In The Odyssey by Homer, Odysseus is faced with many daunting obstacles. With each obstacle, Odysseus evolves and reveals strong leadership qualities. The abundance of leadership protects Odysseus and his crew and allows Odysseus to return to Ithaca; therefore, Odysseus represents an ideal leader because he conveys an immense amount of compassion, cunning intelligence, and extensive bravery.
To begin, Odysseus shows endless consideration for all of his men which makes him a strong leader. He always looks out for his men and encourages them to keep moving forward when hope disappears. For instance, Odysseus speaks with Circ and discovers that their journey ahead will not be easy. To be more specific, they will encounter the island of the Sirens whom lure boats towards their singing and eventually cause the boats to crash.
How it works
Despite the bad news, he keeps it in secrecy from his men because he believes it is what is in their best interest; therefore, when Odysseus and his crew reach the island of the Sirens, Odysseus [slices] an ample wheel of beeswax down into pieces, [kneads] them in [his] two hands and [stops] the ears of [his] comrades one by one (Homer 276). Odysseus does so to protect his men by ensuring that they do not hear the luring noises of the Sirens. Another example of Odysseus showing compassion is when he consistently ensures his men, throughout their wanderings, that everything will work out.
Next, Odysseus’s impeccable intelligence steers the crew clear of many possible tragic outcomes. His unique ideas in high-stakes conditions, get Odysseus and his crew substantially far in their journey. For instance, to prevent angering Poseidon, when Odysseus is stuck in the Polyphemus’s cave, Poseidon’s son, he says, Nobody – [that] [is] my name. Nobody – so my mother and father call me, all my friends (Homer 223).
Odysseus uses his wit and realizes that by saying his name is Nobody, Poseidon will have no one to be angry with for the pain that is forced upon his son, therefore, Odysseus can get his crew out of the cave safely and continue with their journey with no repercussions to follow. Additionally, when Odysseus and his crew are stuck in the Cyclops’s cave, he realizes that he must tie his men to the bellies of sheep in order to escape undetected. Finally, Odysseus’s immense bravery proves that he is a strong leader. Despite his treacherous, long journey, Odysseus never gives up in the face of fear, which lifts the confidence of the whole crew.
Additionally, because Odysseus conquers every man he encounters with ease, he protects his men. An example of his fearlessness is upon the entrance of Siren island when Odysseus goes to each crewman expressing why they too should be fearless. He does do by saying, friends, [we] [are] hardly strangers at meeting danger – and this danger is no worse than what we [face] when [the] Cyclops [penns] us up in his vaulted cave with crushing force! But even from there my courage, my presence of mind and tactics [saves] us all, and we will live to remember this someday (Homer 277-278). The fear-filled crewmen listen to the words of their leader and relax knowing they are under his control. Another example of his bravery is when Odysseus and the crew are stuck in Cyclops cave and are being glared at. When no one approaches the Cyclops, Odysseus does and stands up and speaks with him.
Ultimately, Odysseus and his crew emerge victorious because of Odysseus’s powerful leadership qualities. Odysseus’s warm compassion comforts the comrades in fear-filled scenarios, his intelligence prevents tragic outcomes from emerging, and his fearlessness uplifts the men’s spirits and allows them to believe that anything is possible. As proven by Odysseus, leadership is exposed in the most vulnerable of scenarios.