Odysseus' Relationship with Telemachus in Homer's Odyssey

Length: 927 words (2.6 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Excellent
Open Document
Need writing help? Check your paper »

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Text Preview

More ↓
Odysseus' Relationship with Telemachus in Homer's Odyssey

Throughout the last books of The Odyssey Homer tells us how Odysseus restores his relationships with his friends and relatives at Ithaca. Perhaps one of the most revealing of these restoration episodes is Odysseus' re-encounter with his son, Telemachus. This re-encounter serves three main purposes. First, it serves to portray Telemachus' likeness to his father in the virtues of prudence, humility, patience, and planning. Secondly, it is Odysseus' chance to teach his son to be as great a ruler as Odysseus himself is. Lastly, Homer uses this re-encounter to emphasize the importance of a family structure to a society. To be able to understand the impact that this meeting had on Odysseus it is necessary to see that Telemachus has grown since his first appearances in the poem and obviously since his last contact with his father; Odysseus left Telemachus as an infant now their relationship is a man to man relationship rather than a man to child relationship.

Of the many proofs of Telemachus' maturation three are sufficient to render an accurate account of what virtues he gained. The gained virtues shown are courage, wisdom, and prudence. Courage is shown when Telemachus decides to go around Nestor's house rather than passing through it, for Telemachus goes out to sea knowing that an ambush awaits him. This wisdom is manifested in his knowledge that if he stops Nestor's hospitality will delay him even more. And prudence is shown in Telemachus' ability to control his desires for comfort in Nestor's house and his decision to endure hardship at sea. Next Telemachus' confidence and hospitality are shown when he takes in Theochlamenos the seer. In the beginning of the poem Telemachus is not confident enough in his ability to provide hospitality to Athena disguised as Mentor, but now Telemachus is happy to provide the seer with refuge. Another proof of Telemachus' virtues is his confidence in ordering his mother and her maids to comply with his will; their obedience shows us that he is worthy of respect. Thus Telemachus possesses the virtues necessary to be a ruler: courage, wisdom, prudence, confidence, and hospitality.

Now we come to the re-encounter of father and son.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Odysseus' Relationship with Telemachus in Homer's Odyssey." 123HelpMe.com. 17 Dec 2017
Title Length Color Rating  
Telemachus’ and Odysseus’ Learning Experience Essay - Throughout The Odyssey by Homer; Odysseus and Telemachus are faced with an extensive journey that leads them to profound development. At the beginning of the epic, Telemachus is a young boy and doesn’t know how to protect his home from the suitors that are attempting to pursue it. Odysseus has been gone for years, and was unable to teach his son how to be a leader or how to defend himself. Meanwhile, Odysseus has been on his journey home enduring all the obstacles of adventure, The Gods, and hardship....   [tags: athena, antinous, beggar]
:: 1 Works Cited
1729 words
(4.9 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
The Realtionship of a Father and Son in Homer’s Odyssey Essay - The Odyssey tells the story of Odysseus and his both literal and figurative journey home to Ithaka. When the great king, Odysseus travels to Troy on the account of war, many obstructions hinder him from returning home. During his absence, his deprivation of being a father to his son, Telemachus, causes great disappointment. Without a father, his son strives to grow and mature yet he has not the slightest idea of where to. However, as Telemachus struggles to reach manhood and his father struggles to return to Ithaka, their seemingly separate journeys are connected....   [tags: Homer, Odyssey]
:: 1 Works Cited
754 words
(2.2 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
The Realtionship of a Father and Son in Homer’s Odyssey Essay - With time come change, change in the human experience. That fact applies no differently to literature, specifically reflected through reading ancient prose with a modern lens. A relevant example is the relationship of a father and son in Homer’s Odyssey. Through characterization on the surface, this significant relationship appears quite distinct in contrast to such relationships today. However, these quite humane and sentimental relationships are no different than those experienced today—those of a father and son....   [tags: Homer, Odyssey] 884 words
(2.5 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Loyalty in Homer's Odyssey Essay - Loyal Relationships in Homer's Odyssey Loyalty is heroic. Loyalty is defined as faithfulness or devotion to a person, cause, obligations, or duties. In Homer's Odyssey one can see loyalty in many forms. Odysseus is loyal to the gods whom he realized held his life in their hands. Penelope was loyal to Odysseus, while trying not to offend the rude suitors. Telemachus was loyal to a father whom he only knew from the stories he had been told. Time and time again we see loyalty in the strongest sense, complete fidelity in time of uncertainty....   [tags: Homer Odyssey Essays]
:: 1 Works Cited
600 words
(1.7 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Odyssey, by Homer Essay - ... “Be careful to leave your sons well instructed rather than rich, for the hopes of the hopes of the instructed are better than the wealth of the ignition”(Epictetus). This quote means it is best to teach the principles of a method rather than having something done for you or given to you. Another way of looking at this quote is to train to make wise decisions and to learn from those decisions. This is something my father tries to teach me, so I grow to become more independent. This is a main point in the Odyssey....   [tags: character analyses, father-son relationship] 517 words
(1.5 pages)
Good Essays [preview]
Free Essays: Symbols in Homer's Odyssey - The Symbolism of Homer's Odyssey Throughout Homer's The Odyssey, many tangible symbols are used to represent abstract ideas. Each symbol that Homer uses has two meanings. The double meanings of these symbols are used to represent Odysseus and Telemachus as they strive to meet each other. While each symbol has a meaning that represents the growth of Telemachus, each one also represents, by another meaning, the growth and development of Odysseus. When they meet for the first time, the symbols, and the character traits that they represent confluence, and the resemblance between Odysseus and Telemachus becomes complete....   [tags: Homer Odyssey Essays] 873 words
(2.5 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay on Rationality in Homer’s Odyssey - The Importance of Rationality in Homer’s Odyssey In the epic poem, Odyssey, Homer provides examples of the consequences of impulsive and irrational thinking, and the rewards of planning and rationality. Impulsive actions prove to be very harmful to Odysseus. His decisions when he is escaping the cave of the Cyclops lead to almost all his troubles through his journey. As Odysseus flees the cave, he yells back "Cyclops - if any man on the face of the earth should ask you who blinded you, shamed you so - say Odysseus, raider of cities, he gouged out you eye." This enrages the giant, and he prays to Poseidon "grant that Odysseus, raider of cities, Laertes' son who makes his home in Itha...   [tags: Homer Odyssey Essays] 1065 words
(3 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay about No Peace For Odysseus - No piece of peace in the world of men The Odyssey, written by Homer, is an epic of the great adventures of Odysseus. It tells of the challenging travels form leaving his home to serve in the Trojan War, to his well-deserved return to Ithaca. Odysseus known as “the man of many wiles” endured many challenging tasks as he traveled in search of his once home. Leaving behind his wife Penelope and son Telemachus, he was forced to leave. Around the sixteenth year Odysseus was gone, many believed that their once great leader was left for dead on an unknown country or was never to return to the land of Ithaca once again....   [tags: Greek Literature] 1142 words
(3.3 pages)
Good Essays [preview]
Free Essays on Homer's Odyssey: Book XIX - The Odyssey Book XIX In Book XIX of Homer's The Odyssey, Odysseus, posing as a poor beggar, has a discussion with Penelope regarding Odysseus himself, and how the "two" met. Readers may question why Penelope does not recognize her own husband. Later on, one sees that at least Eurycleia distinguishes Odysseus. Penelope reveals a dream she has had to Odysseus, asking for an explanation. This Book of The Odyssey brings forth an envisage regarding the death of the suitors that is soon to come....   [tags: Homer Odyssey Essays] 760 words
(2.2 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay about Comparing and Contrasting Homer's Odysseus and Tennyson's Ulysses - Comparing Homer's Odysseus and Tennyson's Ulysses             Homer's Odyssey depicts the life of a middle-aged, while Tennyson's "Ulysses" describes Ulysses as an old man.  The character's role in his son's life shifts. With maturity, Telemachus does not require as much guidance from his father.  However, time does not alter the caring fellowship the man has with his crew, nor the willpower that he possesses in achieving his goals. While Odysseus and his son are united and face the world together, Ulysses sees himself and his son as two different people living separate lives....   [tags: compare and contrast essay examples]
:: 2 Works Cited
860 words
(2.5 pages)
Better Essays [preview]

Related Searches

They had spent twenty years away from each other enduring trials and tribulations that prepared them for their eventual encounter. Odysseus and Telemachus both arrived on the island of Ithaca within roughly the same time period. And they both, out of patience and wisdom, seek refuge in the swineherd's shelter; in this they are alike. Odysseus' patience is demonstrated when he refrains from revealing himself to his son until Eumaius has left. When father and son first see each other, and before Telemachus knows that he is speaking to his father, an interesting event occurs in which both father and son demonstrate their humility and likeness to each other. The event involves Odysseus offering his seat to Telemachus and Telemachus refusing the offer. The importance of this event is that Odysseus, who is disguised as a beggar, is a greater man than Telemachus and humble enough to offer his seat. Telemachus in turn knows that he is a greater man than a beggar but refuses to take the beggar's seat. The next morning Odysseus finally reveals himself to his son. When Telemachus realizes that he is in fact standing before his father, they embrace. At this point Homer uses a simile to explain the high emotional tenseness of the situation, Homer says that father and son embraced each other and cried out in the same way baby hawks cry when they are separated form their kin. Likewise war had separated Odysseus from his son.

Odysseus and Telemachus now concentrate on the task at hand: killing the suitors. Even though Telemachus has been told of his father's great deeds all his life; he still doesn't believe that it is possible to overtake so many suitors. But Odysseus comforts him by saying that the gods are in their favor. We see here how Odysseus has become a pious man and trusts the gods, and trusting the gods is a demonstration of maturity. Odysseus lays out the plans and proposes going around and testing all his field hands and house servants for loyalty before taking back their house, but Telemachus shows prudence in proposing an amendment to the plan: to kill the suitors first since they are quickly using up all of Odysseus' resources. This amendment is accepted by Odysseus showing that Telemachus is as wise in planning as Odysseus. Thus Odysseus' relationship with his son is restored and Odysseus is able to watch over Telemachus' further education ensuring that he will one day be a good successor.

Finally we come to the last purpose of the re-encounter. Homer realizes that an enduring family is of great importance to a society since it is through family that values and education are best handed down from generation to generation. Odysseus' family is depicted as a family that can endure anything, after having been separated from the patriarch of the family both Penelope and Telemachus stay loyal to their family. This strong family gives Odysseus confidence that he will always have people on his side in good times and in bad times, all the members of the family and the household in general are likewise assured this confidence.

And so the scene of Odysseus' reunion with his father serves the three purposes of demonstrating Telemachus' likeness to his father, providing Odysseus with a chance to be a father, and demonstrating the importance of family.

Return to 123HelpMe.com