Achilles too and learn and grow with them, making

           Achilles
from The Iliad is believed to be the supreme hero of the Trojan War, as
well as Odysseus from The Odyssey. While their behavior didn’t always
reflect those of a perfect leader or a good person, these stories always
concluded by showing what a genuine leader should be.  The two books, The
Odyssey and The Iliad, feature men who set an example for people
today on how to be a leader.  With the use of their imagination,
intelligence, and the ability to understand and impassion their people, they
are able to stand out amongst the many members of history’s greatest leaders.
 On first glance looking at these characters you might just see a strong
leader who won battles and saved their people and home, but there’s so much
more to them that can to be dissected and uncovered.  Reading these novels
is an experience; you’re put into the shoes of a character and are able to see
a new world from their perspective, and you begin to understand their desires
and the reasoning behind their actions.  These novels give not just one
person but a group of people an emotional response that connects them all to a
new outlook.  A group of people with a similar outlook and goal at hand is
what elicits the need to create a leader, and because of the experiences the
men mentioned earlier have had, they were able to grow and become stronger, better
people. By studying and reading their stories the reader is able to
subconsciously go through them too and learn and grow with them, making
themselves better as well.  We develop empathy, imagination, and
intelligence through reading these novels, which are some important skills that
allows someone to lead a group of people to greatness.  Leadership when
regarding difficult issues must take into account understanding more than just
the outcome or the result of an issue. Understanding people, having compassion,
empathy, and appreciation of others and what one needs for a meaningful life is
something that differentiates a mediocre leader from a great one.
 Something I learned from the great leaders live’s I mentioned prior is
that they never pretended to be more than they were.  They didn’t pretend
to be able to swim without water, because if they did they wouldn’t get
anywhere, they found context—the chance to understand the situation.  When
comparing the lives our great leaders faced in humanity novels to the ones they
face today we can see many changes and yet many similarities.  The problems we face today
can include poverty, climate change, diseases, threats to our well-being and
the safety of our country, education, and political freedom.  We can learn
from The Iliad and The Odyssey by focusing of human welfare
before thinking of a way to fight off our problems.  The stories of great
leaders teach us not to complicate things and ask ourselves what caused this,
why didn’t we have this problem years ago?  At times, it may seem
thoughtless to ponder on the arts, literature, or languages but that’s how
things were done in the past and it seemed to work very efficiently.
 Reading literature like The Iliad or watching/listening to the
arts forces us to think creatively and critically, and allows us to escape the
stresses of our everyday lives which is what we need to do to solve some of our
life problems.  Simplify, or even take a break from our whirlwind of
thoughts to think clearer.

            The Greek hero, Odysseus, is a leading
figure in Homers epic, The Odyssey.  He is the king of Ithaca, the
son of Anticlea and Laertes, husband of Penelope, and father of Telemachus.
 The Odyssey tells the story of how the protagonist, Odysseus,
returned home after the Trojan War.  Odysseus fought for ten years in the
Trojan war while also devising many crafty ideas on how to win in the end.
 Odysseus
has many defining traits that help label him as a leader, a few include
courage, strength, nobleness, confidence in his influence, and a hunger for
brilliance.  One of his most notable traits would have to be his sharp
wit.  His quick thinking is what saved him from most of the tough situations
he was put in.  In book 9 he was able to escape the cave of the Cyclops
with his quick thinking.  He also was able to prevent everyone from
discovering that he killed all his wife’s suitors in book 23 by having the
minstrel play a wedding song.  He is also a smooth talker, and has proved
he can talk his way out of almost any situation.  When he first came to
the Island of Scheria, he met Nausica who normally wouldn’t trust easily.
 Though because of Odysseus’s manipulative yet comforting words he was able
to win her trust with ease.  Another trait Odysseus displayed that I
thought made him a distinguished leader was how family-oriented he was.  Similarly
to many leaders, he longed for the title and praise, understanding it would be
well deserved but he fought just as hard for his family.  When coming back
from Troy, Odysseus lost his ship and army and was drifting in the open sea for
nine days.  After the nine days Odysseus was pushed ashore on the Island
of Ogygia, on this island there lived a nymph named Calypso who welcomed
Odysseus into her home after seeing what happened to him.  After getting
to know each other Calypso fell in love with Odysseus and wanted to turn him
into her immortal love.  Odysseus had a wife and son at home whom he loved
so he rejected her offer, but Calypso obviously didn’t take his rejection very
well and invented a plan to seduce him into becoming her lover.  After
days passed of insistent seduction from Calypso, which she hoped would make
Odysseus hers forever, finally had her way and made him hers. They lived
together for seven years, and just when Calypso almost succeeded in making
Odysseus her immortal husband, Athena and Zeus came to force him to see
reality. Realizing what he’d been doing, Odysseus persuades Calypso into
letting him go.  He was such a good negotiator that he was able to
convince Calypso to let him go and even persuaded her to help him build a ship
to head back home.  After dissecting this experience Odysseus went through
you can see these events as an act of internal temptation.  Either he can
fight to go home to his wife, which was his decision in the end, or stay with
his tempting lover Calypso.  He was able to fight his own temptations for
the greater good of his people and family, which is an example of what it takes
to be a great leader; someone who can think outside himself enough to realize
what’s best for his people.  There is no such thing as a selfish leader,
or at least not a great or worthwhile one.  Odysseus was also able to
accept help from his peers. He was able to recognize that glory isn’t a
one-person job, and that although he is the King, he understands that it takes
a group of people to help and guide him to ensure he’s making the right
decisions.  To add on to this life experience on the island, Odysseus left
behind his lavish life with Calypso so that he could return home to his
responsibilities as a king, husband, and father.  Even after admitting his
wife could never compare to Calypso he returned home.  This experience
taught him a lot including how being a leader isn’t always as extravagant as it
seems, it takes hard work and sometimes even doing things you wouldn’t want to
do for the greater good of your people.  The last point I’m making as to
why Odysseus is a great leader is because he was able to change throughout his
life even though an array of obstacles were put in his way.  Early on in The Odyssey, Odysseus seems to be a
selfish and arrogant king; he loves the glory which lead him to do many things,
for example when he blinded the Cyclops.  Towards the end of the story he
seemed more patient and was able to calm his ego.  This is proven in his
acts like when he set up a plan to get his wife back by disguising as a beggar.
 Instead of simply revealing himself to everyone, which in the end would
have gotten him killed by the suitors, he entered his home in disguise and
played along to his wife’s game.  Learning patience saved his life; he was
protected for long enough until he was able to fight back and kill the suitors.

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            Achilles is a character who has his highs
and lows in terms of skill as a leader. He proves to be a great fighter and
warrior, but a leader is more disputable. Achilles has many characteristics a
leader would have but too many flaws to count against him.  He has superhuman
strength and is a demi-god who has many close relationships with Gods, which
sounds good if you’re trying to lead people into war but he’s not very heroic.
 He doesn’t have a strong belief in social instruction that shows up
during an illness in the Achaian Camp.  The events during this scene were
that there was a plague killing men and Achilles was searching for the culprit.
Achilles was taking actions into his own hands and fighting for what he
believes is right.  Even this small act stands out in my mind as an action
of a leader, and he gathers up the entire army of men which is against protocol
and in turn upset his king, Agamemnon.  He finds out what started the
plague which only ends up complicating things further for Achilles because
Agamemnon himself was responsible for the plague.  He could not control
his anger and pride hearing this information that he leaves his companions
behind and wishes them bad luck, that the Trojans win and they kill everyone he
left behind.  A key difference between Achilles and Odysseus are the
reasons and drive behind their actions. Odysseus fights for his people and most
importantly his family, he doesn’t have the fame and glory on his mind when
he’s fighting, unlike Achilles. Achilles would do anything he could to ensure
his name would be remembered.  Another trait that differentiates Odysseus
from Achilles is their personal growth through experiences.  Odysseus
learned from temptation that what really mattered in life was his family.
 Achilles doesn’t change much throughout the epic; he remained the same
selfish person he’d always been.  However, he does try to resolve his
problems with Agamemnon after Patroclus dies, but this doesn’t turn out quite
as well as we’d hope for a leader.  While
he forgives Agamemnon he redirects all his anger towards Hector.  It’s a
never ending cycle of anger when it comes to Achilles; if you’re not one with
yourself, or if you aren’t an understanding person you can’t lead others.
 I believe the difference between a warrior and a leader is how others
react to you.  Achilles was a fearless warrior but wasn’t able to help his
people grow.  He had a raving thirst for his own success but not as a team
with his people, the Myrmidons.  Achilles always took all the credit for
the actions taken with the Myrmidons, never allowing them to have a chance in
the spotlight.  They followed blindly and obediently towards whatever
Achilles put in front of them.  According to Merriam- Webster, the
definition of a myrmidon is, “a loyal follower; especially: a subordinate who
executes orders unquestioningly or unscrupulously.”  A strength of Odysseus was how he used
other people, but in a respectable and honest way.  He had friends in high
places who were more than happy to help him out when needed, and yet he always
gave them credit when they contributed towards his success.  Achilles took
people and turned them into his subordinates who followed him because they
didn’t know what else to do.  This turns Achilles into a leader, but you
have to ask yourself: a leader of what?  I feel as though the way Achilles
ran things was a very frequent way of leadership in the past.  A leader
who wanted to cultivate a trustworthy group of followers who would respond well
to his pressure and had no thoughts of their own.  A leader like Achilles can appear
inspiring at times, but typically will have a serious flaw that surfaces when
times get tough, or when things are at its best.  Like Achilles, these
types of leaders view the world like a battlefield where there are only winners
and losers, and they can never be on the losing side.  It’s not a bad
thing to always win the battle, and be the toughest one in charge but when
there’s only one person coming out on top it doesn’t leave room for others to
grow and lead themselves.  If Achilles wanted to be more of a leader than
an ego crazed winner, he should find another reason worth fighting besides
himself.  He should think about all the people fighting with him, such as
the Myrmidons.
Achilles might have thought they were fighting below him but that wasn’t the
case.  Achilles should have understood that any soldier is just as
important as the next and that’s something Achilles couldn’t grasp.  He
was always consumed with bloodlust and pride, he took on Hector, Xanthus, and
many Trojan men mercilessly.  While in The Iliad Achilles was unable to change, we don’t know
what happened to him after Homer finished the epic.  At the end, in the
final book, King Priam brings up Achilles father, Peleus.  We don’t know
whether his father’s despairing pleas was enough to change Achilles into a true
leader or not.

            When it comes to a great leader I believe
it’s more what you do for others than yourself.  It comes down to who you
are as a person then what you can do with the gifts you’re given.  Like
Achilles for instance, he was born a demi-god; he had superhuman strength and
strong relationships with many other gods yet his selfishness and desire for
glory kept him from being a great leader.  To add, simply because a leader
shows a flaw doesn’t mean he’s instantly removed of his title.  It’s a
constant search for good and evil in a person, and any leader would have to
face their own individual inner demons. The kinds of people
who help lead others into a new way of thinking – a way that opens doors for
all that prolongs further than the immediate and the short-term.  Odysseus
for example, was able to look past the instant gratification he got living with
Calypso and return home to his family and responsibilities. This decision
displays the fact that Odysseus puts his people first.  A leader is also
someone who is able to bring out the best in their people, not hold them back
from what they’re capable of.  Achilles had the major flaw of taking all
the credit, and whenever he saw potential in someone he would take it for
himself.  He wouldn’t let any of the Myrmidons grow in any
way and instead they remained stagnant, submissive to their leader, Achilles.
 A leader must not only attract gifted people
but motivate them to contribute their all, knowing that they will be
acknowledged, appreciated, and given the opportunity to fall and grow, like all
must do to fulfill their purpose.  If there’s only one person winning on a
team, it’s not a winning team.  In order to maintain a winning side or army
a leader must form a group of equally talented people who are able to implement
their abilities to their greatest potential.