Father-Son Relationships In The Odyssey

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Throughout all of human history, various pieces of literature usually reflect the nature of people and the current culture of the time it was written. A topic that was frequently written about in Greek Mythology were family dynamics and relationships between family members. More specifically, father-son relationships were an extremely prevalent topic in Greek Mythology. In particular, The Odyssey touched upon this topic greatly. The basic structure of father-son relationships have stayed the same like how the parent are supposed to take care of the children. But as general family dynamics and culture changed, the interactions between fathers and sons have altered greatly. In ancient civilizations there were less loving relationships between…show more content…
When Odysseus left for Troy during the Trojan war, he left his whole life behind. He left behind his very young son, Telemachus, and his wife, Penelope. After the war, Odysseus started his journey back. Odysseus’ whole journey home was prompted by the fact that he wants to get home to his family and kingdom in Ithaca. Odysseus made it through the many trials and tribulations he was faced with to see his family. In The Odyssey, Homer emphasizes the significance that similarities between fathers and sons can have: “Never, anywhere, have I seen so great a likeness in man or woman-but it is truly strange! This boy must be the son of Odysseus, Telémachus, the child he left at home that year the Akhaian host made war on Troy” (Homer 57). This talks about the similarity between Odysseus and Telémachus. Offspring often model their parents in looks and character traits. Although Odysseus goes through extremely dangerous and taxing situations, he is often thinking of his family. For example Odysseus and is talking to his late mother and he says, “Tell me of Father, tell me of the son I left behind me; have they still my place, my honors or have other men assumed them? Do they say that I shall come no more? And tell me of my wife: how runs her though, still with her child, still keeping our domains, or bride again to the best of the Akhaians?” (Homer 190). In this important exchange between Odysseus and his mother,…show more content…
The most important relationship is the one between Odysseus and Telémachus because there relationship drives a lot of the plot of the epic poem. Homer draws attention to the significance of their relationship when he writes that “Then, throwing his arms around this marvel of a father Telémachus began to weep. Salt tears rose from the wells of longing in both men, and cries burst from both as keen and fluttering as those of the great taloned hawk, whose nestlings fathers take before they fly. So helplessly they cried, pouring out tears, and might have gone on weeping so till sundown” (Homer 296). This quote shows reunion of Odysseus and Telémachus. Although they do not necessarily know each other, because of the years they were apart, the undeniably heavy emotion this greeting brought out of both men reveals the gravity of the situation and the strength of a father-son bond. Another important relationship is between Laertes and Odysseus. Odysseus and Laertes reunite after the suitors have been killed. Laertes is extremely happy because he saw his “son and grandson” and they “vie[d] for courage” (Homer 461). Odysseus and Telémachus brought honor back to their family because they displayed their strength and gallantry when they killed the suitors. Orestes and Agamemnon are two more characters that have an interesting father-son bond and are both very important to the plot of The Odyssey. Agamemnon’s wife, Clytemnestra,
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