At some point in their life, many people experience a feeling of inadequacy or uncertainty. In “The Odyssey” by Homer, one of the main characters Telemachus experiences both of these feelings. He feels that he is not good enough, especially compared to his father, Odysseus, who many people refer to as a great leader. In the beginning of “The Odyssey”, Telemachus’ home has been taken over by suitors, each with the goal of winning over his mother in hopes to marry her and become king. Telemachus is not fond of these men in his home, but does not have the confidence to get rid of them. Lastly, at this point in the story, Odysseus, Telemachus’ father, has been gone for approximately twenty years, most of Telemachus’ life. Telemachus has been told that after all those years, his father is still alive, and that he should go on a journey to find him. Telemachus has feelings of uncertainty about who his father is and how to go find him. This is when Mentor comes in. Although Mentor is a “friend-in-arms” to Odysseus and the person who Odysseus put in charge of his household, in this story, Mentor is really Athena in disguise. He acts as a sort of advisor for Telemachus, helping to encourage and support Telemachus through this difficult moment. All in all, one should take away the idea that encouragement and guidance during a crucial point in one’s life can lead to a positive outcome.
The relationship between Telemachus and Mentor begins with Telemachus praying to the god Pallas. He prays,
Dear god, hear me! Yesterday you come to my house,
you told me to ship out on the misty sea and learn
if father, gone so long, is ever coming home …
Look how my countrymen the suitors most of ...
... middle of paper ...
...ves him instructions on what must be done to get ready and even offers to help, explaining:
But get your rations ready,
pack them all in vessels, the wine in jars,
and barley-meal the marrow of men’s bones
in durable skins, while I make rounds in town
and quickly enlist your crew of volunteers.
Lots of ships in seagirt Ithcaca, old and new.
I’ll look them over, choose the best in sight,
we’ll fit her out and launch her into the sea at once! (3. 322-329)
By giving Telemachus a specific task to complete, Athena is decreasing the stress Telemachus is feeling about this journey. This is also done by Athena assigning to herself the more difficult tasks that need to be completed, choosing a crew and a ship. The act that gives Telemachus the greatest feeling of support is that Athena is going to set sail with Telemachus, which proves helpful later in the journey.
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