Odyssey is a Greek epic poem which is believed to have been written by Homer. In this epic, Homer presents a story revolving around Odysseus. Odysseus, husband to Penelope and father to Telemachos, was a Greek hero. After serving as a king of Ithaca and fought many battles, Odysseus later disappeared and lived in an unknown place for many years before eventually coming back to reunite with his family and people. Before then, his son and apparent heir had to risk his life and look for him wherever he was. Homer wrote this poem to deliver a message on the themes of morality, heroism, courage, and many more. The purpose of this paper is to present a critical discussion on Telemachos’ expedition in the epic.
In the epic, Telemachos features as a son, prince, and future king. He inherited his royal title position courtesy of his birth by King Odysseus and his wife, Queen Penelope. As a child, Telemachos was aware that he had a right to inherit his father’s estate and throne. However, he was not as lucky as other children who got an opportunity to benefit from a cherished parental love from both his parents. That was an unfortunate experience that he had to go through because his father was absent. Worse still, his mother who had remained at home was appearing to be an irresponsible mother who did not care about the welfare of her son. As a responsible and ambitious son, Telemachos had to leave the comfort of his royal home to travel in pursuit of his father.
Soon after the disappearance of King Odysseus, his home became quite disorderly. People had assumed that the king had died; many people thought that they would use his absence as an opportunity to pursue his wife and inherit his property. However, this did not please Telemachos who thought that it was not a good idea for his mother to marry another man and waste his rightful wealth which he was supposed to inherit from his father. The numerous suitors who had expressed interest in his mother were wasting his wealth because his mother had been organizing for extravagant and wasteful feasts for them (Homer, 2011). Because of this sad experience, Telemachos got an inspiration from Athena who had advised him to go on a journey to learn more about his father’s disappearance and purported death. Telemchos trusted Athena because he was his friend and mentor. It is, therefore, important to acknowledge that Telemachos was compelled to travel around because he was in search of the answers regarding his father’s mysterious disappearance.
Where the Journey led Telemachos and those who helped Him
The information from the epic demonstrates that Telemachos grew up a disturbed child. He was worried because of two things: the mysterious disappearance of his father and the taking over of his home by the suitors. Just like many other people in the kingdom, Telemachos was not aware of exactly what had happened to his father. The only information that was available for them was that King Odysseus had died during the Trojan War in which he had been fighting in defense of his territory. However, many people were in doubt of this claim because it had not been confirmed. Telemachos was also bothered about the many suitors who had defiantly expressed their intention to marry his mother even before establishing if his father had died or not. Hence, after getting encouragement from his mentor Athena, Telemachos set-off on a journey.
As the story unfolded, we later found out that Telemachos intended to travel to Sparta. His mentor advised him on how to organize for his voyage and travel through the sea to Sparta in which he would get to know the truth about his father. At one point, Athenas told him, “Telemachus,/you’ll lack neither courage nor sense from this day on” (lines 302-303). However, before then, he had to make a stop-over in Pylos (Homer, 2011). When Telemachos passed through Pylos, he intended to meet Nestor. He decided to visit him because he would help by providing him with useful information regarding the whereabouts of his lost father. He had trust in Nestor because he was one of his father’s close friends who must have had some clue about his location. What happened in Pylos is that Nestor did not only welcome Telemachos but also provided him with useful information on which he would rely as he continued searching for his father.
From Pylos, Telemachos proceeded to Sparta because Nestor had advised him to do so. According to Nestor, King Odysseus did not die as presumed. As one of his accomplices, Nestor held the view that the king did not die in the war. Although he was not quite sure about him, he knew so well that he had not died. Because of this motivation, Telemachos went to Sparta where King Menelaos confirmed to him that his father was alive. Telemachos felt a relieved when he learnt that his father had successfully fought the Trojan War, still alive, but only stuck somewhere in Kalypso’s Island.
During his entire journey, Telemachos was lucky to fall into the hands of good people who provided him with unending support. From this chronology, it can be deduced that if it were not for people like Athenas, Nestor, and Menalos, Telemachos would not have succeeded in his adventure. Each of these people mage great contributions towards the success of the trip because, if it were not for them, Telemachos would have failed. For instance, Athenas is the one who conceived the idea and offered Telemachos guidance on how to travel through the dangerous sea (Homer, 2011). Later, when he was still in Sparta, it is Athenas who informed him to go back home and escape the perilous sea. On the other hand, had it not been for the hospitality of the people like King Menelaos and Nestor, Telemachos would not have survived in Pylon and Sparta. At the same time, he would not have known anything about his father. However, apart from these leading characters, Telemachos also got support from people like Theoklymenos, Menelaus, and Helen of Troy.
Telemachos was compelled to travel to Sparta because he was searching for his father whose whereabouts were not known by anyone in the kingdom. Since he had a feeling that his father’s absence had put his family in shame, he felt that, as a responsible son, he had to do something about it. Because of this sad experience, Telemachos got an inspiration from Athena who had advised him to go on a journey to learn more about his father’s disappearance and purported death. Telemchos trusted Athena because he was his friend and mentor. During his trip, Telemachos encountered King Menelaos and Nestor who provided him with the necessary support until he accomplished his mission.