Looking at Odysseus's actions in books 9–12, was he a bad leader and in what ways?

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When examining Odysseus's actions in books 9–11, we should remember first of all that he is telling the story of his own exploits to the Phaeacians. We can discount the possibility of his belittling his own role through modesty. Modesty about one's own accomplishments was barely even a concept in Homeric Greece and is certainly not an attribute of Odysseus. However, there is a strong possibility of his heightening the conflict and exaggerating the circumstances for dramatic effect.

The battle at Ismarus in book 9 shows Odysseus as a wise leader but not a strong one. This is a pattern throughout the Odyssey . Odysseus is right, but his men disobey him anyway, with a mutinous attitude that eventually leads to their deaths in book 11. Odysseus is constantly portrayed as better suited to being an adviser and counselor than a leader in his own right. This is shown again in the episode of the "bag of winds" in Book 10. Odysseus is in the right, but he cannot command the obedience of his men,...

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