The Odyssey by Homer

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Is Odysseus A Good Leader

In The Odyssey, was Odysseus a good leader?

Was Odysseus a good leader and in what way(s)?

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Jennings Williamson eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Yes, Odysseus is a good leader. When some of his men eat the lotus fruit and no longer wish to return home, Odysseus refuses to leave the island without them. He goes to shore, finds them, and makes them to return to the ship, physically forcing them. He knows in their hearts that they want to return to their families in Ithaca as much as he does, and so he refuses to listen to their protests that they want to remain where they are.

Further, when the ship must pass by Scylla, the six-headed beast that eats sailors from off their ships as they pass by, Odysseus doesn't hide below decks. He doesn't tell his men about the danger, and so he could go down below and protect himself without them even realizing. But he takes his chances, throwing in his lot with the rest of his crew.

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In The Odyssey, Odysseus proves to be a good leader:

He is a prime example of a Homeric Hero – he exhibits ... moral responsibility in his actions throughout the epic, ...

First, Odysseus decides to go to war with the Greeks even though he does not want to leave his wife and son. Being the good leader he is, he puts aside his personal desires and unselfishly gives himself to warfare for his country.   

During war with Troy, he is brilliant in warfare. He comes up with the idea of the Trojan Horse. When the Trojans open their gates and bring in the Trojan Horse, Odysseus and the Greeks get inside the city of Troy. Odysseus leads his men to victory.

During his trip home from the war, Odysseus leads his men through many obstacles. He is fearless in the face of monsters and dangerous women such as Circe and Calypso. Odysseus never gives up in trying to keep his men safe. Although he loses men, he is devastated by the fact that he could not save all his men.

Odysseus had his flaws. He was prideful and even arrogant at times, but, in the end, he is humbled by his struggles and admits the gods have helped him through all of his struggles.

When Odysseus gets home, he wisely waits for the right time to attack the suitors. He advises his son Telemachus that there is a time to be angry. He adivises his son to be patient. All of these qualties are characteristics of a good leader.

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