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Charisma and Wisdom in Red Dead Redemption 2

This post contains some Red Dead Redemption 2 spoilers. You have been warned.


My horse was galloping as fast as it could while I dodged bullets flying past me. If my heart pumped any faster it would pop out of my chest, but I couldn’t stop running. The law was after me, and for good reason. I had just killed several innocent people in the process of rescuing a fellow gang member from jail in a town called Strawberry, which I had left in a bloody mess.

The way of the outlaw in the Old West is the way of violence. It’s this violence that Arthur Morgan, the main character, begins to question and think about more as you progress in Red Dead Redemption 2.

Dutch reminds me of a lot of leaders who want to inspire and lead others but don’t have the proper vision and foundation to do so.

As the stakes get higher and more life-threatening, decisions are made where Arthur is stuck doing the dirty work for his gang’s leader, Dutch van der Linde. This picks away at Arthur little by little, evidenced by little comments he makes here and there, criticizing Dutch’s plans. He is still loyal and doesn’t have much choice since it’s for the benefit of the gang, but over time the plots that are put together seem more dangerous and non-sensible which puts Arthur’s life in danger.

Colm O’driscoll talking to Dutch

I have to give it to Dutch though because in the beginning, I too was hopeful in the orders of our charismatic leader, trusting his lead in dangerous situations that everything would work out and at the very least no one would be killed. He knew how to get people who had guns pointed at us to not shoot long enough to plan an escape (or use Dead Eye and eliminate them quickly). It was fun to see what story he would invent on the spot to save his friends. Eventually, though, plans didn’t go as Dutch imagined as he encountered individuals that were craftier, wealthier and more powerful.

In Chapter 4, there is a scene where Dutch drowns a man in a swamp at night by holding his head underwater. What happens next is even crueler, he kicks the lifeless body overboard to a hungry alligator. His crew observing the horrific murder were disgusted and questioned this display. Dutch replies, “it was us or him, I figure it might as well be him”.

At this point, Arthur and the other men of the gang begin to doubt Dutch’s sanity and if his usual schemes are actually going to work. This is the point where I began to lose confidence in Dutch and even felt a little ignorant for not doing so sooner. Dutch is not a leader led by righteous convictions, he’s full of charisma but not much else.

Like when the gang lost a large amount of money in a town called Blackwater, Dutch suggests they go and get it back. Everyone refuses since they are all wanted there and a shootout will occur the moment they arrive. Such decisions not only demonstrate faulty judgement, but disregard for human life.

Dutch’s choices are not made with wisdom but with the first things that come to his mind. Wisdom is defined as “the soundness of an action or decision with regard to the application of experience, knowledge, and good judgment”. If you are doing something with good judgement, then you wouldn’t be involved in illegal activity.

Arthur Morgan defying Dutch’s orders to kill for revenge.

My primary source of wisdom has always been the Bible, and learning from those that have also gleaned understanding from it. There are many verses that speak on this topic, like this one from the book of Proverbs:

The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.

When making a decision, it can be easy when it’s a “right or wrong” choice to make. The difficult decisions present us with more than one good choice to make, or something that isn’t patently wrong but could change your life. For example, choosing the right college, spouse, career, or place to live. We have to ask God to help us so we don’t go down the wrong path.

Dutch reminds me of a lot of leaders who want to inspire and lead others but don’t have the proper vision and foundation to do so. In his mind, he’s looking out for his family (his gang) and making sure they can live a peaceful life without any trials. Unfortunately, you cannot live in peace after causing so much pain to others as he does along with the rest of the crew. You reap what you sow in real life, even in RDR2.

If you are a leader, or aspiring to have some form of leadership position, let me give you some advice. Learn from Dutch and don’t focus on your charisma and ear-tickling words. Seek wisdom and focus on serving others rather than being being liked or admired by them.



Michael is a child of God, husband, teacher, business owner, anime lover and a life long gamer. When not conquering distant world's via console, he can be found reading, watching anime or Netflix, writing, or just enjoying life as a geek in the city of Miami. He aspires to travel to Japan and possibly...never leave.

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