The Maturation of Telemachus in Homer's Odyssey

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The Maturation of Telemachus in Homer's Odyssey

The Odyssey was a great book in which many characters were brought out and developed. The most significant development that occured in the epic was the development of Telemachus. Telemachus is a very complex character that Homer develops from beginning to end. From the beginning when is a mere shadow of his father to near the end in which he is considered just as courageous. Many factors influence Telemachus as he matures into a man.

To begin with his name means "Far from Battle". This was given to him because he was born when the male generations of his parents were going off to the Trojan War. But the name proves to be ironic, for the epic ends with Telemachus taking part in two battles.

Not having any father figures as a child severely effects Telemachus. He becomes a timid, shy and spineless boy who is greatly pampered by his mother. He is not helped by being the son of a world-famous father- a difficult reputation to live up to. This lack of motivation and assertive behavior does not help Telemachus when the suitors start eating away at his estate. Telemachus knows what the suitors are doing is wrong but yet does not do anything about it. Telemachus foolishly hopes that his father will come and clean up the mess that the suitors are to blame for. Telemachus knows that his father would handle the situation with the suitors in a much more aggressive manner than he does. Odysseus would kill all of them for being treacherous beings, while Telemachus does nothing but whine. Telemachus says "how his noble father might come back out of the blue, drive the suitors headlong from the house, and so regain

his loyal honors, ...

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...us and his son fight side by side against the suitors. It is clear at this point that the old Telemachus is gone and all that is there is a new brave, bold and thoughtful Telemachus.

Homer does a wonderful job in maturing Telemachus during the course of this book. It is delightful to see a young, foolish boy grow into the proud man that he became. Pallas Athene helped get the wheels in motion but it takes true hero to get places and keep the status that he gains. We last see him standing within the accurate order of the clan of Odysseus, when Grandfather Laertes, Odysseus, and Telemachus, all in armor, all defending the ancestral estate receive the blessing of Pallas Athene and of Zeus.

Works Cited and Consulted

Homer, The Odyssey, ed. W. Shewring Oxford University Press, 1980.

Tracy, Stephen V. The Story of the Odyssey Princeton UP 1990

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