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A Clever Leader Is The Key

1041 words - 5 pages

A six-headed monster that eats human flesh or an enormous monster that swallows massive amounts of water and everything within it. Which would you rather face? Odysseus had to make this hard choice in Homers’ Odyssey. Odysseus takes to the seas after the Trojan War in order to return to Ithaka, however, he faces many hardships. Within the epic poem, Odysseus encounters many obstacles including a witch, sirens, and other monsters, but he still makes it back to Ithaka. In the poem there are many transitions from chaotic to calm and orderly situations. Each event has at least one thing in common: they have a strong leader who, with the intelligence and cleverness finds a solution to each problem. The leader needs to find a solution in order to eradicate the chaos, and produce a calm and orderly state. Odysseus is one of these leaders in the poem. He keeps a calm head and thinks rationally, even in the most chaotic of situations. These transitions are most evident on Polyphemus’s island, on Kirke’s island, and in his own household, on Ithaka, with the suitors.
One conflict that Odysseus and his men face is that they are trapped in Polyphemus’s cave on his island. As he and his men are trapped in the cave, Odysseus formulates a plan. He knows he doesn’t have enough strength to take down the colossal beast, and even if he did he wouldn’t have enough strength to shift the boulder that’s guarding the door. Given these circumstances Odysseus uses his intellect to take advantage of Polyphemus’s stupidity in order to escape the cave. In spite of this plan, Odysseus still loses many men to the dangerous beast, “but I was planning so that things would come out the best way, and trying to find some release from death, for my companions and myself too, combining all my resource and treacheries, as with life at stake, for the great evil was very close to us." (9.420-432) This quote describes how badly the situation is for Odysseus and his men. Even with so much pressure on him to get everyone out safely he still devises a brilliant plan. Since he came up with this plan within a few hours, and was under the pressure of being eaten the next morning, it shows that he still kept a level head. Odysseus used his cunningness to outsmart Polyphemus. This situation shows that while Odysseus was consumed in a very chaotic circumstance he still thought rationally in order to save his life and the lives of his men. A leader clouded by emotion would have killed Polyphemos the first time they had the chance to, but then everyone would have been trapped in the cave. Odysseus used logical thinking and didn’t let his anger or fear of getting eaten get the best of him.
On Kirke’s island, Odysseus uses his cleverness to trick the sorceress and save his men. When Odysseus and his men first land on the island Odysseus sends a group of men to scout the land, however only one man...

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