Odysseus Bad Leader Essay

Odysseus' Bad Decisions

586 Words3 Pages

Every day people make decisions. Some are more important than others, but all decisions have consequences, no matter how small. The decisions that you make, and the decisions others make could affect your life. They may have positive effects, but they may also have negatives effects like in The Odyssey by Homer. In general, Odysseus and his men made some decisions that lead to some very negative effects.
The first bad decision that Odysseus made was poking Polyphemus’ eye out. Even though it was necessary to escape, poking the sea god’s son’s eye out is never a good idea. To make matters worse, Odysseus bragged about his accomplishment later to the cyclops. The only reason why it took Odysseus ten extra years to get home was…show more content…

Odysseus also could have avoided this entire situation if he would have just left the cyclops’ cave when all of his other men told him to.
In addition, Odysseus was not the only person who made bad decisions. Odysseus’s men, having led to believe Odysseus was hiding treasure, made another one of the worst decisions in this epic. Odysseus’s men thought that the bag of winds he had received from Aeolus was really a bag of treasures that he was saving for himself. Stricken with greed, the men opened the bag of winds which sent them back to Aeolus’s island. If the men would have had trust in Odysseus and believed him, they would never have even thought about opening the bag, and they would have gotten home right then, instead of taking another five years.
Another poor decision Odysseus made was sending half of his men to explore Circe’s island. While Odysseus knew nothing about this thickly wooded island, he still sent half of his men to explore it. Only one of his men came back, claiming a sorceress turned them all into swine. Odysseus is then forced to go search for his men, and ends up staying on the island for “many seasons.” If only Odysseus would have just left and went to a different island in the first place, none of this would had happened. Or, if Odysseus and his men had no other choice, they could have stayed by the sea shore and they would have been safe. Circe caused the men to be distracted for “many seasons” again delaying them from getting

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Determining whether Odysseus is a "good" or "bad" leader is a difficult question. On the surface, he probably appears to have more lapses as a leader than successes.

In Odyssey 9, he refuses to leave the cave of the Cyclops, despite his men's urging to the contrary.

"At first my men begged me to take some cheeses and go, then to drive the lambs and kids from the pens down to the swift ship and...

Determining whether Odysseus is a "good" or "bad" leader is a difficult question. On the surface, he probably appears to have more lapses as a leader than successes.

In Odyssey 9, he refuses to leave the cave of the Cyclops, despite his men's urging to the contrary.

"At first my men begged me to take some cheeses and go, then to drive the lambs and kids from the pens down to the swift ship and set sail. But I would not listen, though it would have been best, wishing to see the giant himself, and test his hospitality" (A.S. Kline translation)

This choice results in the death of six of his men.

In Odyssey 10, Odysseus does not communicate with his men about the contents of the bag he receives from Aeolus. Odysseus falls asleep, his men become curious, open the bag just when their ship was in sight of their homeland, and then they are blown back to Aeolus' land.

In Odyssey 12, Odysseus does communicate about the dangers of eating Helios' cattle, but he again falls asleep. This gives his men the chance to eat some of the cattle, which results in their lives being lost.

On the other hand, Odysseus does seem to make the right choice in Odyssey 12 when faced with the Scylla and Charybdis. He sails nearer to the Scylla, which does result in the deaths of six more crewmen; but, if he had sailed closer to the Charybdis, the entire ship would have been lost.

Also, in Odyssey 12, Odysseus probably prevents a significant loss of life by having his men stuff their ears with wax while sailing past the island of the Sirens.

Odysseus' leadership choices seem to be better once he returns to Ithaca. He wipes out the suitors and all of his allies (Telemachus, Eumaeus, and Philoetius) survive the fight.

Thus, when it comes to Odysseus' leadership qualities, Homer presents us with an ambiguous picture.

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