HOW EFFECTIVE A LEADER DO YOU CONSIDER AENEAS TO BE?
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Tosin Abdullai HOW EFFECTIVE A LEADER DO YOU CONSIDER AENEAS TO BE? On meeting Aeneas for the first time, he appears to be in a very vulnerable situation as he is the middle of a storm. This is emphasized the phrase, "his limbs grew weak" as it puts forward the fact that Aeneas, despite his power and status is like every other normal human being. My first speculation on whether or not Aeneas is a good leader comes from the use of the word "I". In his first speech he says, "Why could I not have fallen to your right hand and breathed out my life on the plains of Troy". Here, although Aeneas is in suffering with all his men, he is selfishly regretting the option of dying a heroic death in the battle of Troy, as it would lead to him to be a figure of great history. This in my opinion does not qualify Aeneas as a good leader, as his actions can be perceived to be self- centred. Contrary to my first perception of Aeneas, is his sense of dedication. Through this, a positive sign of leadership is presented to us on his arrival "on the coast of Libya".
The language used in this speech reflects Aeneas as a Homeric hero, similar to other great warriors, such as Achilles. "He would wage a great war in Italy and crush the fierce tribes". The use of the word, crush, emphasizes Aeneas' power, might and fearlessness over their enemies. Considering the time in which the poem was written, Aeneas would have been a figure of great gratitude due to the fact that he is the preserver of the Trojan race. One can argue that the wiping out of this so- called "fierce tribes" is disadvantageous on the path of Aeneas' character as it presents him as inconsiderate. This is because he himself has experienced such misfortune of losing a homeland and should therefore not be the person to deprive others of theirs. Aeneas makes his cautious nature in the book 1 which, informs us about his concern for the security of his men and himself. "They burned with longing to clasp the hands of their comrades..., but stayed hidden in their cloak of cloud.' This emphasizes his cleverness, as he is able to withhold his feelings and emotions in case of any danger. In this instance, while Aeneas is hidden in his Venus' fog, he confirms the possibility of any safety and help from Dido by examining "Antheus, Sergestus, brave Cloanthus and the other Trojans", as they have come to "plead their case".
Also, once more, we are faced with this selfish thinking of dying a heroic death, not with the intentions of saving the land, but the desire to be remembered in history. Finally, Aeneas unfair treatment and little consideration for the safety and well- being of his wife, Creusa counts as a disadvantage on his path as a good leader, as it makes evident his injustice and biased nature. "Young Iulus can walk by my side and my wife can follow in my footsteps at a distance". This is because he is prepared to treat his father, Anchises and son, Ascanius with more respect and love, probably due to the fact that they have a form of blood linkage or rather, the fact that Creusa is a woman. As expected, Creusa is lost in the escape route is "never seen again". In conclusion, I particularly think that Virgil succeeds in presenting a good leader, as he is able to take responsibilities for all his actions no matter the enormity. This view of mine is exemplified by the fact that Aeneas is able to admit and also tell a true tale of all his mistakes to Dido, bearing in mind that he is trying to win over her sympathy and also the fact that she is going to draw a conclusion on his character based on his past history.
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