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Isn't it pretty?

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

More on the Odyssey

Was Odysseus a good leader? I have to wonder if he was really a leader at all. Don't leaders have to lead someone? By the time Odysseus gets back to Ithaka, he is all by himself, because his "followers" managed to get themselves all killed off. I would have to say that if Odysseus saw himself as a leader to those men, he was a miserable failure. I have to wonder about how Homer wanted to portray Odysseus in the first place. Is Odysseus supposed to be seen as a hero? He is always crying, and lying and begging and taking. Those don't sound much like heroic qualities to me. I had the same problem with Achilleus in the Iliad, I didn't find his values particularly inspiring. He goes crying to his mother in the very first book, and later he lets his best friend go get killed because he is too busy pouting about his loss of honor. In the vein that nothing ever changes, I think these "heroes" are really celebrities - they have great stories, and can enthrall people they see with their charisma and charm, they are constantly give the royal treatment, and lots of gift and "honor." But when you look at who they really are, the shell falls away and they really are people who care very much about their glory and not much else. Why did it take Odysseus so long to get home? I think he liked the attention of so many people trying to hold him. It made him feel important. He was horrible, and the people who he had a lot of contact with, while they were blinded to it, suffered from it. His son grew up without a father, his wife was bothered by those stupid suitors for years, his mother was driven into an early grave, and he wasn't even up front with his father. How many celebrities today treat their families in similar ways? So, I feel like Homer might have been giving us the inside scoop on a movie star, while they have a certain "glory," they don't really have it all inside. Maybe that is why they need the glory.

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