom, Priam embodies Troy itself. His body is a “living map” of his realm, Priam mourns for his ‘kingdom ravaged and threatened with extinction’. As deeply as he mourns the death of his most favoured son Hector who was savagely killed by their rival Achilles. In this context, it is Priam’s responsibility to remain adamant in means of maintaining the dignity of his city and to live in the ‘royal sphere’, a representational world that eschews individuality to the extent that even the relationship with his children is almost exclusively ceremonial. The result of this is an isolated figure, bound to enact a role defined by fate and unable to shape his legacy.

Likewise, Invictus’s President Mandela is committed to his nation more than to his own family, when asked about his family he responds curtly, “I have a very big family, forty-two million people”. Mandela admonishes his daughter for her criticism of his absence, saying, “You seek to only address your feelings this is selfish thinking”. Like Priam President Mandela is estranged and isolated despite his constant public appearances and meetings. Unlike Priam, Mandela never doubts his ability to be a ‘master of his fate’. The film portrays President Mandela as being in constant motion, determined to personally interact with as many people as possible. This contrast to Priam reflects the democratic capabilities of the modern era, President Mandela’s dismissal of these concerns reflects his belief in his power to shape events through sheer force of will. President Mandela derives strength from the certainty of his purpose, something that Priam lacks for much of the novel, yet they have in common the personal sacrifices that are required to carry the different burdens of their leadership.

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In both texts, leadership requires inspiring others and challenging expectations. In doing so, these leaders demonstrate the ability of people to determine their legacy. Priam’s closest advisors are concerned for his ‘royal image’. Moreover, for the chaos to which his sudden humanistic approach could lead. Achilles is unsettled but more so inspired by priams ‘unprecedented’ act, this act provides Achilles with the restoration he requires. For Priam, his actions challenge the fate that has been set for him, by the end of the text he has transformed from a ‘ceremonial figure’ into a ‘man remade’ who has determined his legacy. In addition, in the process inspired others too.

While in Invictus President Mandela’s colleagues are concerned about his support for the Springboks and it may harm Mandela’s presidential identity, when Brenda warns Mandela not to intervene in the sports committee’s decision to strip the Springboks of their name, she says it will risk the party and their people, but Mandela’s response to her concerns is unequivocal “in this instance the people are wrong, and it is my job as elected leader to make them see that. “President Mandela is willing to challenge his people’s beliefs for the great of the nation. This inspires François the captain of the Springboks to aim higher, win the World Cup for South Africa, and embrace President Mandela’s beleifs.Francis’s reaction embodies President Mandela’s philosophy of leadership to inspire others to be “better than they think they can be”.

In the deeply divided settings of both texts, leaders who act with empathy and appeal to the universal nature of the human experience can reconcile opposing do this leaders must be sure of their own identity and have an appreciation of what these shared human experiences are.

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