Telemachus In Homer's The Odyssey

Words: 1961
Pages: 8

John Dewey, an American psychologist and philosopher, has once said, “The good man is the man who, no matter how morally unworthy he has been, is moving to become better” (John Dewey, John Dewey Quotes, Dewey’s words consistently hold true for Telemachus, a central protagonist of Homer’s The Odyssey. In this epic poem, Telemachus’ father, Odysseus, leaves his homeland of Ithaca to go fight in a war. Odysseus departs for war when Telemachus is a newborn. Twenty years following Odysseus’ departure from Ithaca, he is still not to be seen. Telemachus is surely affected by not having a father to raise him, as he does not have the assurance of manhood while he is a child. Now, the fact that Telemachus does not have a father with …show more content…
To begin with, Telemachus is courageous, a characteristic that is frequently embedded into a warrior. Both Telemachus and Odysseus are in Ithaca at the swineherd, Eumaeus' hut, but they do not recognize each other as father and son. Eumaeus also does not know that Odysseus is disguised as an old beggar. Telemachus has returned from his attempt to locate his father, and Odysseus has finally returned to Ithaca, after twenty long years, with the help of the Phaeacians, who have dropped him off in Ithaca. At the hut, Eumaeus suggests that Telemachus allows the "old beggar" to stay at the palace. Telemachus replies, "I'll give him a shirt and a cloak to wear, good clothing / give him a two-edged sword and sandals for his feet / and send him off wherever his heart desires" (16.90-2). This symbolizes Telemachus being courageous by allowing a complete stranger into his family's palace; many would fear allowing an outsider into their home, but Telemachus did not in this situation. This also symbolizes Telemachus is becoming more accustomed to his cultural background because he is offering hospitality, which is a Greek tradition, similar to the king of the Phaeacians, King Alcinous, who has offered great amounts of hospitality toward Odysseus. Later, Telemachus displays himself as a warrior once again, when Penelope sets up a challenge that can win her over to one lucky suitor. The challenge: the first suitor that can wind up Odysseus’ bow and shoot it through twelve axe lined up axe holes will be able to wed her. Shortly after, Telemachus walks into the hall, where Penelope announces the challenge. Antinous is suggesting the suitors and he waits until the next day to perform the challenge to the archer god, Apollo. Telemachus believes the suitors are backing out and states, "… and look at me—laughing for all I'm worth, giggling like some fool. Step up, my friends!"