Compare Aeneas and Odysseus in Their Role As Leaders And Prospective Hero's?
Extracts from this essay...
Compare Aeneas and Odysseus in Their Role As Leaders And Prospective Hero's? Virgil's 'Aeneid' and Homer's 'Odyssey' are two very different stories, told from opposing viewpoints: that of the Trojans in 'The Aeneid,' and of the Greeks in 'The Odyssey.' The two leaders, Aeneas and Odysseus, that feature are therefore very different in their approach to leadership. However, despite their differences they both rise to the challenges set to them as true leaders. In each work, the first time the great leaders feature, the first impression given of each is hardly one of a strong leader and future hero. When we first meet the Greek hero, Odysseus, he is sitting on a rock despairing on the island of Ogygia, where the demi-goddess Calypso has kept him for eight years. He appears hopeless and defeated; not exactly typical leadership qualities. This mirrors the first appearance of Aeneas, except for the fact he is still amongst his own men, who is facing fierce sea storms ordered by the goddess Juno. He too is crying in desperation and appears to have lost all hope in his destiny: 'A sudden chill went through Aeneas and his limbs grew weak. Groaning, he lifted his hands palms upward to the stars and cried...'
He manages to contract a plan to escape from the Cyclops cave before any more of his rapidly deteriorating army are eaten. He is clearly very passionate for success and kleos, which was a typical Greek characteristic. It is no doubt that his respect for the heroic code would set a good example to fellow Greek warriors, as it is what was expected of them. He is therefore a good leader of the Greeks. Aeneas' character is much more thoughtful. He is a very pious man and does not allow himself to act spontaneously, unlike Odysseus who foolishly calls out his name boastfully as they leave the Cyclopes island (allowing him to be cursed!) This calm, careful authority was looked for in a true Trojan leader. Aeneas gives up his love Dido in order to fulfil his duty and destiny. There are only a couple of occasions where we see him act upon his heart rather than his head, the most distinctive being when he kills his Greek rival Turnus: '"Are you to escape me now, wearing the spoils stripped from the body of those I loved? By this wound which I now give, it is Pallas who makes sacrifice of you.
gates to man the walls, for these were the orders they had received form Aeneas, the greatest of warriors, as he left them: if anything should happen in his absence, they were not to dare take up position for a pitched battle or trust themselves to the plain, but only to stay and defend the camp and the walls.' It is clear that both are great leaders in their own rights and equally suited to their own race. 'The Aeneid' itself tells us that the Greeks were a much more scheming race and therefore the cunning, quick witted Odysseus is the ideal leader for their race. The Trojans on the other hand were a much more trusting city, as we see in their innocent but foolish acceptance of the scheming Sinon (he let the Greeks into Troy after gaining the Trojans sympathy and trust.) However, trust is not a downfall in Aeneas' case. It is this trust that allows him to be such a pious man; he takes the advice of the gods even if there is doubt in his mind. His fatherly care for his men and careful planning for war is ideally suited to the Trojan race. Both men live up to the reputations they have as great leaders, and each is successful in their quests. Louisa Sillem
Found what you're looking for?
- Start learning 29% faster today
- Over 150,000 essays available
- Just £6.99 a month
- Over 180,000 student essays
- Every subject and level covered
- Thousands of essays marked by teachers