Telemachus Insecurity In The Odyssey

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In The Odyssey, Telemachus, son of Odysseus, was the man of the house after his father left for the Trojan War. When his father did not return to Ithaca, suitors flooded into his home, ravaging his food and overstaying their welcome. Throughout the “Telemachy”, Telemachus overcomes his uncertainty and insecurity in his potential power. Telemachus starts off as a young minded, immature boy who comes of age by seeking revenge, grasping hospitality and developing his faith.
Telemachus was too scared to even tell his mother about his desire for the suitors to be gone. Telemachus has lost all hope that his father is still alive so he believes there is no way of getting rid of the suitors. Telemachus tells Athena, “Yet, were Odysseus to return,
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The first book describes Telemachus’ first meeting with Athena in the guise of Mentor. He treats her well and invites her to feast. Although Telemachus is already discouraged with the inappropriate manners of the suitors, Mentor reinforces it. She says, “These guzzlers seem to me no better than a pack of swaggers – too rude, too coarse. Seeing their shameful doings, any man of sense would feel both anger and contempt (page 11).” Here, Mentor is allocating Telemachus’ maturity when his anger builds against the suitors. She wants him to know what they are doing is wrong in their culture and he should not permit it any longer. After their conversation concerning Odysseus concludes, Telemachus offers Mentor to bathe and refresh her spirit. She replies, “Do not delay me now. I truly wish to leave; whatever gift your heart would give – consigned when I stop here again, on my return, that I may bear it at home. And it will earn you a gift of equal merit (page 14).” Mentor implies here that Telemachus’ kind hospitality (xenia) will gain him favor from the gods. Telemachus travels to Pylos and Sparta where he is received by Nestor and Menelaus. Unlike the treatment in his own halls, Nestor and Menelaus are very kind to him as he is to them. An example of a proper household is evident in these two halls. Since Telemachus has no father present to model after, he is now fully aware of the…show more content…
Telemachus’ faith in strangers is one of the first things noted about him early in Book I. When Athena comes disguised as Mentes to visit Telemachus, upon first seeing her, Telemachus rushes to her and says, “My greetings, stranger. Welcome to our feast. Eat first – and then do tell us what you seek (Mandelbaum, 7).” He is only interested in what is best for the stranger without knowing what kind of bad tidings he could bring. He also has faith in the Kings Nestor and Menelaus to house him, feed him, bring him the truth about his father, and to give him gifts. Of course, this has to do with xenia, a type of guest hospitality and friendship that was expected in ancient Greece at this time. In fact, as we will find out later in the book, it is quite against the norm to not participate in this stranger friendliness because the Cyclops are the only group that do not participate in xenia. Telemachus also has a great amount of faith in the gods. When Athena leaves him in Book I after being in disguise he was “aware that he had some god as visitor (Mandelbaum, 14).” Telemachus has faith that the gods will bring the suitors what they truly deserve for their wrongdoings, a harsh death. He is also sure to offer libations and sacrifices to the gods when eating and at many times throughout the first four books. As we go further in the “Telemacheia”,
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