Homer’s epic, The Odyssey, focuses on Odysseus and his journey home to his family; however, Telemakhos’s journey to find his father is individually important. Telemakhos is crucial to the themes of The Odyssey as he plays a key role in Odysseus’s home and family, and displays the unique, yet universal search for identity.
Major themes of The Odyssey are the loss of, search for, and rebuilding of home and family. Without Telemakhos, Odysseus’s home and family would not be complete. There is importance in the child of a family, especially an eldest son in the world of the Akhaians. Penelope laments, “Aye, ‘tis for him I weep, more than his father!” when she finds out that Telemakhos has left home (Homer IV, 872). Home and family are reliant upon one another; if the family is not whole, then the home is not either. The absence of Odysseus in Ithaka is devastating, but the absence of Telemakhos is seen as worse to Penelope. Telemakhos plays an integral role in the family as he is the one who will carry on the line of his father, keeping the family line and home unbroken.
Patrimony is a key aspect of home and family, as inheritance means the continuation of both. Telemakhos’s patrimony from his father is not only Odysseus’s material possessions, but his virtuous traits and values as well. This is of such importance that the goddess, Athena herself, urges Telemakhos to take back what should be his from the suitors (Homer I, 318-50). Although she knows that Odysseus will get back before Telemakhos does, she sends him on this journey to shape him into a leader worthy of succeeding Odysseus.
Telemakhos’s journey to find his father is actually a journey to find himself. In the beginning of the epic, Telemakhos is unsure of himself and whether or not he is even Odysseus’s son, telling Athena, “My mother says I am...