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What passage in The Odyssey by Homer gives a lot of detail about Odysseus’ leadership...

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ltacher | Student, Undergraduate | Honors

Posted July 27, 2013 at 4:25 PM via web

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What passage in The Odyssey by Homer gives a lot of detail about Odysseus’ leadership style, and what is an analysis of his leadership style?

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akannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted July 28, 2013 at 2:14 AM (Answer #1)

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One of the best examples of Odysseus' leadership can be seen in an unexpected situation.  In Book XIX, Odysseus has returned to his home as a beggar.  He hears of his wife's loyalty and sees his son's growth and recognizes his home.  While returning home has been his mission throughout, he recognizes the plan he must follow of not revealing his identity yet.  Odysseus displays leadership with his adherence to this plan, not succumbing to that which is weaker because of his own self- interested desires.  

However, the real leadership comes when he provides solace to Penelope.  In a rather emotional scene, Odysseus, the husband, speaks to his wife in a stoic and leader-like way.  He recognizes the emotions that she is enduring and understands what this triggers in his own mind and heart.  Yet, Odysseus' leadership is on display as he provides comfort to her and a sense of affirmation in being able to endure and persevere, with eventual triumph ahead:

Honored wife of Odysseus, son of Laertes, mar not now thy fair face any more, nor waste thy heart at all in weeping for thy husband...Yet do thou cease from weeping, and hearken to my words; for I will tell thee with sure truth, and will hide nothing, ow but lately I heard of the return of Odysseus, that he is near at hand in the rich land of the Thesprotians, and yet alive, and he is bringing with him many rich treasures, as he begs through the land.

Odysseus tells her to "mar not now thy fair face nor waste thy heart at all in weeping" as well as "hearken to my words for I will tell thee with sure truth," represent Odysseus' leadership style of inspiring comfort and confidence.  Normally demonstrating this leadership position with his men, Odysseus assumes leadership in the domestic realm with his wife.  Continually reminding her that her husband is "near at hand" and "yet alive," is reflective of how Odysseus' leadership inspires support for a plan that might not be fully known but that Odysseus believes in.  His confidence is what inspires and his giving this confidence to Penelope is both tender and reflective of his leadership.

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