The Importance Of Odysseus And Nestor In Homer's The Odyssey

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In Homer’s The Odyssey, Telemachus has no control over his own home, while Nestor is king in a magnificent, orderly palace, where he hosts lavish banquets. Telemachus sets off from his home in Ithaca – which suitors of his mother, Penelope, have invaded – to Pylos on the trail of his father, Odysseus. For all Telemachus knows, Odysseus may be dead, but the stirring speech Athena regaled him with has inspired Telemachus to take the impetus and actively search for his father. In Pylos he finds Nestor, the king, who offers Telemachus sumptuous meat and wine before even giving Telemachus the chance to introduce himself and his shipmates, among them the goddess Athena in disguise. In looking at The Odyssey, we will consider the complete loss of …show more content…
The situation in Telemachus’ palace is disastrous, as epitomized in his complaint to the men of Ithaca regarding his mother’s suitors. “They infest our palace day and night, / they butcher our cattle, our sheep, our fat goats, / feasting themselves sick, swilling our glowing wine / as if there’s no tomorrow – all of it, squandered” (Homer 95). By using the word “infest,” Telemachus emphasizes the sheer amount of men who trespass into his home. They never rest, but steal his goods both “day and night.” By using a word so strong and violent as “butcher,” Telemachus implies that the suitors steal his livestock by force. When he lists the several types of animals the suitors have appropriated – “cattle…sheep…fat goats” – Telemachus impresses upon his audience that the suitors do not care what type of meat they eat, as long as they steal it from Telemachus’ household. Rather than simply eat their fill, the suitors feast “themselves sick,” meaning they eat voraciously, not worried about the consequences to themselves, but again, seemingly taking Telemachus’ food only to spite him. They feast gluttonously, “swilling our glowing wine / as if there is no tomorrow.” If they merely needed to feed themselves, the thieves could have taken food and water. By taking the wine, they show their belief that Telemachus is powerless and that they will not suffer any …show more content…
Telemachus, who in the Telemachy shows no noteworthy signs of hospitality or generosity, finds his control brought into question and his home overrun by intruders. On the other hand, Homer portrays Nestor as magnanimous, giving “prime cuts” to complete strangers. Homer’s implication is that Nestor’s powerful position enables his altruism, and this altruism allows him to retain such a lofty position, as his generosity gratifies his subjects. To illustrate the abyss between someone who gives of his own and someone who does not welcome others, Homer tells the reader the cautionary tale of Telemachus, whom his father’s former subjects resent due to his reluctance to

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