Sunday, April 27, 2014

Telemachus's Transformation

In The Odyssey, Odysseus’s son, Telemachus, matures and undergoes a significant transformation that is very noticeable throughout the beginning chapters of the epic poem. In the beginning, Telemachus is forced to go on a journey in search of his long lost father, Odysseus. Odysseus has been gone for almost 20 years, and Telemachus is 100% convinced that Odysseus is dead, that is, until Athena comes to him, disguised as Mentes, advising Telemachus that his father is, indeed, still alive. Along with the news of Odysseus’s existence, she also tells Telemachus that he must travel in order to find news of his father at Pylos as well as Sparta. Before Athena’s visit to him, Telemachus was a very unconfident, distant, and hopeless person; he often kept to himself and was not very sure of anything. For example, when Athena told him the news of his father being alive, Telemachus says, “My mother says I am his son; I know not surely…. unknown death and silence are the fate of him…” showing just how much Telemachus believes his father is dead as well as how unsure he is on whether Odysseus really is who everyone tells him he is (page 8). Despite Telemachus’s hesitation, Athena continues to give him a plan to go on a journey to find his father/news of his father, and he falteringly accepts. After Athena and Telemachus’s conversation, Telemachus’s transformation into an assertive, brave, and confident person begins. He even gathers enough courage to be assertive enough to tell the suitors that are staying at his house to “go feasting elsewhere”(page 12). Before his chat with Athena, Telemachus would never have had the courage to confront the suitors. Also, during an assembly, Telemachus explains that, “If he [Odysseus] is alive… I might hold out for another weary year; but if they tell me that he’s dead and gone, then I can come back to my own dear country and raise a mound for him…”, showing how confident he is that his father is, in fact, alive somewhere in the world. The journey to find his father not only helped Telemachus to find his father, but it also helped him to mature and better himself.

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