Ideas in Antiquity--Leadership in the Ancient World: From Telemachus to T'Challa

Week Ten: Naked Ambition

This week we will read a short but rich story by the 20th-century Argentine writer, Jorge Luis Borges. This will be an opportunity for us to think more closely about what motivates someone to seek a leadership role. As this story illustrates, sometimes the drive to lead may be synonymous with the drive to dominate others.

Session One

Assignment: Read Parts 1-5 on this link to "El Muerto" ("The Dead Man") and complete the assignment described in Part 3 and Part 5 (you may read in Spanish here if you are interested).

Session Two

Complete Parts 6-8 on this link to "El Muerto".

"El Muerto" is an opportunity for us to think about why someone seeks a leadership role. Assignment: make a list of all the leaders we have discussed so far in this class. What is your best guess for why they seek their own leadership role, i.e., what was their motivation and what is the evidence for your conclusion (cite specific passages)? (Note: you may suggest more than one motive for each leader.) What do you feel are your own motives to lead and how have you discovered these motives over time?