Leadership in Mythology: A Comparative Analysis of Aeneas and Odysseus - a Free Essay Example

Published: 2024-01-08
Leadership in Mythology: A Comparative Analysis of Aeneas and Odysseus - a Free Essay Example
Essay type:  Analytical essays
Categories:  Leadership analysis War Odyssey
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1741 words
15 min read


In a general setting, leaders depict similarities in their mode of leadership as well as differences. Leaders are expected to work in ways that serve the people’s best interests. However, differences arise when the leaders’ interests conflict with the interests of the followers. Tough decisions have to be made on whose interests need to be satisfied and every decision has blatant consequences for both the leader as well as the followers. Leadership is not only focused on one entity, the king or warrior but is made easier by incorporating the different ideas and opinions from different sources.

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Thesis: Leadership is only recognized with the ability to serve its people.

In Greek mythology, Aeneas is recognized as a Trojan hero. He is the son of Prince Anchises and the goddess Aphrodite. He is also mentioned in Roman mythology and recognized as an ancestor to the infamous founders of Rome, Remus, and Romulus. Aeneas was the leader of the Trojan Dardanians. He also served as the main lieutenant of Hector. He received help from Aphrodite, Apollo, and Poseidon during the Trojan War and was among those who survived. This is included in the Roman literature, the Aeneid, that was written by Virgil. Aeneas plays a prominent role in protecting his city against the Greeks during the Trojan War. He became the leader of Trojan survivors after the war when Troy was captured by the Greeks. For this reason, Aeneas gathered his family and followers along with his belongings including the household gods of Troy, and fled the city which was up in flames (Perkell, 13). He moves to the western land near the Tiber River and marries Dido, a widowed queen. Later on, he embarks on his mission in Rome making Dido commit suicide for leaving her.

He leads his team as they move south but they do not receive a warm welcome. To ally with the Trojans and the people of the region led by King Latinus, a marriage between the king’s daughter and Aeneas is instituted founding the Lavinium. Throughout Aeneas is portrayed as a heroic warrior as well as an obedient man and he obeys the divine commands. Later on, Aeneas dies in the battle against the Rutuli and is thereafter worshipped as a god referred to as Jupiter Indiges. His death is prescribed by Dionysius of Halicarnassus.

Odysseus was one of the heroes recognized in Greek mythology. He was a son to Laertes and Antikleia. His administrative skills were well portrayed as king of Ithaca and he was a prominent leader among the Kephallenians. Not only was he recognized as a political figure but was also a family man. He was married to Penelope and they had a son known as Telemachus. Odysseus received protection from their goddess, Athena. He was a heroic warrior and his fighting prowess is included in the Homeric epithet. Homer refers to Odysseus as patient-minded, as a god, and a great speaker with persuasive words especially when addressing his people (Wilson, 56). He states that the name Odysseus means a victim of enmity about the negative feelings directed towards him by Poseidon. Odysseus' intelligence played a crucial role in the success experienced by the Greeks during the war. Odysseus is infamously recognized for his exclusive idea of using the wooden horse during the Trojan War.

Aeneas and Odysseus are similar in various aspects. Both are linked to royalty. Aeneas is the son of a prince and a goddess and Odysseus is the king of Ithaca. They lead their people in the Trojan War. Throughout their leadership, they lead their groups successfully. Both get divine help from their respective goddess. They both recognize that without such help, they would meet their downfall and fail as leaders. Aeneas is guided by the gods of Troy while Odysseus is guided by the goddess, Athena. However, they encounter opposing gods that pose challenges to the heroes in their leadership. Each of the leaders has a mission he needs to fulfill in the course of their leadership. Odysseus' mission is to go home after his long journey in trying to avoid wars from arising against his people. Aeneas' mission is to find a new home for himself and his family after the Greeks raid his town and capture Troy. He also wants to move to Rome where he eventually settles with his people, the Trojan, and establishes the Roman race in Italy (Kochenash, 670). The heroic lives of both warriors are referred to in books that depict their prowess. These are the Aneid by Virgil which talks about Aeneas and the Odyssey by Homer which gives details on Odysseus.

The Odyssey mentions the ruling in Greece by the Greeks led by Odysseus and later on by Romans led by Aeneas. Both leaders are symbolized as great heroes of their nation. Odysseus is known as the heroic king of the Greeks who defeated Troy and his idea of using a wooden horse to defeat the Trojans in the war. Likewise, Aeneas was a recognized hero, especially among the Romans who took after Troy and led the Trojans in successful battles.

Although Aeneas and Odysseus are known heroes, clear differences are arising between the two. Odysseus is the king of Ithaca and is probably recognized as the wisest warrior in Greece. Aeneas is only a Trojan warrior who gets his leadership position out of sheer luck which is disguised with Troy getting captured by the Greeks. In the books that refer to their lives, the Odyssey explains Odysseus as king while the Aeneid only describes Aeneus as the main character. The differences between them are clearly explained in the Aeneid and Odyssey. The leaders portray different cultures that are attributed toise different cultures which include the Roman and Greek cultures. Romans together with the heroic warrior, Aeneus uphold patriotism. Aeneus is recognized as the national hero because he is concerned about the Trojan's future and puts their interests into consideration. He is obedient even after gaining his leadership position and believes in divine guidance. On the other hand, Greeks led by Odysseus focus on fame and individual heroism. Odysseus is not concerned about his people and focuses on pursuing his selfish interests.

After the Trojan War, both leaders make different directions that reveal their different characters. Odysseus is depicted as a sentimental hero since he wants to go back to his past. He wants to go back to his kingdom and reunite with the family he had abandoned at the beginning of the Trojan War (Campbell, 47). Aeneas reveals an outstanding character and is looking into a better future for himself and his people. He wants to establish a new home for his people in Rome. Aeneas respects the Roman value of duty, he obeys the Roman gods without question on the risks he may encounter when executing their commands. For instance, he is ordered by the gods to leave Carthage and establish an empire in Rome. On the other hand, Odysseus does not respect the divine power. He disobeys orders given by the gods and challenges them. For instance, he dares to injure Polyphemus, son of Poseidon. Despite knowing that Poseidon is angry, Odysseus wants to reach Ithaca by the sea where Poseidon rules. His action clearly shows he is blatant about the consequences of disobeying a god.

Every individual shows loyalty towards themselves, their place, or someone. Aeneas was focused on his family, gods, and his people, the Trojans as well as the Roman country. His piety was his major character shown in the Aeneid by Virgil. His loyalty towards his family was seen during his relationship with Queen Dido with whom he had fulfilled his duty until the time he realized his fate was finding a new Troy somewhere else. Aeneas also showed loyalty to his father by following his orders to move his people to Rome and battle with the people they found in the region and take over. Aeneas showed loyalty to his country when he went in search of a new Troy. He sought a new home for his people in Rome and he also led successful battles against his people's enemies. His loyalty towards the gods was evident in his obedience to the mercury god when ordered to move from Carthage and go seek another Troy in Rome for his people.

Odysseus shows his loyalty to his family and the gods. He is determined to go back home after the Trojan War. This is despite knowing the Poseidon god was angry with him. Odysseus wants to move back to Ithaca by the sea where Poseidon rules without worrying about his fate. Another case proving his loyalty to his family is when a beautiful nymph, Kalypso offers him immortality if he would leave his family for her (Akcay, 11). Odysseus turns down that offer and continues with his journey back home. He shows his loyalty towards the gods by not cursing out when faced with harmful events during his journey back home. Odysseus insisted on loyalty as a driving force among the Greeks. Loyalty being the basic tenet of his leadership, Odysseus ordered that the punishment for disloyalty was death. He commanded that disloyal women would be hung like doves.

The leadership prowess depicted by both leaders served the good of the people. The leaders having acknowledged the protection of the gods throughout their leadership enrooted the religious culture into the people. A good leader should be willing to make sacrifices putting the followers' interests in mind. Aeneas serves as a good example when he decides to leave his beloved Dido. This decision was regretful and hurt both people but he had to give up on their relationship for his people who needed to have a new Troy and a place to settle. Acknowledging the divine power and following commands is necessary as well. It is through divine power that a leader is assured of protection and a successful course of leadership.

Works Cited

Akcay, Nilufer. "The Goddess Athena as Symbol of Phronesis in Porphyry’s On the Cave of the Nymphs." The International Journal of the Platonic Tradition 12.1 (2018): 1-12.

Campbell, Edward H. "Homer’s Odyssey Book 17." (2019): 45-55.

Kochenash, Michael. "You Can't Hear “Aeneas” without Thinking of Rome." Journal of Biblical Literature 136.3 (2017): 667-685.

Perkell, Christine. "Vergil's Aeneid: From Defeated Trojans to Imperial Romans." A Companion to World Literature (2020): 1-11.

Wilson, Emily. "Homer. The Odyssey." (2018):56.

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Leadership in Mythology: A Comparative Analysis of Aeneas and Odysseus - a Free Essay Example. (2024, Jan 08). Retrieved from https://speedypaper.com/essays/leadership-in-mythology-a-comparative-analysis-of-aeneas-and-odysseus-a-free-essay-example

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