The Odyssey by Homer

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What are examples that demonstrate the good or bad leadership or decision-making abilities of Odysseus in The Odyssey?

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Odysseus is an epic hero, but he is flawed at times; therefore, he makes both wise and poor decisions throughout the poetry. Here are examples:

Wise decisions

  • One of the most telling examples of both the flaws and greatness of Odysseus is in Book IX. First of all, a storm sent by the god Zeus causes them to go off course for nine days, and Odysseus and his men end up at the island of the Lotus Eaters. After being given the intoxicating fruit, the men lose all desire to do anything but remain on the island and eat the fruit. Courageously, however, Odysseus drags his men one-by-one back to the ship and locks them up there. 
  • Once the men return to normal, they sail near the island of the Cyclops, "a rude and lawless folk." Odysseus and his men cannot see in the moonless night, and their ships are beached on a nearby island that is populated with wild goats. The next day, the men kill some goats for food. Odysseus tells his men that he will take some with him in order to discover who the...

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