Leadership qualities of Odysseus throughout the book.

Topics: Odyssey, Leadership, Homer Pages: 3 (974 words) Published: May 24, 2003
Odyssey Essay


Ross Johnson

Throughout the Odyssey, the lead character, Odysseus, is presented as the ideal Greek leader. He demonstrates this through the treatment of his men and how he deals with problems that are presented to him. Because the Odyssey was first a spoken myth, it took on the shape of the society in which it was told. Including that society's moral and ethical values, as well as its desires in the traits of a leader. A leader must first be defined, then set apart from other potential leaders, then the leader must be tested through his actions, only then can a definite leader be defined.

First, one must define the ideal Greek leader. An ideal Greek leader commands the respect of those being led, but also gives respect. He must be intelligent and cunning, and able to think logically with the intentions of keeping the well being of those under him. Reverence to the gods is mandatory, as they are viewed as the supreme leaders. An ideal leader must have an ability to lead a military victoriously, but also know when military action is not necessary. There are many other traits that the ideal Greek leader must possess, but none are as important as those that have been listed.

Another way of proving Odysseus as the ideal leader is by contrasting him with other leaders. Two other characters in the book that could be considered character foils are Antinoos and Alkinoos, two very different leaders. Alkinoos, King of the Phaeacians, is presented as leader who is open to outsiders, another trait that is revered in ancient Greek culture. When he provides the hospitality to Odysseus, he shows his welcoming manner by not only allowing Odysseus to stay as his guest, but also taking him back to Ithaca. "When you came here to my strong home, Odysseus, under my tall roof, headwinds were left behind you. Clear sailing shall you have now, homeward now..." (XIII, 4-7) Alkinoos can be considered a foil that shows what Homer viewed as a good...
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