Quest For Pride Essay, Research Paper
Quest for Pride
Pride is a central theme throughout many epics and novels. For any heroic character to succeed in their quest they must have a strong sense of inner pride. In many cases the hero does not already have that pride, but obtains it through the obstacles set before them. If pride is not obtained, the hero will fail. In the epic The Odyssey, Odysseus has already obtained his sense of inner pride. Therefore, the quest for inner pride is seen through Telemachos.
In the beginning of The Odyssey, we find Telemachos is living in the shadow of his father. He has a proud history, but no pride to draw upon for himself. The suitors are able to walk all over him and bring shame to his father s dwellings because Telemachos, although he wishes he was stronger does not believe in himself. It is not until the goddess Athene disguised as commoner, plants the seed in his mind that if truly is the son of Odysseus that he will be able to find a way to kill all the suitors for disgracing him and his family.
“….next you must consider in your hear an spirit by some means by which you can kill the suitors who are in your household, by treachery or open attack. You should not go on clinging to your childhood. You are no longer of age to do that. Or have you not heard what glory was won by great Orestes among all mankind, when he killed the murderer of his father” (pg34, line294).
Athene gives Telemachos an example of what he must do when she gives him the example of Orestes. It is now that he must stand up and stop living in his childhood and become his own man, discover his own pride.
Through Telemachos voyages, the sense that the gods smile upon him in a way that few are looked upon, and his success in helping kill off the suitors, he finds the pride he has been longing for. This foreshadowing of Telemachos becoming his own man is seen before his voyage, when Athene gives him words to take with him. “Telemachos, you are to be no thoughtless man, no coward, if truly the strong force of your father is instilled in you” (pg46, line 270). Telemachos goes and his voyage where he is received by all he visits with the greatest of respect. Then, by the warning of Athene, another blessing from the gods, alludes the trap set for him by the suitors. Finally, he is able to battle along side his father and strike down all the suitors who have tormented his soul for so long. These events have instilled in Telemachos a sense of his own inner pride to draw from now.
It is in the final battle preparation that the completion of Telemachos own pride is seen, and his character has now become strong like that of his father s. This recognition comes from Odysseus father. “What day this is for me, dear gods? I am very happy. My son and my son s son are contending over their courage” (pg358, line 514). From his new found pride Telemachos has found it him to express courage as great as his father s, never to doubt himself again. “You will see dear father, if you wish, that as far as my will goes, I will not shame my blood that comes from you” (pg358,
line511). Telemachos quest is over now that his pride comes from directly within him, and he no longer must dwell as his father s son, but now he is his own man.
Pride is a central theme in all powerful characters. It is the drive that comes from within and gives strength and courage to whomever possesses it. Pride can be looked at from many different angles, whether it be defending ones pride from another, or a soon to be hero s quest for pride it remains an integral part of all epics. In the epic The Odyssey, the quest for pride is seen through Telemachos, and the changes he goes through from the beginning of the story, to his strong character in the end.
Works Cited Page
1. Lattimore, Richmond, The Odyssey of Homer,
HarperCollins Publishers, 1967