Moral Leader Analysis

Topics: Morality, Ethics, Moral psychology Pages: 9 (3541 words) Published: April 24, 2013

How do you define a moral challenge? What is your definition of moral reasoning? What does moral leadership mean to you? These are the questions we were presented with at the beginning of this course. At the time, I had difficulty answering each one. I had never actually sat down and thought about any of these concepts before. I always felt that I had a solid idea of what leadership consisted of and what I considered to be moral but in answering those questions I realized, I did not. It took me quite a while to answer each and as I did I was still unsure of my response. As I look back at my answers to these questions from the first week of class, I realize how far my understanding of these concepts has come. I now understand that moral leadership requires an articulated and justified process to arrive at a moral decision. Moral leadership requires a solid reasoning process to end up at a just decision. I had never realized the importance of process in making a decision before. Prior to taking this class, I had assumed that most of the decisions leaders made came from their own ideas of morality and right and wrong. In order to more fully examine my newfound understanding of moral leadership, I chose to write about the play Major Barbara. I have always been interested in plays about social commentary and had wanted to read this work for quite some time. I think the theories involved in the work are extremely relevant to today’s politics and it gives an excellent example of how leaders with very different principles can make moral decisions and work together without sacrificing their own set of values. I found both the main characters in the work to be fine examples of moral leaders and the decisions they made to be excellent examples of moral leadership for current times but I really focused my analysis on the main character, Barbara. To fully explain my reasoning of why I found Barbara to be a moral leader and her decisions to be example of moral leadership, I will first give an overview of the play and the main actions involved. I will then analyze the play’s main character individually and compare her with characters in other works we have studied. Finally, I will relate the play to modern times and use the characters as an example of how leaders today can work together. Overview of Major Barbara

Major Barbara was written in 1905 by George Bernard Shaw and is set in London during the year 1906. The play focuses on the Undershaft family, an upper class British family with relations to the aristocracy. The father, Undershaft, is a self-made millionaire and the owner of a major munitions factory. He has been separated from his wife, Lady Britomart for many years and doesn’t know his three, now adult, children, Stephen, Barbara and Sarah. Both the girls are engaged and are planning to marry. It is Barbara and Sarah’s engagement that prompts their mother to have meeting with Undershaft in order to procure money for each girl’s marriage as their respective fiancés do not have adequate means to provide for them. Lady Britomart also seeks to have her son re-inherited. Undershaft has disinherited his son per the tradition of his occupation. All owners of the munitions factory have been foundlings; the owner must find and adopt a new foundling and train him to take over the business. Undershaft has not yet found a new owner and is seeking to find his replacement. Though Undershaft has been estranged from his family, he has provided for them financially over the years. Despite this, his children find his business morally reprehensible as he profits from warfare and the death of others. When the children meet their father he proudly proclaims his religion is profit. They believe him to be morally corrupt because he is a strong capitalist and lives by the creed that money and guns equal freedom and power. He thinks that the world’s most heinous crime is poverty and the only way to eradicate it is...
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