Telemachus and His Traits

4 April 2015

Answering a question who is Telemachus, it is necessary to say that he is the son of Odyssey and Penelope. His childhood and youth were bleak: neither the mother’s love nor the care of a wise Mentor could replace the father of Telemachus who went on a trip to distant Troy. Telemachus knew nothing about the fate of his father for ten years, during which the Trojan War extended, and then for another ten years – Odysseus traveled from Troy to his native Ithaca for so long. At a time when young men usually still need own paternal care, Telemachus character development was held in the conditions when he had to patronize and support his mother, who was harassed by numerous suitors who were sure of the death of Odysseus. This task was beyond Telemachus’ power, but he took it upon himself without hesitation, and this sense of responsibility made him one of the key heroes of the Odyssey.

The situation in which Telemachus in the Odyssey had to act is described in the articles on Odysseus and Penelope. He understood that the bridegrooms who ravaged their house had to be somehow taken care of, but alone he could not cope with them. He called a people’s assembly, hoping that by his decision he would force the suitors to leave Odysseus’ house, but the bridegrooms simply dispersed the people. Then Telemachus decided to go in search of his father because he did not believe in the numerous reports of his death. It was a brave act: on the one hand, Telemach knew what dangers are waiting for him, on the other, he did not know where he should look for his father. At first, he went to the wise king Nestor for advice. Nestor sent him to the Spartan king Menelaus, who returned from Troy last and could know something about Odysseus. In Sparta, Telemachus learned that his father was alive, that he roamed for three years in distant seas and countries, and now lives on the island of the nymph Calypso, who does not let him go. As it turned out later, the information of Menelaus (received by him from the sea god Proteus in Egypt) was correct but obsolete. That time, Calypso had already released Odysseus, and he was approaching the house. This was discovered by Telemachus in a dream by the goddess Athena, the invariable patroness of Odysseus and his family; she also warned Telemachus about the ambush organized by the bridegrooms, and advised him not to return to the Itaka harbor, but to go to the shore of a remote bay and go to the swineherd Eume. There Telemachus met an unfamiliar old man – it was Odysseus, to whom Athena gave the image of a poor old man so that the bridegrooms did not know him early and did not deal with him. After telling his son the truth, Odysseus immediately began to develop a plan for the operation, which he accomplished with the help of Telemachus and Euméus. The unrecognized Odysseus came to his palace, in a bloody battle, he interrupted all self-styled contenders for Penelope’s hand and again took control of his house and kingdom. This brave story of Telemachus in the Odyssey many times was told in a modern way as an example for young people.

Since the “Odyssey” of Homer ends with the beating of the suitors, we do not learn anything from it about the future Telemachus personality development.

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