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09/13/2009

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I confess that your perspective on Odysseus and leadership is completely new to me and gives me even more to think about in connection to this story! That's quite exciting. But another way to look at Odysseus's reaction when he finds himself in Ithaca is that he is a returning warrior who has been a long time away and who can't take anything for granted, not even his goddess. As (almost) always, he must show a heroic amount of self-control.

A returning soldier who has seen what soldiers see can't expect open arms and easy re-assimilation. The Odyssey is one of the best and earliest works to deal with this, and not just through Odysseus. He has to re-establish himself, meet and reach an understanding with his son (basically a stranger), and reconnect with his wife. It's what veterans face when they get home, only more so. This is what makes the next 10 books of the Odyssey so interesting, especially the final scenes with Penelope (who is no pushover). The reconciliation scene coming up is particularly subtle and complex.

You've already mentioned other homecomings (and failures to get home), but consider Odysseus-Penelope vs. Menelaos-Helen. Those two are amusingly estranged even in their re-established domesticity.

By the way, Mike, reading your postings is a pleasure, especially after I've spent many hours today reading Comp. 2 summary paragraphs, many of which weren't summaries or paragraphs...

I really enjoyed your rendition of Odysseus as the management leadership expert. His "downsizing" skills at the end of the epic, though, might have been a trifle brutal. I'm constructing a blog entry on this epic as a retelling of the RA story from Egypt. See here:
http://scribblebibble.blogspot.com/2011/01/menelaus-helen-in-book-4-of-odyssey.html

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