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The Maturation Of Telemachus Essay

1270 words - 5 pages

The Maturation of Telemachus In the first book of Homer's The Odyssey, we are introduced to Odysseus' son, Telemachus. It is here we learn of Odysseus' troubles and the situation regarding his estate and those who are presently inhabiting it. What the reader is allowed to witness right from the start, is the beginnings of Telemachus' transformation, from a child to an adult.This maturation, from boyhood to manhood, is first sparked by an encounter with Athena. To Telemachus, Athena is Mentes, the lord of Taphian men who love their oars. Athena, or Mentes as Telemachus knows her, is looking for Odysseus and asks of his whereabouts. When struck with the news that he is nowhere to be found she instills hope in young Telemachus. "He won't be gone long from the native land that he loves, not even if iron shackles bind your father down. He's plotting a way to journey home at last; he's never at a loss." (Fagles, Book 1, 235). After sharing this news with Telemachus, Athena urges him to round up the suitors the following morning and heed a warning. Athena proceeds to tell Telemachus of his adventure that lies ahead. Calling the gods to witness, Telemachus is instructed to tell the suitors to scatter and go to their own homes. It is a plan that Telemachus must follow through with in order to find out the truth regarding his father's whereabouts and condition. In another attempt to instill motivation in Telemachus Athena questions him regarding his present stage in life; "You must not cling to your boyhood any longer-it's time you were a man." (Fagles, Book 1, 341). In response to the stranger's advice, Telemachus confronts the suitors the following morning and advises them to leave. This is Telemachus' first step towards manhood. Although the reader knows that he has the support of Athena, Telemachus himself does not. His ability to stand up for and defend his beliefs is a small step towards manhood, but, only the beginning. After confronting the suitors, many, particularly Antinous, talk back to Telemachus and try to blame Penelope for their delayed inhabitance of his home. Refusing to listen to the ideas of the suitors, Telemachus, again encouraged by a family friend, named Mentor (Athena in disguise), decides to set sail to Troy, to ultimately visit some of his father's friends. It is this decision to set sail that is Telemachus' second step in his maturing process.For a boy (because that's essentially what he is) to take it upon himself to set sail for Pylos would be like myself taking the family car and driving cross country. In my case it might be ludicrous but in Telemachus' case, it is a sign of bravery. It is his willingness to endure the hardships of sailing in order to gain knowledge regarding Odysseus, that shows the audience he is growing into adulthood, he is taking matters into his own hands. Instead of waiting for his father to come home and watch as the suitors eat him out of house and home, Telemachus decides to take the initiative and...

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