, Research Paper
From that which I have learned and can infer, the character of Telemachus, is one which to date, is attributed with great controversy concerning the societal definitions of maturity. In Homer’s Odyssey, Telemachus almost on the borderline of “cracking up.” The first sections other characters are still treating him much like a child, and in many respects, Telemachus still acts like one. The relationship between Telemachus and his father are shown in the first few books. When the time Odysseus left his wife and Telemachus, Telemachus was still an infant. But after he grew up, Athena acts as a mentor to him to search his father.
In the case of Telemachus, his emotions shaped his well being. For example, had it not been for Athena giving him confidence, by no means would he ever have thought of taking such a voyage, hence, Telemachus would have never participated in his “final test” against the suitors either. His sorrow and anger from the loss of his father and his mother constantly being attacked and proposed to by suitors were also driving forces towards his journey. Some of these are brought out in different situations, both positive and negative, such as Menalaus’s mention of his father, which caused a sudden out-burst of tears, and the proud and accomplished feeling he received from leaving Sparta.
Odysseus’s situation was only slightly different. He, like Telemachus had his worries about family-life, and his kingdom at stake, but also had concerns about his wife, possibly triggered by the mention of Agamemnon’s by Proteus, who was killed by the hands of his own wife. These factors probably had taken their toll on Odysseus.
At the same time he had the wrath of Poseidon to contend with. Another factor which could have also lead to this distress could have been his visit to the underworld, and in his entire journey, losing friends and comrades regularly.
For Telemachus as well, his goal was to reach a level of adulthood and to stand by his father’s side, to mature into a man, and most importantly to gain respect, and to withhold and protect family. This happened when at first Athena inspired him to go in search of his father. At that stage he was an inactive, and boyish young prince. When the challenges rose, however, Telemachus rose to meet those challenges. His first items of business were to set the suitors straight at home. Although he was not completely effective, he surprised them a great deal with his authority, and even his own mother in later books. That proved that Telemachus was gaining a new awareness, not only about his father, but also about the kingdom, his mother, and the role he needed to partake. By the end of his long emotional journey, Telemachus realized what it took to be a man, which could not have been possible without his escapades to Pylos and Sparta.
In The Odyssey, Homer created a parallel for readers, between Odysseus and Telemachus, father and son. Telemachus was supposedly learning the role of his father, the king of Ithaca, to follow in the footsteps. The two are compared in the poem from every aspect. However, in analyzing The Odyssey, one may also presume that Homer had not intended for the Telemachus to be as great a hero as his father had. This may be due to the fact that, for example, he never had a Trojan War to fight, his setting is in a time of peace unlike his father’s, and more notably- although matured, Telemachus never really learned true leadership or chivalry as did his father. Homer has presented the world with poetry so unique and classic, so outstanding and awesome, that generations to come will challenge themselves interpreting them until the end of time.