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The Odyssey

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The Odyssey in itself revolves around Odysseus, the epic hero of the Trojan War. He was very courageous and thus won respect and admiration from the rest of the people. The goddess Athena was always by his side to protect him. In steps Telemachus, Odysseus’ son. After the war, his father stayed away from home. As a result, there were many suitors with the intention of inheriting his mother. Unlike his father though, Telemachus was not strong enough to drive them away. He could just stay there and watch hopelessly. However, Athena encourages him to do the unthinkable, chase them away; something that he did. After this, Telemachus embarks on searching for his father. Again, he was successful in this mission. On their return, father and son are able to defeat the suitors and thus regain power of Ithaca. At the end of the Odyssey, it leaves a promise that Telemachus may inherit some of his father’s fighting attributes (Gradesaver).

The poem clearly demonstrates the need for sons to grow up as successors of their fathers. At first, it was clear that Telemachus was only going to fail in this. Lucky for him though, the gods were always on his side to ensure that this does not happen. Although not cunning as his father, he had to learn all the other attributes, with the help of Athena.

Eating and Drinking as a Touchstone of Behavior

The suitors of Penelope were constantly camped at Odysseus house, eating his food for so many years. This paints them as greedy and lazy, since they ate what they had done absolutely nothing to plant and harvest.  This irked Athena and Telemachus so much. While on his journey to search for his father, Telemachus goes to Sparta where he meets Menelaus who welcomes him very well. His host tells him the whereabouts of his father and also prepares a feast for him. In this case, Menelaus comes out as a friendly person. This is because Telemachus had not been treated this way in his first destination, by Nestor at Pylos. Finally, the arrogance and inhumane nature of the suitors is manifested when they throw food at Odysseus when he was still disguised as a beggar after his return. It can be said that this angered Odysseus very much that he finally decided to kill them all. He was helped by his son (Homer).

The Journey as Symbol of Growth and Maturity

At the start of the Odyssey, Telemachus comes out as a very weak and hopeless young man that could not match the fetes of his father. However, this was to change, thanks to Athena. The act of calling an assembly to drive the suitors away was an act of maturity in itself. By accepting to embark on the journey, Telemachus proves that he’s now fully grown and mature to take over from his father. This is because leading the ship required both attributes. At one time, Athena had to disguise herself as Telemachus to put together the ship’s crew. It took him great courage to go ahead with the journey. The journey taught him some of his father’s attributes; that would later be of much help. This is because when he returned home, he was fully matured, courageous, reliable and confident with himself. First of all, he had obeyed orders to use a different route on his return. Thus, he avoided an attack by the suitors. At his arrival, he was far much assured. As a result, he had no problem joining his father in destroying all his mother’s suitors that had irked him for so long. It can be argued that this would not be possible had he not gone for the journey (Hunter, 1997).

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