Hero or leader? Which do you prefer? I have tried to present it with the light of Homer’s Iliad.
Those who have not even gone through ancient Greek literature still have heard about Homer’s epic poem Iliad. The Iliad have had an enormous effect on the western culture.
Leadership is a process which is upholded by a leader, where a person influences others to fulfill an objective. He directs in an organized and logical way. In simple words, an individual influencing a group of individuals to achieve a common goal.
Now let us know what according to Homer constitutes a successful leader.
He believes the bravery to assert one’s opinions and the urge to act independently even against authority, constitutes a successful leader.
In classical sense, the hero not only goes on dangerous adventures or wars to protect the whole but also has immense courage and bravery. He possesses extraordinary mental faculties and physical abilities. A hero does not have to lead followers.
Homer’s Iliad is a primary epic. An epic hero is a man whose fortune is brought about by his own admired qualities. The Iliad contains these larger- than- life heroes and their brave deeds. A hero is someone who puts others before himself.
SIMILARITIES AND DIFFERENCES
Both leaders and heroes have unparalleled courage to deny the wrong. To do what is right, to go above the call of duty and accomplish harrowing charges.
Both hero and leader is a person who is admired or idealized for bravery, courage, outstanding achievements or noble qualities. However, the ingredient that is missing here is that a hero is not asked to influence. Nor does he has to gain trust. He does not even have to set the example.
Often times a hero is a leader. It is not necessary that a leader should also be a hero.
REALITY AND HOMER’S ILIAD
Classical people prioritised dignity at first and rather would choose to die than losing self-respect. In Iliad, Achilles, is the son of a mortal man and a Goddess, the greatest of Greek warriors. This man of great beauty, strength, courage and skill in battle and a hero, nevertheless possessed two flaws. He quit from the Trojan war due to his wrath as his war gift was taken away. Lose of control over emotion! Due to rage he did not think about the consequence of it. Thus, demoralising the armies is a major drawback of leadership quality. A positive attitude in all circumstances and the way a leader tackles situations stands as an example for all.
A good leader must be able to take decisions spontaneously at any circumstance. It is not necessary for him to be honest all the time as at the end what matters is his win by hook or crook. Agamemnon, leader of the Greek army in the Trojan War of Homer’s Iliad sacrificed his daughter Iphigenia by not getting overwhelmed by his emotions. He did so to please God when his troops were in the mouth of death due to unfavourable weather conditions. He might be an arrogant being and does not uphold the qualities of a hero but upholded the qualities of a leader.
A positive attitude of a leader matters a lot in all situations. King Priam approached Achilles, with humble request for his son’ Hector’s dead body to Achilles, the killer of his son.
The life of a hero is definitely different from that of a common man. He does good for the sake of being good and nothing in return.
Hector controlled his emotional outburst when his wife refused him to go to the battlefield. He couldn’t only think about himself as thousands of people were also sacrificing their life.
Hector fought for his father, his own self and for his nation’s glory. He proved his mental stability in all circumstances as a son, brother, hero, leader and as a human being. He ensured his wife’s safety incase of his death.
It is hard to imagine leaders without followers. They have daily responsibilities for their groups. They operate in the light.
Heroes do not require followers. We do not need to know them. They sacrifice. They operate in the dark.
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