A Comparison of Leadership Abilities of Odysseus in Odyssey and Aeneas in Aeneid

A Comparison of Leadership Abilities of Odysseus in Odyssey and Aeneas in Aeneid

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Comparing the Leadership Abilities of Odysseus in Odyssey and Aeneas in Aeneid

 
   These two heroes have embarked from the same destination but on very different journeys. Whilst they are both Iliadic heroes at the start of their stories, they develop and adapt their manner towards the characteristics required of them to succeed. Before we judge them, it is necessary to determine our definition of a successful leader. A hero from the Iliad must be "a speaker of words and one who is accomplished in action", according to the horseman Phoinix (Iliad.9.413). A leader must have these primary qualities then, as he must lead by example, but to create the ideal we must add to this. The leader should rely on no others but in turn listen to sound counsel. He should be fair in his justice, in control of his situation and surroundings, keep his men abreast of the plan of action and reasoning behind it, remain calm under pressure and have compassion and understanding for his people. Thus his primary concerns should be the welfare of his people, their security and maintaining peace at all costs. His men, a good indicator of his leadership to us, should therefore give him loyalty, trust, and obedience, if the leader has led them suitably. The performance of the men is also important, and what they achieve under his direction is representative of his strength of leadership, though this must be compared with how they act without his presence. These measures can be seen as the important assets of a competent leader, though extenuating and uncontrollable circumstances must be taken into account, as we make a sound judgement of our two heroes.

 

            Aeneas and Odysseus themselves are different, both in character and in their q...


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...rvival. However, Aeneas becomes the Virgilian leader, his concern is always for the people and they are the most important thing to him. The reason that the endings of the books are so dissimilar and the Aenied is far less satisfying than the Odyssey is a result of this point. Odysseus' accomplished aim can be viewed within his lifetime, and listened to within a short time. His short-term goal of going to bed with Penelope, and sorting out the situation in his country is all seen within the borders of the story. Aeneas' ending merely means that his journey is at an end but the rest of the story lies with his people. The emphasis is on the people he is leading and not what he individually has accomplished.

 

Works Cited:

Homer. Odyssey. Trans. Robert Fagles. NY: Penguin Books, 1990.

Virgil, Aeneid. Trans. Allen Mandelbaum. New York: Bantam, 1991.

 

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