Lead Me On
Men are leaders when others will willingly follow them and trust the leaders’ judgment over their own. However, an individual’s value as a leader is not measured solely by whether or not they had followers or for how long they were followed. Their worth is determined by their vision and the actions they take to achieve their goals. In the Aeneid, the leader Aeneas escapes from a burning Troy to create a new home. His greatness is shown in his respect for destiny and commitment to his responsibilities. In the Odyssey, the leader Odysseus leaves a burning Troy to return home as a hero. His strengths are his superior intelligence and his insatiable ambition. Both men were leaders of many men who completed great acts of strength and determination. However, as a leader, Odysseus falls short of Aeneas’s greatness due to his selfishness and lack of commitment. This leads me to believe that Aeneas, because of his focus and commitment, is far better suited for a position of leadership.
One very important leadership quality is to have vision and purpose. For how can a leader lead anyone anywhere without first knowing where to go? Aeneas’s mission is made clear in the start of the Aeneid.
My song is arms and a man, the first of Troy
to come to Italy and Lavinian shores,
a fated fugitive, harried on land and sea
by heaven’s huge might and Juno’s endless hate,
harried by war, till he could found the City
and bring his gods to Latium, whence the race
of Latins, our Alban sires, and towering Rome.
From the beginning we know that Aeneas’s ultimate goal is to move his gods from Troy to Italy and found the city of Rome upon his arrival. Staying true to his purpose, Aeneas travels to Italy jumping over hurdle after hurdle to complete his mission. Commitment to the mission is seen first in Aeneas’s departure from Carthage. Dido, the queen of Carthage, took in both Aeneas and his crew when they were shipwrecked off the coast of...