Essay on Telemachus in The Odyssey

Essay on Telemachus in The Odyssey

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Through modern culture, most people are familiar with the whole storyline of The Odyssey. Odysseus leaves Troy and embarks on an epic journey filled with adventure and fantasy. However, most readers are unaware that there are actually two journeys that are unfolding simultaneously throughout Homer’s epic. Telemachus’ journey greatly differs from that of his father, Odysseus. While it might not be filled with as much adrenaline and adventure as his father‘s journey, Telemachus’ quest is certainly one that should be noted since the first four books are dedicated to him. It is the story of Telemachus’ coming-of-age as he matures into a more capable young man. However, it is debatable if he will ever become the man that Odysseus is.
When the reader first encounters Telemachus in Book One, he is portrayed as a young adult, about the age of 21. Telemachus is unhappy among the suitors as a boy daydreaming about his father. “What if his great father / came from the unknown world and drove these men / like dead leaves through the place, recovering / honor and lordships in his own domains?” (1. 145-148). Odysseus had left him and his mother Penelope for Troy while he was still a toddler. In any culture and time, growing up without a father figure can be tough. Without a model for him to imitate, he is left with struggling to learn traits that only a father could teach. He is almost the complete opposite of Odysseus. Since his early days, Odysseus has always been known to be confident and aggressive. Even his name Odysseus, describes someone who is angry or wrathful. His grandfather had given him this name after an encounter with a wild boar in which he received a scar from. “An old wound, a board’s white tusk inflicted, on Parnassos yea...


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...t is questionable if Telemachus is truly finished with his journey at the end. There is no doubt that he has matured greatly since the beginning. However, he still makes many mistakes and has a lot to live up to before he becomes the man his father is. It is possible that he may never achieve that fame. He might be his father’s son but he is not as adventurous and brave. Odysseus is the “adventure junkie” who is always yearning for the next quest. Telemachus has more of a reserved personality. It is arguable to say that he is more responsible than his father, not always recklessly looking for adventure. Unfortunately, Homer did not leave us with any other surviving text that describes what occurs after The Odyssey. Whether Telemachus is ever able to fill his father’s shoes or even become the man he was meant to become is left up for the reader’s interpretation.

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