Virtue in Telemachus’ Life

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Telemachus is the son of Odysseus and Penelope in the Odyssey. He was raised without a father and this caused him not to have a strong male example in his life. He was forced to mature into a man on his own and become the man his father was. Telemachus is required to figure out ways to be honorable on his own and this causes him to have a deeper responsibility than the normal man of his age. In Telemachus’ life, he is able to mature into an adult man capable of making virtuous decisions and acting with the honor that is required of a virtuous man of the Greek world and Christian world. Virtue in the Greek world was determined mainly by how one is viewed by others. This was an important notion for the Greeks, since their society was very aggressive. The world of the Odyssey was fiercely competitive, as each hero strove to outdo the other (Finley 118). This competitive attitude stems from the Greek concept of arête, or excellence (Moran 2). This neec for excellence is what caused the Greeks to try their hardest to fulfill their function as a human and as a member of society. In order for a Greek person to be fully functioning, they had to excel in certain attributes that were key to their role in society. For the average Greek male, their function was to be brave, effective, and honorable. These three qualities are the virtues that every Greek male strived to attain, with honor being the most important. Bravery and effectiveness are both related to combat and how a man conducted himself on the battlefield. If a man is not effective in war, or other occupations, then he had no means to attain arête. The same can be said about bravery, since bravery is essential for a warrior to succeed. Honor is the most important virtue of the Greek... ... middle of paper ... ...ery, effectiveness, and honor. These virtues lead one to live a life of excellence in which they received praise from society. In the Christian tradition, a virtuous life was following the theological virtues of faith, hope, and charity, which caused one to live a fully flourished life as a human being. Telemachus is a man who was considered virtuous in both the Greek world and the Christian world. He showed qualities of all the virtues required and lived his life in order to better himself. Works Cited Catholic Church. Catechism of the Catholic Church. 2nd ed. Vatican: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2000. Finley, Moses. The World of Odysseus. New York: New York Review, 1977. Print. Homer. The Odyssey. Trans. Robert Fagles. New York. Viking, 1996. Print. Moran, Sean. "Greek Conceptions of Virtue." Waterford Institute of Technology (n.d.): 1-5. Web. 30 Nov. 2013.

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