Theme Of Rivalry In Richard Adams Watership Down

1110 Words 5 Pages
The success of any group is determined by those who lead it. In Richard Adams’ Watership Down, a band of rabbits led by Hazel leave their warren when one of them, Hazel’s little brother Fiver, feels that some sort of danger is imminent. They encounter several struggles before they settle down and create the Watership warren. An attempt to extract does from another warren called Efrafa, lead by the fierce General Woundwort, starts a rivalry between the two groups. Hazel and Woundwort are different types of leaders, where Woundwort is aggressive and controlling, Hazel is well-liked and humble.
Hazel and Woundwort became leaders in different ways. After meeting Kehaar, a seagull that the rabbits found injured, they discuss the future of the warren,
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While looking for a new place to live, the rabbits encounter a peculiar rabbit called Cowslip, and he convinces them to come to his warren. Here, Hazel asks another rabbit if Cowslip is their Chief Rabbit. Rather than answering, the rabbit turns the question on Hazel, asking if he is a Chief Rabbit, and Hazel hesitates to respond. “If he replied that he was, his new friends might address him so for the future” (75). Later, when Holly, Silver, and a few others leave to look for does, and the rabbits prepare for their return. Hazel feels energetic and wants to go on an adventure while Holly and the others take one of their own. “Their Chief Rabbit was up to anything that they were up to” (198). Hazel doesn’t want his friends to view him as their leader, but as an equal. He doesn’t want them to treat him differently because in his mind, nothing has changed since they left Sandleford. He believes they function as a group of friends, without a distinct leader. He is also willing to do anything his friends will do. He does not prioritize his life over others simply because he is the leader. On the other hand, General Woundwort always looks for more power. After Woundwort became Chief Rabbit, his violence only worsened, causing him to become even more power-hungry. “When he had explored the limits of his own strength, he set to work to satisfy his longing for still more power” (305). Woundwort has remained angered by the loss of his mother and family. Due to his loss, he is violent with most other animals, even of his own kind. He does this in Efrafa by controlling his rabbits and enforcing strict rules. Hazel is an equal to his rabbits, while Woundwort looks to exert control at any

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