A Leader is the Person who Leads or Commands a Group
A leader is defined as the person who leads or commands a group. This idea of being a leader is conveyed in The Odessey. In The Odessey, an epic poem written by Homer, it explains the main character, Odysseus’, adventure home to Ithaca from the Trojan war with his men. Odysseus came across many challenges during his exploit home. He came face to face with mystical creatures and the wrath of the gods. He took it as his job to get him and his men home safely and would do whatever it took. At home in Ithaca, Odysseus’ wife, Penelope, and his son, Telemachus’, think that Odysseus is dead and are faced with suitors moving into their house to try and take Penelope’s hand in marriage. Odysseus and his men encountered many confrontations along the way but always kept their goal in mind, returning home to Ithaca. Throughout The Odyssey, Odysseus proves himself to be an effective leader. This is true because he is cunning, shows self-restraint, and heroic.
Odysseus is an effective leader because he is very cunning. An example of this is the triumph Odysseus shows he has over Polyphemus, a cyclops monster. Odysseus and his men were stuck in the Cyclops’ cave and needed a way out. Odysseus then presents himself as “Nohbdy.” Odysseus represses the monster with wine and blinds him by penetrating his one eye with a pointed stake. Polyphemus then shouts to his fellow cyclopes for help, saying that “Nohbdy, Nohbdy’s tricked me. Nohbdy’s ruined me!” (Homer 358). This is Polyphemus calling for help to the other cyclopses about Odysseus trying to attack him and get away. By Odysseus telling the Cyclops that his name was “Nohbdy”, it made the surrounding Cyclopses think he meant “nobody.” The different Cyclopes in this manner accept that he is fine and disregard his requests for help, permitting Odysseus and his men, at last, to get away.
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This exemplifies that Odysseus is cunning because he tricked Polyphemus about his name to have his men get away. This is also an example of how he is an effective leader because he was thinking about a way to get him and his men away from the Cyclops alive and safe to be able to continue their journey home. Another example of Odysseus being cunning is dressing up as a beggar to trying to win the love back from his wife, Penelope. Odysseus disguised himself so that he can confront the suitors and fairly beat them for his wife back. Penelope always had a gut feeling that Odysseus was still alive and that he is coming back to be with her, therefore she held off choosing a suitor. Penelope made a challenge that was very difficult. She said she would marry whoever can string Odysseus’ bow and shoot an arrow through twelve axhandle sockets. All of the suitors tried and failed. Then Odysseus, still in disguise, asks for a turn.
Now flashed arrow from twanging bow clean as a whistle though every socket ring, and grazed not one, to thud with heavy brazen head beyond. (Homer 1389-1392) This quote is showing how Odysseus, dressed as the beggar, shot the arrow through all twelve axhandle sockets. This is important because it shows that he tricked Penelope and the suitors that he was not Odysseus, even though he was. He also used his skills to shoot through all twelve axhandle sockets. This shows he is cunning because he dressed himself up as a beggar and tricked the suitors. This also represents how he is a good leader because it shows that this is what he was fighting for his whole journey home. He wanted to see his wife and son. He also has very good skills like the bow and arrow that is very helpful as a leader. Odysseus’ cunningness helped him to become a better and effective leader.
In addition to Odysseus being cunning, his acts of self-restraint also contribute to him being an effective leader. One example of Odysseus showing self-restraint is in the Land of the Dead. Odysseus must go to speak with the spirit of Tiresias, a blind prophet who will tell him how to get home. In order to speak to a spirit, they would have to drink the blood of the sacrificed heifer which had to be the best in the heard. Once the spirit drank the blood, they would regain the use of their vocal cords for a short period of time and be able to communicate with the humans. Odysseus then sees his mother’s spirit in the Land of the Dead. “Seeing this ghost I grieved, / but held her off, through pang on pang of tears, / till I should know the presence of Tiresias” (Homer 617-618).
This is saying that Odysseus had a hard time seeing his mother, and not being able to give her the blood to be able to speak to her. He used self-restraint to not give away the blood and wait to present it to Tiresias to hear their way to get him and his men home safely. This shows that he is an effective leader by wanting to get him and his men back to Ithaca. Another example of self-restraint is when Odysseus passes the island of the lovely sirens. Circe, a beautiful witch goddess, warns Odysseus about these seductive songs sung by the Sirens. She instructs Odysseus to plug his men’s ears with beeswax, so they can not hear this song. Then he tells his men to tie him down tightly while his men row the boat with their ears filled with beeswax.
The lovely voices in ardor appealing over the water made me crave to listen, and I tried to say‘Untie me!’ to the crew, jerking my brows; but they bent steady to the oars. (Homer 745-748) This shows how Odysseus had to listen to the song and he desperately wanted to go to the island but used self-restraint to keep him and his men at sea. This also proves he is a good leader because he thought of his men first by putting the beeswax in their ears, this allowed them to continue their journey home. Odysseus’s leadership skills were impacted greatly by his use of self-restraint.
The final characteristic that helps Odysseus be an effective leader is his heroicness. The first example of him being a hero is when Odysseus and his men have to come face to face with Scylla and Charybdis, sea monsters. Odysseus’ men were frightened at the thought of trying to pass these monsters. Odysseus was hopeful and brave in these hard times.
Here, explains what Odysseus was saying to his men to try to get them ready for what was about to come. In order to have a chance against these sea monsters, they needed to be brave, and Odysseus gave them that hope which made him a hero. Without that, they would not have done as good as they did with the sea monsters and they would have given up in the beginning. That shows that Odysseus had faith in him and his men, just like an effective leader would. Another example of Odysseus being a hero was when he was entering the Land of the Dead. He was surrounded by spirits. “From every side, they came and sought the pit / with rustling cries; and I grew sick with fear” (Homer 569-570). This quote displays the fear that Odysseus felt being around all of the souls in the underworld. He stayed there, even with his fear, because he knew he had to find their way home, and this was the only option. He was acting as a hero because he disregarded his feelings to put others before himself. His heroic deeds resulted in him becoming an effective leader.
Odysseus proved himself to be an effective leader throughout The Odyssey. He demonstrates this by being cunning, heroic and showing self-restraint. Whether it was fighting a Cyclops, or visiting the Land of the Dead, Odysseus always had a plan and kept others in mind. His number one priority was making it home safe with his men to Ithaca to his wife and son. Like many good leaders, his decision-making skills and strategic ability helped the men arrive protected. Thus it is clear Odysseus can fulfill the idea of being an effective leader.