The Journey Of Telemachus

’s Ma Essay, Research Paper

The Journey Of Telemachus s Manhood

Telemachus is the son of Odysseus and Penelope. After twenty years of his father s absence, Telemachus is advised to seek out information as to his fathers whereabouts, which he does in the courts of his fathers’ friends: Menelaus and Nestor. Although Telemachus is just a boy when we are introduced to his character, he makes the transition from a boy into a man, and that man is one day going to be a reflection of his father, Odysseus.

Telemachus leaves on a journey to Pylos, the stately citadel of Neleus, to find information on his fathers’ whereabouts. At the house of Nestor, the tamer of horses, Telemachus shares wine and sacrifices to the Gods that he may accomplish his task and get home safely afterwards. After the sacrificing is completed Nestor asks where he is from and why he is here. Telemachus replies We are from Ithaca, which lies at Neion s foot, and have come on private not public, business. I am searching through the length and breadth of the land for any news that I can pick up of my royal father, the gallant Odysseus. When King Nestor hears that Telemachus is Odysseus s son, he is more than willing to help him, however the only information that he can give to him is that his father is alive on the island of the nymph Calypso. The most important issue that King Nestor brings up is that Menelaus and Helen have just arrived from a remote region that even the birds cannot make the passage in a year’s time.

That morning, after King Nestor and Telemachus had their fill of wine and food, King Nestor announced his wishes. Fetch Telemachus a pair of horses and harness them to a chariot so that he can be getting on his way. And so Telemachus and Peisistratus came to the rolling lands of Lacedaemon, deep in the hills, and drove up to the palace of Menelaus. When they arrived at Menelaus s palace, there was a great feast in progress celebrating his children s impeding weddings. Telemachus and Peisistratus were received warmly and given seats of honor in the banquet hall. While eating, Menelaus refers to his lost friend many times and through this mentioning of his father Telemachus begins to weep. Menelaus observed him and was left in deep embarrassment, not knowing whether he should wait for the young man himself to mention his father or should he cross-examine him forthwith. While Menelaus is contemplating these feelings, Helen comes down and recognizes Telemachus as Odysseus s son. The two guests then explain who they are and their mission, however they decide not to discuss matters until morning. In the morning Menelaus tells Telemachus what he already knows about his father, that he is on the nymph Calypso s island.

The goddess Athene goes to Telemachus at Menelaus s palace and urges him to hasten his departure from Lacedaemon. Telemachus, she said, it is wrong of you to linger abroad and leave your property unguarded with such a rabble in the place. When morning came Telemachus and Peisistratus thank Menelaus for his hospitality but tell him that they need to be on their way. Menelaus lets them leave but first they are to receive many gifts. When they are receiving the gifts an eagle came flying through carrying in its great talons a white goose from the yard. Helen explains this omen as Just as this eagle came flying down from his native mountains and pounced on our goose, so shall Odysseus, after many hardships and many wanderings, reach his home and have his revenge. Telemachus is warned by Athene about the plots that the suitors have against him therefore he had his men drop anchor off the coast and he is rowed to Ithaca on a small raft.

Telemachus has now become a man, worthy of his heroic father and of the patronage of Athene, and is capable of taking his place at the side of Odysseus in the coming struggle against the suitors. When Telemachus arrives on shore he goes straight to Eumaeus s house, to see how his mother and the rest of the estate have been since he left. He asks Eumaeus who and where his guest is from, Eumaeus replies that his guest is a man from Crete. However Eumaeus asks that Telemachus deal with the man as he likes, because the beggar wants to throw himself on his mercy. Telemachus s reply is: I will fit him out in a good cloak and tunic, give him a two-edged sword and sandals for footwear, and see that he reaches his destination however I will not permit him to come down to the palace and meet the suitors. For their brutality goes beyond all bounds. Telemachus provides a glimpse of his newfound authority and hospitality through this statement to Eumaeus. He then tells Eumaeus to take a message to his mother for him.

While Eumaeus is away Odysseus, the guest from Crete, tells Telemachus that he is his long lost father. Telemachus does not believe him and thinks that he is a God. Believe me, I am no god. But I am your father, on whose account you have endured so much sorrow and trouble and suffered persecution at men s hands . After the exchanges of stories from the two men they decide how to avenge his fathers name and kill the suitors. Telemachus is astonished at the idea that Odysseus and he are going to kill all one hundred and twelve of the suitors. In the morning Telemachus returns to the town and calls upon his mother.

In the morning after Telemachus leaves, Eumaeus and Odysseus leave to meet him at the palace. When they arrive Telemachus provides Odysseus with a place to sit and some food, and gives him permission to beg from the guests. Take this food and give it to the newcomer. And tell him to go the rounds himself and beg from each of the company in turn. All the suitors give him something except for their leader, Antinous, who reviles Odysseus and hits him with a footstool. Odysseus curses Antinous which arouses the other suitors to start to quarrel. Telemachus has to intervene to stop Antinous from fighting Odysseus because he did not give him food. Later he calls the nurse Eurycleia and asks her to shut up the womenfolk until he has stowed away his father s arms in the store room.

Penelope had told the suitors that if they could bend Odysseus s bow that she would marry one of them. Telemachus tries to string the bow and on the fourth time he would have strung it but his father moved as if to say no, not today. And the fourth time he put such pressure on the bow that he might well have strung it yet, if Odysseus had not put an end to his attempts with a shake of his head. With the end of the contest Odysseus asks if he can try to string the bow and they let him try however he succeeds. With that the suitors attack him and Telemachus however they are ready for the fight. As you have said, dear father, in this present mood of mine your line will not be put to shame by me. You shall see that for yourself. During the fighting Telemachus proves that he is a great warrior to himself and to his father.

At the end of The Odyssey Telemachus has reached a point in his life that will allow him to carry on the line of his father without disgracing him. Throughout the story Telemachus ages and matures and finally becomes a man that his father is proud of. The flourishing of Telemachus provides the knowledge that he is Odysseus s rightful son.


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