Questions On The Character Of Telemachus In Homer's Odyssey

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Abby Yeley: Question 1.1 Telemachus, the main character in the first book of the Odyssey has quite a dilemma. He was just an infant when his father left for the Trojan War, but now that he is a young man, his father has still not returned. Meanwhile, many suitors are courting his mother and destroying his house, since his father is presumed dead. Telemachus is sick due to this, yet he feels he has no power to drive them out or claim his kingdom. He is also having issues with his mother who seems to be not only tolerating these deplorable suitors, but leading them on and elongating their stay. During his conversation with Athena disguised as Mentes, Telemachus explains his annoyance with his mother, “And mother…/ she neither rejects a marriage…show more content…
Odysseus is advised by his men to quickly steal some of the food and then leave, however he lingers (not his brightest moment). They then are found by the Cyclopes. Polyphemus, the Cyclopes, is at first very hospitable but then he unexpectedly eats two of Odysseus’s men. He locks up the rest of them to save for later meals. Odysseus immediately thinks of a genius plan. He gets the giant extremely drunk and when asked what his name is, he tells Polyphemus that it is “Nobody.” At first this is confusing and the reader may question Odysseus’s motive, however, it turns out he was preparing for when the Cyclopes called for help. He called to his neighbors saying, “Nobody’s killing me now by fraud and not by force!” (9. 456) His neighbors did not come to help him, since they didn’t think he was in any danger. Despite his impressive actions, Odysseus also shows ignorance and a cowardly side. He knows that he cannot match the beast physically, and must get him extremely drunk to outsmart him. This certainly seems like an unfair battle, and a cowardly move. Also, when he is leaving, Odysseus cannot contain his extreme self-pride. As soon as they are out of the reach of the Cyclopes he tells him his real name. He knew that this was the son of Poseidon. Knowing his attacker, Poluphemus called out to his father to curse Odysseus’s…show more content…
This is made especially clear in books nine through twelve. We see several scenes that all connect back to one or more of these fatal pitfalls. In book nine, Odysseus and his men would have never been captured by the Cyclops had Odysseus been able to leave when his men advised. Instead of simply taking what they needed, he had to linger and look at all the goods he wanted. This is a battle he has with temptation. Then both Odysseus and the Cyclops are monstrous. When Odysseus blinds him it certainly isn’t a fair fight, however, Polyphemus had just eaten two of his men which was monstrous. The next book depicts Aeolus giving Odysseus the proper winds to get home; they are kept in a bag. However, his shipmates think the wind god has secretly given him gold and silver. They rip open the bag and release all the winds they need to complete their journey home. This shows temptation for the imaginary gold, and folly. They return to Aeolus, but he refusing to help someone so cursed by the Gods. Next they row to the land of the Laestrygonians, they seem kind and willing to help, but instead eat some of the men for dinner and sink many of their ships. This is clearly an example of monstrousness in cannibal form. When Odysseus becomes Circe’s lover, the men stay there for a year. This is complete folly since they are postponing their homecoming for a year just to enjoy the good things she

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