Comparing and Contrasting the Journeys of Odysseus’ and Telemachus’ in The Odyssey

Comparing and Contrasting the Journeys of Odysseus’ and Telemachus’ in The Odyssey

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Odysseus’ and Telemachus’ journeys or nostos were both very similar and different. They parallel each other in some ways but they are also completely different at other times. Telemachus starts as a younger, less mature boy, and without the presence of his father during his childhood, he becomes a timid, shy and spineless boy who is greatly pampered by his mother. He has even more to achieve, being the son of a world-famous father, and this is a very difficult reputation to live up to. His journey, and after that the killing of the suitors who took advantage of him really show how his journeys and problems throughout the book mature him from being a shy, timid boy into a mature man. Odysseus’ journey also taught him about many things which he had never really experienced before, including suffering, poverty, and other things of that nature. Telemachus and Odysseus have parallel, but different journeys, which drastically change them throughout the epic and they are influenced by many different forces, both human and supernatural. Telemachus matures into a man while Odysseus becomes more wise, and both journey through Greece in search of one another.

Telemachus’ and his father Odysseus’ experiences/journeys parallel each other in many different ways. One way that they are both similar is that they are both very well liked by Athena, who accompanies both on their journeys around Greece. Athena acts as guardian to both father and son. A quote which proves this is I, 85 “In the meantime I will go to Ithaca, to put heart into Odysseus' son Telemachus; I will embolden him to call the Achaeans in assembly, and speak out to the suitors of his mother Penelope, who persist in eating up any number of his sheep and oxen; I will also condu...


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...e gods and goddesses who changed his fate (ex. Poseidon, Calypso, Circle). He learned very many valuable lessons over the course of the epic all thanks to these unfortunate events. Telemachus was also affected by the suitors, who were the biggest reason for his change into a man. They were the main conflict in the story for him and they also played a small role in affecting the changes of his father. Without the suitors, abuse of xenia could not have been displayed, Telemachus would not have had much reason to mature and there would not have been as much interest in the book for readers.

Over their travels in the epic The Odyssey, both Odysseus’ and his son Telemachus’ adventures were parallel but at the same time different. These travels led them both to grow and change drastically, and both learned some very important life lessons over the course of this epic.

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