Odysseus possesses characteristics that allow him to be a great leader while also placing him in a number of perilous circumstances. Odysseus, like a Homeric king, had bravery, a desire for fame, and determination as a young man and later in his authority as a leader. Odysseus' most noteworthy characteristics are his intellect, cunning, and appetite for glorification. Because of his fast-thinking, he is able to avoid several risky scenarios that would have killed him before arriving in Ithaca. His encounter with adventures best represents his leadership style (Homer 8). Odysseus and his servants were defeated in their attack on the Ismaros as they arrived at Cicones in their twelve ships. The ships were driven off by intense storms that made it difficult for them to reach Ithaca as one unit. The visit of the Lotus Eaters was as planned by Odysseus who was looking for something for his servants to eat. The servants were unwilling to back, and that forced Odysseus to drag them back to the ship cunningly.
Odysseus realized that they cannot enter the Cyclops Polyphemus caves when everyone was seeing them and thus he came up with another plan. The plan was to open using the underbellies of the animals they were having like the sheep. Also, they escaped the wrath of the cave by blinding the leaders using a walking stick. Polyphemus was the head of the cave and did not notice that Odysseus had lied to him about their identity. In that case, Odysseus is recognized as a wit man who was courageous enough to risk being identified and punished for lying to Polyphemus. Nevertheless, Odysseus ego and strive to be recognized made him make the mistake that led to hurdles later on the return journey. He wanted to be seen as an intelligent man and, thus, revealed his identity to Polyphemus. Therefore, Polyphemus was left annoyed, and that led to him cursing Odysseus and his servants after they had left the cave (Homer 10). Poseidon, the Polyphemus father, cursed Odysseus that he will wander in the seas for ten years and lose all his sailors and worker before reaching to Ithaca. More so, according to Poseidon, Odysseus would have to strain on his own to find the way via the sea to get home. Odysseus believed in his wit and, thus, did not take the threat seriously as he proceeded to live with the god of the winds called Aeolus.
The reason he sought asylum with the Aeolus was that he was planning to convince him to lender him wind that can be used to sail his boats back to Ithaca. His, Odysseus, wisdom did not fail him as the god of the winds blessed him with the all winds apart from the one that sails the west. In this case, Odysseus is presented as a good planner and leader who know what his servants want at a particular time. However, he forgot that Poseidon had cursed him for lying and blinding Polyphemus when they were welcomed at the caves. Thus, when he was sleeping the sailors opened the bag that contained winds thinking that Odysseus was hiding gold. After releasing the winds, the team faced a lot of difficulties trying to control the direction of the ship. The efforts were futile because they wandered for many years in the sea until the ship took them back to the god of the winds.
Some sailors died on the way as they struggled to control the boat. The difficulties were caused not only by the sailors who opened the bag of winds but also by Odysseus character that made him make Polyphemus blind and lied about his identity. Revealing oh his identity to the same people he had blinded and lied after they welcomed him just because he wanted to boost that he is clever was another heinous mistake (Homer 14). Thus, some of the Odysseus characters harmed him and his people to the extent of losing the very people who would have made his journey back to Ithaca. Aeolus refused to give Odysseus and his men another bag of winds. Therefore, they had to look for other means to get back to Ithaca.
The team embarked on a journey through terrains that contained cannibalistic Laestrygonians. The Poseidon course continued to haunt Odysseus and remaining team at the Laestrygonian harbor when cannibals destroyed all the ships except the one he was using leaving a majority of the crew dead. At the Circe Odysseus with a small team of sailors visited a witch-goddess who showed him the spirits of his lost servants was forced to bring them back to human form. The fact that Odysseus forced the witch goddess to bring back to life dead people indicates the character that was willing even to make mistakes to accomplish his dreams. Lack of giving his sailors warning of the impending magic at Circe also led to the death of one of the sailors who fell drank (Homer 23). The crewman was called Elpenor, and that made it even harder to complete the journey as a team because they lacked the human resources. All these hurdles were caused by Odysseus character of cunning that led to the cursing of his team by Poseidon father of Polyphemus.
The consequences of the curse were being revealed each day as the journey to Ithaca was becoming more difficult and caused deaths. Odysseus realized that he had made a mistake by lying and blinding Polyphemus and, thus, he called upon the spirit of the Tiresias for guidance on how to please Poseidon. Despite the hurdles and mistake, Odysseus had done he remained a strong leader who wanted all the crew members to reach Ithaca as witnessed when he was planning to seek Poseidon’s forgiveness. The problems did not end there as he was informed by the Agamemnon spirit of the difficulties he would face in the land of the dead. Thus, they had to go back to Circe to seek advice of the remaining part of the journey to Ithaca. The hurdles were severe enough to the extent of Odysseus thinking of drowning himself when sailing from Circe when the ship steered on the rock and all his crew members died. Upon reaching Ithaca Odysseus could not directly introduce himself as one of them because he looked as the biblical lost son who went to feed with the pork in a foreign land (Homer, 2011). Nevertheless, he still used his cunningness to secretly access the situation while pretending that his real name was ‘nothing.’ As Mr. Nothing many people did not expect much from since they did not know who he was after leaving home for many years.
In that scenario, he is taken in a home where they care about him for a while. His ability to use deceptive speech and disguise to win many battles shows his intelligence character (Homer, 2011). Nevertheless, he sports a pride and arrogance character that made his life difficulty since he was young. For example, on his way back to Cyclopes he boastfully says that the great Odysseus cannot be defeated by anyone. Consequently, the Cyclops curses him by throwing part of the mountain unto him which further complicates his journey back to Ithaca. On return to Ithaca a caretaker who noticed a scar on Odysseus takes the readers back to when he was a young boy. Eurycleia, the housekeeper identified an injury that Odysseus had gotten when he was hunting a boar in the valleys. The boar had attacked Odysseus when he was haunting. Thus, Odysseus decided to kill it to revenge. Additionally, his name means trouble in the Greek language. Odysseus would cause difficulties and would also face a lot of hurdles throughout his life. The troubles are witnessed from his early childhood life through to his struggle to return to Ithaca via the sea where he lost all his crew members.
In conclusion, Odysseus strengths and weaknesses were defined by his character. His convincing character enabled him to win the trust of his friends and even enemies. He tried to do great things to have his name in the book of records but in the process ended up making several mistakes. Odysseus spent the entire like home-seeking but ended up making lots of mistakes due to his glory-seeking traits. The features cost him all his friends and properties from the time he began his return journey to Ithaca. Thus, his character can be described as static. Unlike modern characters in books who realize they have made mistakes and change, Odysseus maintained his character entire life.
Homer. The odyssey. Vol. 28. Collector's Library, 2011.
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