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Character Analysis Of Odysseus

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When talking about Odysseus, people often describe him as heroic, brave, and intelligent. They recall the many incredible feats he achieved like that of outsmarting and blinding a Cyclops. They also mention Odysseus’s brilliant idea of the Trojan Horse that helped the Greeks defeat the Trojans. While Odysseus did show the makings of an excellent leader, his actions continually contradicted them. Throughout the Odyssey, Odysseus’s tragic flaw, hubris, pushes him to act in ways that go against the definition of a good leader. He allowed arrogance to interfere with his job of bringing his troops and himself home, and for that he is an inadequate commander.
Why Odysseus takes twenty years to finally get home can be boiled down to the fact that
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Had Odysseus and his team talked about anything like their plan for getting home, they probably would have gotten to Ithaca. Odysseus not having a good relationship with his soldiers could have stemmed from arrogance. He most likely thought he was too good to ask them what they think should be the next plan of action. In fact, in book ten, Odysseus’s lack of communication cost the crew the fortune of finally getting home. They were on Aiolos Hippotades, the wind king’s island, and he bestowed upon Odysseus a bag of the winds, so that only the west wind is left to blow their sail. Odysseus decided not to tell anyone that they shouldn’t open it, and instead falls asleep. He explains that temptation pushes the crew to untie the bag, while they were grumbling, “‘It never fails. (Odysseus)’s welcome everywhere: hail to the captain when he goes ashore! He brought along so many presents, plunder out of Troy, that’s it. How about ourselves—his shipmates all the way? Nigh home we are with empty hands. And who has gifts from Aiolos? He has. I say we ought to crack that bag, there’s gold and silver, plenty, in that bag’”(Book 10, Lines 43-50). After releasing all the winds, the ship is hauled back by the sea consequently causing the crew to lose the nine days travel that they made. The crew’s belief that they don’t get any gifts further proves Odysseus’s incompetence as commander.…show more content…
Odysseus and his men were getting ready to leave Circe’s home when his youngest soldier falls of a roof and dies. Homer writes about the tale stating, “Among them all the youngest was Elpênor—no mainstay in a fight nor very clever—and this one, having climbed on Kirkê’s roof to taste the cool night, fell asleep with wine. Waked by our morning voices, and the tramp of men below, he started up, but missed his footing on the long steep backward ladder and fell that height headlong. The blow smashed the nape cord, and his ghost fled to the dark”(Book 10, lines 609-618). Odysseus doesn’t bother making sure his entire crew is with him when he leaves and so he doesn’t find out about Elpênor until he sees him in the underworld. A good commander should always know when and where his crewmembers are. Odysseus leaving one behind and not even remembering about him until he sees his ghost verifies how terrible of a leader he can
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