Telemakhos In Homer's Odyssey

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The suitors for Penelope’s hand in marriage, despite having been present since Telemakhos was extremely young, have one lasting impact on his life by the end of the epic. The opportunity to have this impact presents itself when Telemakhos is told by Mentes to leave for mainland Greece in order to seek news of his father in Book II. Antinoos suggests that it wouldn’t be wise for Telemakhos to go, saying “I rather think he will be sitting here a long time yet, that seafaring he spoke of is beyond him” (2.267-268). Antinoos line is interesting because of the way he makes uses of the words “I rather think”. On the one hand he is making a derogatory remark towards Telemakhos — that the voyage to Pylos and Sparta is “beyond him”— however he is also…show more content…
In the same vein, Odysseus journey after Troy is brought into being after he — perhaps directly, or perhaps by association with many of the other Greeks — disobeys the gods’ will by committing a multitude of war crimes after being let into the city. During his conversation with Telemakhos, Nestor reveals that when the Greeks got into Troy, “we plundered Priam’s town and tower and took to the ships” (3.140-141), showing that by the time that the lust of battle had faded and Troy had been “plundered”, it was too late to prevent the gods’ anger, so the Greeks “took to the ships”, attempting to run from what they now realized were crimes against a city some of the gods themselves had fought for. Because of these actions that the Greeks took in direct defiance of the gods’ will, they were sent punishment on their voyage home. In Odysseus case, this involved an additional twenty year detour, or journey, that was created by his…show more content…
The way that this is done emphasizes the importance of gender roles in the world of the Odyssey. Men are encouraged to forge their own path and journey to distant lands. Women, however, are required to stay at home and out of the public sphere of life. In the first set of examples analyzed above, both Odysseus and Telemakhos are glorified, and even though Telemakhos’ journey of this sort is the only one shown in the text, required to go on such a journey to become a real man. Odysseus journey is the basis for an epic, and Telemakhos journey is a miniature epic in and of itself. The exploits of both father and son are rewarded with limitless kleos, similar to the heroes of the Trojan War such as Akhilleus. The application of this theme to women in the text is completely different. Aristotle wrote that, “The glory of a woman is silence”, meaning if a woman is talked about publicly it is always bad, and the text seems to strongly agree with that statement. A classic case of this is the text’s view on Helen. Helen decided that she didn’t want to be married to Menelaos and set out on a journey to improve her life, and because of that she is made into perhaps the greatest villain in all of Greek mythology. Kalypso, on the other hand, does the opposite, and stays, just as instructed, on her island. Her situation is limited in terms of improvement

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