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Telemakhos Maturation Essay

894 words - 4 pages

1WrightChris WrightMayerEnglish 2, Period 33 November 2014Telemakhos's TransformationHomer's, The Odyssey recounts Telemakhos's growth from a quiet, fatherless and unassertive youth, being controlled by his mother's suitors invading his house into a man worthy of standing next to his father in life and in combat. The goddess Athena guides Telemakhos and assists him in his journey to adulthood. Homer's notion of becoming a man involves taking risks to bring honor to one's self and family. Telemakhos's journey demonstrates how a Greek boy becomes a Greek man. Becoming a man involves leaving a dependent state and entering an independent one with freedom of choice. Each risk advances an ability to build courage and enhance his self-identity. The ancient Greek society emphasized taking bigger risks to prove one's worth and maturity. Telemakhos embodies these characteristics as he matures into a man. Before a Greek boy can become a man, he must first severe dependence as a child. By seeking independence, he is exposed to the dangers and challenges represented by making one's own decisions. As a boy, Telemakhos is dependent on the prospect of his father's return to handle the risk displayed by the suitors. However, when the disguised Athena urges Telemakhos to seek news of his father and make a name for himself, she encourages him to oppose the suitors and take a risk: "be brave-you, too-and men in times to come / will speak of you respectfully" (10). Athena's guidance is a catalyst for Telemakhos's urge of independence. While Athena does not force Telemakhos to gain independence, she assists Telemakhos in the decision process. As a result of his encounter with the disguised Athena, Telemakhos rejects his previously childish behavior and pursues independence: "I will sail to sandy Pylos, then to Sparta, / to see what news there is" (29). Independence from the safety of home and all he has ever known exposes Telemakhos to the hazards and challenges outside of childhood. Unfamiliar with endangerment, Telemakhos's growth into manhood rests on his ability to use his independence to find self-identity.Independence fosters the freedom of choice, needed to take risks and build confidence. Risk-taking allows a Greek boy to develop confidence and gain self-identity. The transitional period before adulthood acts as a layering process of confidence building actions before a Greek boy can becomes an adult. Prior to meeting King Nestor, Telemakhos is naturally fearful of taking a risk that jeopardizes his reputation because he is not yet a man: "Mentor, how can I do it, how approach him?" (36). Afraid of the potential negative outcome represented by the king, Telemakhos falters and relies on Athena to support him and give him guidance. In response to...

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