Ben Andrews 1/12/08
English 1 FD Odyssey
Epic Hero or Careless Leader
Leadership is the ability to stay in command by influencing others. Normally, good leadership allows for a desired affect, such as a victory. But in the case of Odysseus, the epic hero from Homer’s epic poem, The Odyssey, only negative results are reached. Through a series of bad mistakes, he causes all of his 720 men to die. Now, Odysseus does make a few good decisions. But, these good decisions only prolong the inevitable death of his men. Although Odysseus does save his men from many enemies, the mistakes he makes on some of his adventures disqualify him from being considered an effective leader of men.
One major mistake that Odysseus makes during his adventures is becoming overly-curious. His curiosity gets the better of him and costs him dearly. The first time this occurs is when Odysseus and his men encounter the Seirenes. Seirenes are powerful creatures who are able to attract men with their singing, causing them to abandon ship and swim to the Seirenes. Odysseus decides that he wants to hear this song of the Seirenes. So, he tells his men that Kirke, the witch whom they had recently met, had “urged that [he] alone should listen to their song (214.194-195).” Now this was actually a lie. Kirke had told them to not listen to it at all and sail past them, but Odysseus was thinking more about satisfying his curiosity than of the welfare of his men and himself. He asks his men to tie him to the mast as they pass by the Seirenes so that he can hear their song but not be able to escape. The men agree and Odysseus places beeswax in their ears, so that they cannot hear the Seirenes. The risks and consequences of what could have happened are dire. Odysseus could have escaped and jumped over-board to swim to the Seirenes. The Seirenes would have killed him and his men would have been leaderless. They would be disorganized and would surely have...