Telemachus in The Odyssey Essay example

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Telemachus in The Odyssey

The first four books of the Odyssey are sometimes known as 'Telemachy'. It is a self-contained section that could in fact be easily removed, allowing the story to begin with Odysseus without damaging the plot. They deal with Telemachus' struggle and coming of age through his travels and quest.

Telemachus is sent on his travels because although he has grown to adulthood, when Athene first visits him in book one, he is somewhat pathetic, lonely and very much a young boy and is not strong enough to remove the suitors from his father's palace:

"Sitting disconsolate among the Suitors, imagining how his noble father might come back out of the blue, drive the Suitors
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Also, Homer is creating suspense by delaying the meeting of Odysseus and the reminiscences build up his character and image.

The death of Aegistmus is emphasised in the novel because it is a moral point that such actions as his towards Agamemnon could not be ignored. It is a model for Telemachus showing him what he should do. In a sense he is in the same situation as Orestes as people are dishonouring his father who is as good as dead, and there is a parallel to Telemachus as they both grew up without a father. It was a rite of passage for Orestes to kill Aegistmus and so in the same way Telemachus must kill the Suitors of his mother.

If he had stayed in Ithaca, Telemachus would not have found out more information about his father. By leaving his emotional mother and servants, he can experience the real world, find out about Odysseus, and learn what it is to be a hero. He needs to meet people who knew his dad and experienced the Trojan War (gaining experiences) and learning bout heroics etc.

Since Telemachus has grown up without Odysseus, he does not really know what a well-ordered house is like and at Pylos and Sparta he learns how to speak and act in heroic company. When Telemachus meets King Nestor, he adheres to the rules of Xenia (as is expected of him), by being polite and learning the correct behaviour in respect to gods and

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