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Q3 Summative Essay: Leadership

(The Odyssey and Oedipus Rex)

The Prompt
What Makes Someone a Leader?
Define what makes a true leader. Then use

text evidence to argue to what extent Odysseus and

Oedipus Rex meet or do not meet those requirements.
You may also incorporate personal experiences into your
ESSAY Requirements:
Essay Components:
Introduction (hook, background info, THESIS
3 body paragraphs
super duper clear topic sentence that obviously
connects to the thesis
relevant textual evidence with lead-ins,
transitions, and sourcing (parenthetical or embedded citations
thorough and insightful analysis (you can play
around with the S/M/M order if youre ready)
Conclusion (revisit major claims, wrap up with an
insightful/thought-provoking closer, so what? connection to our world today)
Works Cited page (this will be provided for you)
Writing Focus Areas (in order of importance):
super duper coherent organization (thesis topic
sentences matters)
effective use of transitions and varied lead-ins
sufficient analysis (dont just stop at 1 matters if what you have
to say isnt finished)
absolutely NO sentence fragments or otherwise obvious errors in
sentence structure, spelling, capitalization, etc. Did I mention that this is
varied sentence structure
appropriate word choice (diction)
The Nuts and Bolts
What specific components do I need to include?
*MLA (header, heading, double space)
*12 pt. Times New Roman/Blue or black ink
*must include a minimum of 6 separate pieces of quoted textual evidence
*3rd person (he, she, they, the people, society, an individual, etc. No I, Me, We)

*Dont announce anything! Let your analysis do the talking!

*all brainstorming and building blocks are completed on time (FA)
*meets submission deadline (SEVERE penalty for late submissions) to BOTH G. Classroom & Turnitin

Juliana Hwang
Mr. Girba
English 1H/Period 4
7 April 2016
Failure In Leadership

Glory. Honor. Power. These are just a few of the countless emotions an individual of high
power would receive after accomplishing a deed that benefited their people. Their faces would be
known to many, appearing on TV ads, interviews, and even a book.Yet, what makes these
individuals so valuable to the community? Some may argue that these individuals were already a
part of the spotlight, or were helped by another acclaimed individual to achieve fame. But,
sometimes thats not the case. Its how they were able to lead the population out of a conflict, or
into an improved environment. Great leaders influence those around them, giving individuals a
chance to express their opinions and show their concerns. However, there are some situations
where the leader makes a decision, and it ends up as a failure. Odysseus from Homers the
Odyssey, and Oedipus from Sophocles Oedipus Rex, both began as heroes, and were destined to
become great leaders, but they slowly deteriorated as a result of pride, desire, and denial.
An element that results in a failure of leadership would be pride. Such examples can be
shown in the epic, the Odyssey. According to Odysseus, he states, Cyclops, if ever mortal man
inquire how you were put to shame and blinded, tell him Odysseus, raider of cities, took your
eye: Laertes son, whose homes on Ithaca(Homer 284-287). In the quote, it describes a scene
after Odysseus and his men escape the Cyclops, Polyphemus, with Odysseus blatantly telling the
Cyclops how he was the man that blinded him, and where he was from.This then displays how
pride reduces Odysseuss consciousness towards leadership. A true leader should not allow such
pride to interfere for it can lead to consequences that would not only affect them, but those who
follow. Such consequences can include the endangerment of an individuals companions,
something Odysseus does not see as he taunted Polyphemus. The blind thing in his doubled fury
broke a hilltop in his hands and heaved it after us. Ahead of our black prow it struck and sank
whelmed in a spuming geyser, a giant wave that washed the ship stern foremost back to

shore[...](263-267). The context exhibits an example to how Odysseus endangered his men as a
result of pride. If a leader becomes succumbed to the idea of expressing their greatness to their
enemies, what good is to actually helping them? It would only infuriate the opposing side, as
seen through Polyphemus, and target those that were involved. A leaders own pride can
essentially lead to the downfall of his companions, therefore, showing pride is a result of a
failure in leadership.
The tragic play, Oedipus Rex, also contains pride as a result in insufficient authority. In
this particular scene, Oedipus is in the middle of an argument with Teiresias. He then says, But I
came, Oedipus, who knew nothing and I stopped her. I solved the riddle by my own wit alone.
Mine was no knowledge got from birds(Sophocles 460-463). The quote describes Oedipus
directly stating how he was the one that saved Thebes from the Sphinx. This presents how
Oedipuss leadership skills are decreasing due to his own pride and illuminating how Oedipus
perceives himself; however, a true leader shouldnt be caught up in self-absorption, but focus on
whats occurring presently. He would also use these sort of experiences to guide them if the next
challenge has a similar plot. Yet, Oedipus doesnt use his heroic acts for reference, but more to
brag and defend himself against those that go against him. But I account myself a child of
Fortune, beneficent Fortune, and I shall not be dishonored(Sophocles 1236-1238). For this
reason, Oedipuss leadership towards the problem proves to be unsuccessful, showing pride can
be the result of a leaders own egotistical behavior, pushing them farther away to knowing what a
true leader is.
Not only pride resulted in Odysseuss shrinkage of leadership, but what he desired also
had a role. In the context, it says, Now Circe, loveliest of all immortals, persuades Odysseus to
stay with her. Odysseus shares her meat and wine, and she restores his heart(Fitzgerald 675).

The quote illustrates a scene after Odysseus was able to resist Circes sorcery, who eventually
had to release his men, but not without something in return. Circe would then tempt Odysseus to
stay, in which he complied, consequently spending some time with her. From this, it shows an
importance to how desire would lead Odysseus away from being a true leader. A leader should be
focused on the task at hand, rather than letting distractions get in the way. Leader is able focus on
the things at stake and ignore outside interventions. This not only allows them to get the work
done faster, but also shows how resistant these leaders can be to things that an average person
may comply to. But in this case, Odysseus completely forgets about his duty, and gives in to his
desires. After many seasons of feasting and other pleasures, Odysseus and his men beg Circe to
help them return home(Fitzgerald 675). The quotation serves as an example to how Odysseuss
desires left him wasting almost a years worth of time, preventing him from accomplishing his
responsibilities to leading his men back home. That is to say, desire is able to distract leaders
from their objective, which causes a loss in authority.
Odysseus was not the only man to be corrupted by desire as Oedipus also faced the same
problem. Youre quick to speak, but I am slow to grasp you, for I found you dangerous, ---and
my foe(Sophocles 629-630). In the quote, it portrays a part after Teiresias leaves the palace.
Oedipus, twisted by the words of the blind prophet, directly claims that Creon was the one who
murdered King Laius. This then illustrates how Oedipuss desires in finding the murderer causes
him to judge quickly. The situation Oedipus is in is quite similar to a court case. The victims
case is brought up to the judge, a so-called leader in a court of law who determines what will
happen to the accused assailant. The judge may act as the powerhouse in the court, but that
doesnt mean they have the ability to immediately find the assailant guilty. Throughout the case,
the judge would have to understand both point of views, and determine what will be the best

decision. Unlike the judge, Oedipus doesnt consider listening. Instead, he acts instead of think,
which doesnt lead to an understanding of the problem and those involved. If the judge were to
act just like Oedipus, it wouldnt have made the case fair or reliable to what truly happened, thus,
displaying how a leaders desire can can cause them to consider too quickly during certain
situations, therefore, showing a failure in leadership.
A final element that results in a failure of leadership would be denial shown through
Odysseuss intervention with the gods. As Polyphemus warns Odysseus of who his parentage, he
replies, If I could take your life I would and take your time away, and hurl you down to hell!
The god of earthquake could not heal you there(524-526). The quote depicts a scene where
Odysseus tells Polyphemus that he would end his life if he had the chance, also asserting how
Poseidon wouldnt have the ability to heal him in the Underworld. Therefore, the quote shows
how denying the power of the gods causes Odysseus to defer from his path to being a good
leader. In such epics, the gods play an important role in a leaders fate. The leader would have to
be aware of his own actions, especially when it involves divine beings. But in this case,
Odysseus denies of such awareness, not knowing what would happen to him and his men as they
leave the Cyclopes Island. When Odysseus and his men set sail again, they are punished with
death---a thunderbolt from Zeus destroys their boat, and all the men drown. Only Odysseus
survives(Fitzgerald 686). This illustrates the result of denying the power of the gods as all of
Odysseuss men were killed except him. With this in mind, denial would not only guide the
leader to a hard path with the gods, but also limit his ability to lead as a result.
Oedipus has also shown a lack in authority through denial as show in his conversation
with Teiresias. Is it endurable that I should hear such words from him? Go and a curse go with
you! Quick, home with you! Out of my house at once(Sophocles 502-504). In the quote, it

illustrates a scene after Teiresias tells Oedipus his fate, angering him as he tells the blind prophet
to leave. Through Oedipuss reaction to the prophecy, it displays how denying the truth can lead
him to become less of a leader. The truth hurts. This is a common phrase used when revealing
something unlikely. But, a true leader should accept the reality rather than something
imaginative. Learning the truth may be just as bad as getting hit by a baseball bat, but it allows
the leader to know what are his mistakes, and try to improve them. However, Oedipus doesnt
favor learning what really happened. He sent this rascal prophet to me, since he keeps his own
mouth clean of any guilt(Sophocles 811-812). The text also displays another example to
Oedipuss refusal by exemplifying his thoughts towards Creons decision to send Teiresias for
help, consequently showing how Oedipuss denial of the truth depicts his leadership
Odysseus and Oedipus started off as great leaders, but their leadership began to
deteriorate as a result of pride, which influenced these two men to only act upon their own
vanity, affecting not only themselves, but the people around them. It leads to the desires they
shared, which deviated the two from accomplishing their responsibilities and putting a setback
on their goals. Lastly, denial of certain truths or power of divine beings also proved Odysseus
and Oedipus to be inferior leaders. As a leader would continue to grow amongst the community,
he must also shows the community that, as a leader, he is capable of making the environment a
better place.Yet, although a leader is praised for his accomplishments, there are times when his
decisions does not benefit the population. The leaders decision is based on a variety of causes,
therefore, similar to how Odysseus and Oedipus were also once good leaders, but any leader can
deteriorate as a result of pride, desire, and denial.