Archetype of Odysseus

Categories: Odyssey

What do you think makes a good leader? Is it standing up for what you believe in or is it earning the respect of the team? Well, it is both that makes a good leader. In Odyssey, Odysseus shows the quality of neither of them. In all through the book, Odysseus shows us time after time that he is a bad leader.

One of the bad reasons that Odysseus show bad leadership is that he is arrogant and failure to communicate to his crew.

For example, he puts all the blame on his men, ” Out to sea again’ My men were mutinous, fools, on stores of wine. ” Odysseus shows how arrogant he is because he blames everything on his men. Another example is also in book 9 is,” Kyklops, if ever mortal man inquire how you were put to shame and blinded, tell him Odysseus, raider of cities, took your eye: Laertes’ son, whose home’s on Ithaka!”. Odysseus is so arrogant that he does not realize that he gave personal information to the son of Poseidon in which will cause him to lose more of his men.

He fails to communicate with his crew throughout the book.  When got a warning about not touching Helios’s cattle in which his men eat them because Odysseus forgot to tell them about death if touch cattle. Also, Odysseus forgets to tell them that the wind god gave two pouches of wind to go home, but his crew opens one of them which makes them get off course again.

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Two reason why Odysseus is a bad leader.

One might object here that Odysseus shows qualities of a good leader. Some qualities of a good leader are being confident and consideration. One example, Odysseus did have a concern about his men when facing the Sirens before he met Scylla and Charybdis. He saved his men’s life by getting them to put beeswax in their ears, this part shows that Odysseus is using his brain and being a good leader. Odysseus also shows confidence throughout the book. He believed in himself that he was able to convince his men to follow his orders. Odysseus was also confident that he can inspire and motivated his men to get home.

But the majority of the book, Odysseus shows qualities of bad leadership. Odysseus, shows his passion for glory by his wanting to return as a hero of the Trojan War. He as a person loved fame and glory which is a bad quality. That was one of the reasons why he wanted to return to Ithaca . Apart from his goal to be with his wife, he also wanted to take back his kingdom. Something else that makes a bad leader is not caring about your men well being. In the book it says that Odysseus doesn’t realize that one of his men pass away until he sees him in the Underworld.

All the information above explains how Odysseus is a bad leader to his crew. Sometimes, he does show good leadership to his crew such as undoing Circe’s swinish transformations. However, though he succeeds temporarily as a good leader, all his bad qualities cause his men do die eventually, and I argue that he is a bad leader to his men.

Works Cited

  1. Fitzgerald, Robert. The Odyssey: Homer. Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1998.
  2. Myatt, Mike. “15 Ways To Identify Bad Leaders.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 22 Oct. 2012,
  3. Gleeson, Brent. “10 Unique Perspectives On What Makes A Great Leader.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 9 Nov. 2016,

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Archetype of Odysseus. (2021, Apr 26). Retrieved from

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