Coming of Age in Homer's the Odyssey Essay examples

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Identity is a theme that runs strongly throughout The Odyssey. While much of Homer's work is devoted to Odysseus' journey, an examination of his son Telemakhos provides an excellent example of character development. From the anxious and unconfident young man to which Book I opens to the courageous exactor of his father's estate, Telemakhos undergoes notable emotional maturation. The spiritual journey illustrated by Telemakhos, through his own personal odyssey, provides strong evidence that the epic is, indeed, about identity.

When Odysseus left Ithica, Telemakhos was only an infant. Now twenty years later, Telemakhos is faced with the hoggish suitors and shows little sign of hope for the future. In fact, when Athena approaches him as
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Although Telemakhos is overwhelmed and, at times, complaining, there is no evidence to suggest that he doesn't have good intentions. In fact, Athena's helpful nudges seem to be just the catalyst that Telemakhos needs to get on the right track towards avenging his father's estate and name, as well as to becoming a courageous individual and in thus fulfilling his identity.

In the latter part of Book I and in Book II, we see a change in Telemakhos' character. Tellingly, Book II is entitled "A Hero's Son Awakens." Given the encouragement from Athena, Telemakhos' evolution from cowardice to courage begins. He calls the suitors to a meeting where he informs them that he will be departing, and commands: "go feasting elsewhere, consume your own stores...If you choose to slaughter one man's livestock and pay nothing, this is rapine; and by the eternal gods I beg Zeus you shall get what you deserve: a slaughter here, and nothing paid for it!" (I.424-430). Telemakhos is initially not known to be a man of action; and this is the first occasion upon which Telemakhos takes a stand against the suitors. Then, just as his father, Telemakhos bravely sets out on his journey. Just as Athenas encouragement has served, Telemakhos' progression is largely thanks to the support of those he will meet on his journey. At Pylos, he speaks with fluency to Nestor and his

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