Study Guide

Anabasis

by Alexis Saint-Léger Léger

Anabasis Characters

Characters Discussed (Great Characters in Literature)

The Leader

The Leader, the central character, an unidentified man. He is the speaker who recites in epic fashion the entirety of Anabasis. He is a nomad who symbolizes the legendary and frequent migratory movements on horseback westward from Asia, heroic travels that bring discovery and adventure and that culminate in the foundation of new civilizations. The Leader is an introspective man whose ancestry, physical traits, and age are not described. He is, in this way, the incarnation of humankind in action, struggling between the desire to create an organized society and the wish to depart in search of new lands. Ultimately, in canto 8, the Leader heeds the call to depart, yielding thus to the anabasis, humankind’s march, and to the deep-rooted restlessness of which he is a living example. At times, the Leader becomes preoccupied with the oppressive influences of death, but because of the somewhat mystical inspiration he receives in dreams and that encourages him to pursue adventure, his spiritual dimension leads him to affirm the power of life, and, consequently, the importance of not becoming immobile through the contemplation of death. This spiritual aspect of the Leader is the sole characteristic that is evoked. In essence, he reveals himself through his interior existence, his thoughts, and, especially, through the sometimes felt conflict between sedentary and nomadic ways of life. The Leader is an exceptional individual who at times...

(The entire section is 489 words.)