Odysseus' Negligent Leadership

Topics: Odyssey, Homer, Epic poetry Pages: 3 (835 words) Published: April 23, 2014
 Odysseus’ Negligent Leadership
       Throughout his reign as King of France, Louis XVI portrayed poor leadership. He was often considered indecisive, for this reason many of his men did not trust him. Louis XVI’s desire to expand France’s territory in order to acquire personal glory is comparable to Odysseus’ journey home to Ithaca in order to attain kleos. Not only were their goals similar but both Odysseus and Louis XVI’s men were killed in the process. In ancient Greece, Greeks had higher expectations for leaders than other mortals. Throughout the epic poem Homer characterizes Odysseus as a predominantly bad leader, because when comparing him to what Greeks valued in a leader, his actions contradicts those characteristics.        In ancient Greece, Greeks valued loyalty, hospitality, assertiveness, and responsibility in a leader.  Loyalty was incredibly important to the Greeks because their entire life structure was based upon loyalty to the gods; this was often displayed when gods disguised themselves in order to test mortals to see if they were truly loyal (Homer 6). In addition, xenia was very highly regarded in Greek culture (greekcare.org). Assertiveness was another very important characteristic, as it was important for leaders to be confident with their decisions (Lothar Katz). Responsibility was valued because a leader must have done and known what was best for their team, in order to lead them to greatness (Adkins 1961). Each of the above characteristics was considered important qualities in a Greek leader.      Throughout the epic poem, Odysseus portrays characteristics of a bad leader when he is not focused on his main goal of achieving kleos by returning to Ithaca. For example, after discovering the luxurious lifestyle that Circë lives, Odysseus and his men, “day after day [] stayed for one whole year” (Homer 206). By allowing his men and himself to stay and live in luxury for a whole year, he prolongs their return to Ithaca. This displays...
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