- What is the main point that you want someone to read this paper to understand?
I want to point out the brilliant capacity of decision making of Telemachus. His maturity is reflected through his decision making and his adaptability. That is what I want to highlight from Telemachus's character.
- Where did you focus particular efforts in this paper?
I focused on the deep study of each and every action and decision of Telemachus. I just want to focus on the immense maturity level of Telemachus while dealing each and every situation.
- What aspects of your last paper did you try to improve upon in this paper?
I am sorry, but I do not know anything about the last paper, so I am not able to give you comparative answer of this question.
- What specific elements of this essay please you the most?
I like the way Telemachus’s character has been described by John Heath, especially his ability to take right decision even in the crucial situation. His love and deep faith in his parents also deserves appreciation
- What specific elements still concern you as a problem?
I personally think that there is no such element which can be called as a problem. On the other hand, it is my belief that the character of Telemachus can be discussed and studied by various perspectives. The character of Telemachus is a very good topic for research even for management. Strategic planning, strategic and charismatic leadership, disaster management, are some of the topics, which are taught in management study. Telemachus character should be seen from management perspective.
- What aspects in and outside of class helped you the most with this paper?
When I started working on the assignment, I read a lot about the character of Telemachus. I searched articles of scholars on the personality of Telemachus. I read lot of google books that highlight Homer and especially Telemachus’s character.It helped me to develop my thinking process and I started thinking about Telemahus’s personality from in a linear way. The extra reading gave me a new insight to work on the paper.
- What feedback do you want from me about the paper you are submitting now?
If you are giving this privilege to me, then I would say that I want a positive feedback from your side. You should say that the efforts and my overall work is excellent!
Telemachus is a very important character in Homer's Odyssey. His qualities have been appreciated even by Homer. He was an ideal son and more than that he was a very good human being. He is also a strategic leader, who shows his ability to control the situations by using brilliant strategies. His deep love for his father and mother also deserves appreciation. Yet some of the critics do not fully agree with the strong qualities of his character. Some scholars criticize him on his maturity level. Some critics say that he acted rudely especially while punishing the homemaids. Personally I believe that Telemachus's action and his decision were very apt and rational for the situation he was handling. His decisions were always based on his linear way of thinking. While taking decisions, he had always showed his maturity. In some circumstances, he successfully kept his emotions aside and though rationally.
John Heath describes the various stages of Telemachus’ growth from a young man to his father’s son in Homer’s Odyssey. He stresses that the process of maturation of Telemachus has taken place much before his reunion with his father. It is supposed to be the successful journey of Telemachus towards adulthood. Hanna Roisman calls Telemacus as straightforward, and sincere in speech. Telemachus has become more Odyssean in his speech over the course of epic.
One more characteristic of his personality is that Telemachus does not wait to reply to others but instead open the conversation himself. This is the rare formula introduces a new side of Telemachus as he calls for a public assembly for the first time in his twenty years, so he can speak a word with his suitors, who marvel at his speech. It refers him as a ‘lofty orator’ He displays the first sign of his father’s crafty speech. He hides from the suitors about his meeting with Athena.
Heath also focuses on the transition of Telemachus from fatherless adolescent to son of the father he has never known. Telemachus’ transition is reflected in his sacrifice to earn his eternal fame, glorification of his name, and by acting in disguise. He masked his intentions, his abilities, and his profound knowledge. William Thalmann has recently pointed out Telemachus journey is further complicated by the awkwardness that he must both learn to assert his own claim to manhood; while at the same time, cooperating to his father and being subordinate to him. The son grows in the shadow of his father. Telemachus has to be independent, but at the same time he has to be guided by his father.
While keeping the things secret, Telemachus also has learnt the quality of being self controlled and patient just like his father. Books 18 and 19 are the pivotal points in Telemachus’ transformation. In book 1 and 2, he is shown as a powerless and inexperienced and in the last scene of the story also he is shown as powerless like a child, but this time the powerlessness is a disguised and not real one. Telemachus exhibits his maturity in his decision to kill the handmaids. Some scholars criticize his act as cruel and immature. But his decision is appropriate as the maids don’t deserve clean and simple death according to Heath. They reproach on him and his mother and sleep with the suitors. Telemachus has accepted his place by telling his father that he will follow him anywhere and in any circumstances.
A RHETORICAL ANALYSIS OF TELEMACHUS: GROWING INTO AN EPITHET.
Homer’s portrayal of Telemachus has been the subject of critical analysis for many scholars of ancient Greek literature. John Heath in his research article “Telemachus: Growing into an Epithet’ has discussed different facets of his personality. Heath has successfully refuted those critics, who have criticized Telemachus’ characters. While analyzing Telemachus’ character thoroughly, Heath takes into consideration all the major factors responsible to influence Telemachus’ character and his overall personality. Heath explains Homer’s intention while portraying the character of Telemachus. According to Heath Homer has carefully unfolded various stages of development of Telemachus’ character. Heath has argued that Telemachus’ journey towards adulthood is surprisingly a successful journey. To support his opinions and ideas, he gives many examples from the epic. Heath also throws the light on different qualities of Telemachus through appropriate examples.
The credibility of Heath’s research paper lies in his deep knowledge, thorough research and vast experience of ancient Greek mythological literature. John Heath is PhD from Standford University and he has a prolonged experience of teaching classic and ancient mythology and ancient language such as Latin. He has a special interest in Greek literature and mythology, and Latin Poetry. He is the author of five books and several articles based on Greek literature and mythology. He has been teaching Greek culture and mythology since 1980. Some of the eminent Universities in which Heath has taught are Santa Clara University, Stanford University, and Rollins College, The basic topics of his teaching are Elementary Greek, Greek Reading, Greek literature, Greek and Roman mythology, Helen of Troy, Latin grammar and basic Latin etc. Heath has been awarded with several awards, fellowship and scholarship for his work in the field of mythological studies as well as his excellence in teaching. His highly acclaimed books include The Talking Greeks, Who Killed Homer? The Demise of Classical Education and the Recovery of Greek Wisdom, and many more. He has written several articles such as Prophetic Horses, Bridled Nymphs, The Failure of Orpheus, The Serpent and the Sparrow and many more.
Telemachus is the main character in Homer’s Odyssey. He is shown as an ideal character that deserves happiness and justice in his life. The character of Telemachus is always studied from different perspectives. There are debates and arguments, whether Telemachus is matured in real sense and whether the journey of Telemachus towards maturation is a successful one. It is my belief that Telemachus a much matured character. Homer has shown a successful journey of Telemachus from a child to an adolescent and from an innocent person to a matured and independent person. Like other prince, he has not destined to live under the shadow of his father, but develops himself as an independent individual. Deborah Beck demonstrates that Homer manipulates the speech of both Telemachus and Odysseus to show the development of a young man into his father’s son. Beck further states that Telemachus was developed just as a faithful son of his father Odysseus. She also argues that the maturation of Telemachus started taking place much before his reunion with his father. But I believe that his maturation was not the process, which happens after Telemachus’ reunion with his father, but it has started developing earlier. The reunion is not the cause behind being mature to Telemachus. He fights for the whole life. Many circumstances come in his life, where he has to take decisions independently. Even John Heath advocates that the reunion took place through his constant conflict for survival and identity. Heath focuses on the Homeric term Pepnumenos. The term is used forty six times in the epic. The meaning of Pepnumenos is wise, shrewd, and astute. The epithet is used for the person with very good understanding and the one, who speaks and act honestly. Homer has portrayed Telemachus’ character in a very positive and constructive manner. Critic like Hanna Roisman explains the meaning of the epithet Pepnumenos as “Straightforwardness” and “sincerity”. Roisman states that being pepnumenos is to tell the truth. The speech of Telemachus is genuine, and authentic, probably because it is followed by action. Further, the impact of the speech was effective, authoritative, and sincere.
Telemachus is a very sensitive, and at the same time very balanced person. His intention behind every action is to fight against the enemy of his father and family. His sacrifice and unconditional love for his father and caring for his mother are reflected through his speech and action. He has an ability to sacrifice his knowledge and ability for the sake of his father. A genuine commitment towards the parents needs lot of maturity. He promises his father that he will not do any such thing, which will bring shame and disgrace to his father and his family name. The attitude implies his love for his parents. Love cannot be sign of immaturity. Keeping aside own happiness, and thinking about the betterment of the other people and family members are the signs of maturity, which is gained by Telemachus. “Filling the father’s shoes” is the common phrase in Homeric poems. Its literal meaning is to take the place of someone successfully and work satisfactorily. It is the desire of the father that his son should be like him, or better. Odysseus is proud of Telemachus. He prefers to identify himself as a “father of son” rather than a “son of the father.” It implies his pride for his son’s qualities. The qualities of Telemachus are also reflected in his act of obeying his father without any question. He has deep and unshaken faith in his father’s decision. When Telemachus wants to show his father the ability of stringing his father’s bow, his father Odysseus gave him a nod of disapproval and he immediately agrees his father’s decision. He is independent while dealing with the people outside and especially his rivals. When there is a question of his loved ones, he is ready to be submissive and adjustable. But at the same time, we cannot take this submissiveness as his weakness. It is because the submissiveness is only for his loved ones, and not those who have tortured his parents. When there is a time of punishment, he does not show pity to the sinners and the criminals. It is reflected in his decision of giving a very cruel punishment to the handmaids,
On the basis of the discussion, it is my belief that Telemachus is a very sensible character with fine blend of some opposite qualities in his personality. He has qualities essential for being a good king and a ruler. Even Homer also has portrayed his character with different dimensions. He is shown as a hero, who fights against all odds to lead a stable and happy life with his father and mother. I also believe that the objective behind every action of Telemachus is selfless and reflects love and honesty towards his father and family.