The Odyssey- Telemakhos

Throughout the beginning of The Odyssey, Telemakhos, being naive and powerless is completely passive to the cruel behaviors of the suitors. It was only after the arrival of Athena in Book I did he begin attempting to fulfill his responsibility as a man and Odysseus’s son.


Undoubtedly, most of Telemakhos’s maturation in character is brought by the assistance of Athena. At their earliest encounter, Telemakhos was still positioned under the shadow of his father’s tales of valor instead of making his own decisions. For example, rather than considering his future actions, he stated: “If he returned, if these men ever saw him, faster legs they’d pray for”. Instead of bringing justice to the suitors, Telemakhos, still an immature boy awaits Odysseus’s return. However, Athena aroused his sense of justice when she declared: “A sensible man would blush to be among them”, and by further support and persuasion (with the story of Orestes) guided Telemakhos to his destiny.


In Book II The Hero’s Son Awakens, Telemakhos held a meeting during where he rebuked the barbaric behaviors of the suitors. “Expel them (the suitors), yes, if only I had the power, ” Telemakhos said, he showed first definite signs of protest publicly but although he is not absolutely successful, this was his first awakening to his potentials. However, the intention of searching for Odysseus was strongly suppressed by the suitors and Telemakhos, only just demonstrating capability of taking control withdraws back into his unconfident self. During Telemakhos’s helplessness, Athena, disguised as Mentor once again came to his aid. “You’ll never be a fainthearted or a fool Telemakhos, if you have your father’s spirits” reassured Athena, not only did she point him to his future course but she also organized the crew for his journey.


With the assistance of a goddess, Telemakhos finally sets sail for news of his father. Only at the start of the journey did he truly become a man. His polite but bold interlocution between Nestor and Menelaos in Book III and Book IV contrasts to his adolescence and despairing impression in Book I, displaying his growth in both intelligence and personality under the influence of Athena.