Ms. Tiffany Griffith
25 September 2013
Odysseus: A good leader The Odyssey of Homer is a book about a hero and his adventures in his journey home. In this paper, we will discuss about some heroic characters and the leadership skill of Odysseus. To be a good leader, a person should be decisive, cunning, brave, deductive and compassionate. I will discuss why I believe Odysseus as a good leader. First of all, we will discuss about Odysseus’s decisive manner. During his journey, Calypso and Circe try to persuade him to live with them but he avoids both of them. (Homer 170). He has wife and the land he loves, and he has decision to reach back to his own land. The author writes Odysseus decisive manner as, “ They never could persuade the soul within my breast”. (Homer 170). When Odysseus and his men reach Circe’s place, he gathered his men and says “ despite your lone ordeal, do hear me out: my friends; we’ve lost all sense of where we are; this island may lie east, it may lie west-where sun, which brings men light, sinks to its rest or where it’s born again. Let’s try at once to see if we can find some better course”. (Homeromerhooo 197). We can see from his words that he tried to urge his men not to be depressed and to try again even they lost their way home. He believes in his heart that one day he will reach back to his home Aung 2 and he has no will to relinquish that belief. He will never give up until he reaches his home and this shows his decisive manner too. When Odysseus reaches back to his home and faced with Eurymachus, Eurymachus persuades him that he would give all his wealth but Odyssey replies “Eurymachus, were you to shower me with all the riches you inherited-and add whatever other gods you can- not even then would I restrain my hands from slaughter till you’ve paid the price in full for all your arrogance. The choice is yours: to fight me face to face, or else to flee – though I do not believe that any can escape that steep decent”. (Homer 439). This quote shows that he decided to slaughter Eurymachus for what he does and the death is the only way for Eurymachus. Odysseus never thinks to be wealthy and his only goal is to defeat sinner. This shows his decisive manner. Odysseus also killed Leiodes although he pleads for mercy .Odysseus said,“ You would have had my wife choose you and bear your brats. And that is why you won’t escape a death that terrifies”. (Homer 448). We can easily see that this is very big sin for living with other people’s wife and there is no way to escape for Leiodes . If he says he will kill someone, that man is sure to be dead. A good leader should be cunning to escape from some difficult situation he has to face. When Odysseus and his comrades were trapped in the Cyclope’s cave, they were eaten one by one and they have no way to escape from the cave. When Cyclops asks Odyssey his name, he says“ Cyclops, you ask me for my noted name: I’ll tell it to you if in recompense you keep your promise and I get that present,. My name is No-one-: No-one –so I’m called by my mother and my father, and all my comrades”.(Homer 180). He knows that Cyclops is knavish and it will not let all of them to go. So if they do something to defend themselves, Cyclops will ask help from his neighbors and they all will be in trouble. He foresees the fate of his group if he tells the true Aung 3 name and thus he lies to Cyclops. We can see in story that his thought is true at later time. Cyclops breaks his promise and plans to eat all of them. They made Cyclopes to be blind and when Cyclops asks for help, he can only say “no-one did” and it becomes good trick because no one is the best name to disguise someone’s identity. When they plan to run out of the cave, Odysseus knows that they can’t escape from Cyclops if they go without protection. He gets cunning idea how to escape from the cave and that is using sheep of Cyclops.( Homer 182). Cyclops will never think that Odysseus and his men will be beneath the bellies of sheep. Al last they escape from the Cyclops cave because of Odysseus’s cunning brain. For a person to be a good leader, he should be brave and should show sacrifice for his comrades. We can see that kind of quality in Odysseus. He is not egotistic and never thinks for his own benefit especially faced with some problems. When his men are trapped in Circe’s house, he follows to save his men even Eurylochus implores him not to go. He replies “Eurylochus, you can stay here and eat and drink beside the hollow black ship: I must go, however: I cannot forgo a task so necessary- this I owe”.(Homer 199). He knows that it is dangerous for him to go and save his men but as a responsible leader, he decides to save people. His speech shows his courage and sacrifice for his people. He also shows his sacrifice while he was in Cyclops cave. He binds three sheep for one comrade but for him, he only uses one sheep. He only emphasizes for the safety of his comrades and doesn’t think for him. The writer wrote about that as “ Three sheep for each of them, but I instead picked out the largest ram”.(Homer 182). The writer didn’t say directly about Odysseus courage and his sacrifice but we can easily see his courage. Aung 4 The deductive quality is the most important quality for a good leader. In Ismarus, he foresees the danger of inland Cicones and warns his men to hurry back to the shore to avoid the danger. But his men don’t follow his advice and at last they are killed by Cicones.( Homer 170). However as a leader, he knows the fate and warns his men. This shows his deductive quality as a leader. In the “lotus-eaters” land, three of his men eat lotus fruit and don’t even remember to turn back to their ships. In that situation, he doesn’t leave his men and forces them back to the ship because as a leader, he doesn’t want to lose anyone from his group. When he reaches near the Cyclops’ place, he first tries to make sure that the place is safe for them by going to the place with some of his comrades. He has cautious mind and he knows that there might be some dangers according to his experience. The author writes, “ My faithful comrades, wait for me: I’ll take my ship and crew to see who these may be- are they unfeeling people, wild, unjust, or do they welcome strangers, does their thought include fear of gods?”(Homer 174). If he doesn’t care and takes all his men to Cyclops’ cave, it will be a big trouble. Odysseus always think what can happen and the effect of thing what he does. In Cyclops’ cave, he tries to kill the giant while the giant falls asleep but he judges the effect of killing that giant. They will not be able to move the massive stone that blocks the exit way and only the giant can move that stone. Author writes “ But then I stopped, held back by second thoughts. His death, in fact, would doom us all: our hands would never have been able to shove back the massive stone he’d set in the high entrance. So, as we sighed, we waited for bright Dawn”.( Homer 178). A good leader should have compassion for his men. When they sail to their home from Aeolia, Odysseus’s comrades think he gets presents from Aeolus and he will take all of those without giving their quota. His comrades decide to open the sack, and as soon as they open the Aung 5 sack, hurricane comes out and whirls all of them away from their own land. When he knows the situation, he doesn’t get angry to his men and doesn’t blame for opening the sack. ( Homer 192).In his mind, they are his comrades and they fight together to be alive along their journey home and he doesn’t want to blame them. He values their faithfulness and knows the nature of human beings. I am sure his decision is right and that benefits along his way to home. Author writes the feeling of Odysseus as” should I leap off from the deck and die, or should I keep silent and stay among the living. But I did not yield: I stayed, covered my face and lay along the deck”. (Homer192). This passage clearly shows his compassion for his comrades. This passage shows the feeling of Odysseus during that moment and his compassion for his men. As a human being, sometimes he is cruel but we can’t say he doesn’t have kind heart and behave like normal people. Sometimes he misses his home and his own land. His words “ if a man is far from his own home and parents, then even if he is housed in opulence within that foreign land, no thing he finds can be more sweet than what he felt behind”.(Homer 170). By seeing not only his actions and decisions to escape from difficult situation but also his courage and sacrifice for his comrades, we can conclude that Odysseus is the good leader. He is always the pioneer for all his comrades. He shows his leadership skill in anywhere and any situation along his journey and I am sure Odysseus is a great good leader.
Aung 6 Work cited :
Homer. The Odyssey . New York : Bantam Dell , 1990 . Print .