The Far-Fighters Son: The Quest of Telemachus for His Father Odysseus


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Who is Telemachus?

I would obey you, but the Achaeans, and more particularly the wicked suitors, are hindering me that I cannot do so. As he thus prayed, Minerva came close up to him in the likeness and with the voice of Mentor. If, then, you take after him, your voyage will not be fruitless, but unless you have the blood of Ulysses and of Penelope in your veins I see no likelihood of your succeeding.

Sons are seldom as good men as their fathers; they are generally worse, not better; still, as you are not going to be either fool or coward henceforward, and are not entirely without some share of your father's wise discernment, I look with hope upon your undertaking. But mind you never make common cause with any of those foolish suitors, for they have neither sense nor virtue, and give no thought to death and to the doom that will shortly fall on one and all of them, so that they shall perish on the same day. As for your voyage, it shall not be long delayed; your father was such an old friend of mine that I will find you a ship, and will come with you myself.

Now, however, return home, and go about among the suitors; begin getting provisions ready for your voyage; see everything well stowed, the wine in jars, and the barley meal, which is the staff of life, in leathern bags, while I go round the town and beat up volunteers at once. There are many ships in Ithaca both old and new; I will run my eye over them for you and will choose the best; we will get her ready and will put out to sea without delay. Thus spoke Minerva daughter of Jove, and Telemachus lost no time in doing as the goddess told him.

He went moodily home, and found the suitors flaying goats and singeing pigs in the outer court. Antinous came up to him at once and laughed as he took his hand in his own, saying, "Telemachus, my fine fire-eater, bear no more ill blood neither in word nor deed, but eat and drink with us as you used to do.

Telemachus

The Achaeans will find you in everything--a ship and a picked crew to boot--so that you can set sail for Pylos at once and get news of your noble father. Was it not enough that you should waste so much good property of mine while I was yet a boy?


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Now that I am older and know more about it, I am also stronger, and whether here among this people, or by going to Pylos, I will do you all the harm I can. I shall go, and my going will not be in vain--though, thanks to you suitors, I have neither ship nor crew of my own, and must be passenger not captain. As he spoke he snatched his hand from that of Antinous. Meanwhile the others went on getting dinner ready about the buildings, [5] jeering at him tauntingly as they did so.


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Or will he go to Ephyra as well, for poison to put in our wine and kill us? Another said, "Perhaps if Telemachus goes on board ship, he will be like his father and perish far from his friends. In this case we should have plenty to do, for we could then divide up his property amongst us: as for the house we can let his mother and the man who marries her have that. This was how they talked. But Telemachus went down into the lofty and spacious store-room where his father's treasure of gold and bronze lay heaped up upon the floor, and where the linen and spare clothes were kept in open chests.

Here, too, there was a store of fragrant olive oil, while casks of old, well-ripened wine, unblended and fit for a god to drink, were ranged against the wall in case Ulysses should come home again after all. The room was closed with well-made doors opening in the middle; moreover the faithful old house-keeper Euryclea, daughter of Ops the son of Pisenor, was in charge of everything both night and day.

Telemachus called her to the store-room and said:. Let me have twelve jars, and see that they all have lids; also fill me some well-sewn leathern bags with barley meal--about twenty measures in all. Get these things put together at once, and say nothing about it. I will take everything away this evening as soon as my mother has gone upstairs for the night.

I am going to Sparta and to Pylos to see if I can hear anything about the return of my dear father. When Euryclea heard this she began to cry, and spoke fondly to him, saying, "My dear child, what ever can have put such notion as that into your head? Where in the world do you want to go to--you, who are the one hope of the house? Your poor father is dead and gone in some foreign country nobody knows where, and as soon as your back is turned these wicked ones here will be scheming to get you put out of the way, and will share all your possessions among themselves; stay where you are among your own people, and do not go wandering and worrying your life out on the barren ocean.

Homer (c BC) - The Odyssey: Book XVI

The old woman swore most solemnly that she would not, and when she had completed her oath, she began drawing off the wine into jars, and getting the barley meal into the bags, while Telemachus went back to the suitors. Then Minerva bethought her of another matter. She took his shape, and went round the town to each one of the crew, telling them to meet at the ship by sundown.

She went also to Noemon son of Phronius, and asked him to let her have a ship--which he was very ready to do. When the sun had set and darkness was over all the land, she got the ship into the water, put all the tackle on board her that ships generally carry, and stationed her at the end of the harbour. Presently the crew came up, and the goddess spoke encouragingly to each of them. Furthermore she went to the house of Ulysses, and threw the suitors into a deep slumber.

She caused their drink to fuddle them, and made them drop their cups from their hands, so that instead of sitting over their wine, they went back into the town to sleep, with their eyes heavy and full of drowsiness. Then she took the form and voice of Mentor, and called Telemachus to come outside. On this she led the way, while Telemachus followed in her steps. When they got to the ship they found the crew waiting by the water side, and Telemachus said, "Now my men, help me to get the stores on board; they are all put together in the cloister, and my mother does not know anything about it, nor any of the maid servants except one.

With these words he led the way and the others followed after. When they had brought the things as he told them, Telemachus went on board, Minerva going before him and taking her seat in the stern of the vessel, while Telemachus sat beside her. Calypso 5. Hades 7. Aeolus 8. Lestrygonians 9. Sirens Cyclops Nausicaa Circe Athena responds with her usual playful irritation:. Is this second-guessing Athena? Athena is an advocate, but Zeus is the judge. The desire for verification from the highest order of power is justified both on a personal and a professional level.

Athena, however, is still the go-to goddess for the upcoming plan of action, and she contributes mightily to the increasingly morbid atmosphere. The next omen is of her own making, and represents the peak of the pre-slaughter spookiness redolent in the great hall.

The Odyssey

The prophet Theoclymenus can easily guess what all this foretells, and the suitors break the spell by turning their laughter towards him; when he departs, they set upon Telemachus with an almost manic intensity. Modern readers are likely tempted to label all this as Athena giving the suitors a last chance to catch on and high-tail it back to the safety of their own homes. But we also know that, with absolute certainty, she has doomed them all.

see url This is situation where cause and effect are inextricable the one from the other. With this accomplished, the machine can be set into motion. Athena inspires Penelope to set the axes. Telemachus has, through the attentions of both Athena and his parents, passed as far into manhood as can be hoped for a young man with a father still in his prime. He voluntarily cedes the bow, willing to wait his turn to be man of the house, and through the hands of the suitors, it arrives at those of his father.

This causes the predictable ruckus. Penelope goes on to defend Odysseus in his turn at the bow, and after this elegant intercession she is sent back to her rooms by an increasingly calm and authoritative Telemachus , and Athena sedates her for the length of the battle.

Odysseus gains control of the bow:. As usual, Odysseus is satisfied to reclaim something only once he is given the chance to examine it himself, with carefully probing hands. His first shot sends the arrow humming through the axes. With Eumaeus he regained his loyal subordinates, and with Telemachus he reclaimed his fatherhood. Now in the hall, bow sound in his hand, he retrieves his identity as a fighter and as the owner of the household.

To get to these he must first pass through the suitors. Athena at last enters the chaotic scene:. The suitors for their part immediately issue a long and vicious series of threats against the disguised goddess. How can you—. The suitors are doomed—this is an absolute certainty when both she and her father are bent on the same end—so venting fury against them is a rather useless redundancy. The suitors have always been obstacles, worthy of little consideration beyond simple tactical considerations.

A good track coach will spend her time yelling at the runners who trip, not the hurdles that trip them. However, Athena is nothing if not fair, and as usual steps in to improve the circumstances under which Odysseus and his band are attempting to prove themselves. From her perch on the rafters—a very appropriate image for the goddess of tactical surveillance—she makes certain that the salvos of the enemies fly wide. Telemachus and Eumaeus both receive scratches, which operate as proof that Athena is not gifting them with invulnerability, or lending them any greater skill with the blade than what they naturally possess.

The Odyssey

The only two members of the household who are spared are Medon the herald and Phemius the bard. Neither he nor his patroness is of the type to pass up free publicity.


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  • She wastes no time in returning once the moment has passed. This would seem to be supported by the tradition in classical mythology of gods and humans in the shape of bulls or cows Zeus wooing Europa, the girl Io, Pasiphae….

    The Far-Fighters Son: The Quest of Telemachus for His Father Odysseus The Far-Fighters Son: The Quest of Telemachus for His Father Odysseus
    The Far-Fighters Son: The Quest of Telemachus for His Father Odysseus The Far-Fighters Son: The Quest of Telemachus for His Father Odysseus
    The Far-Fighters Son: The Quest of Telemachus for His Father Odysseus The Far-Fighters Son: The Quest of Telemachus for His Father Odysseus
    The Far-Fighters Son: The Quest of Telemachus for His Father Odysseus The Far-Fighters Son: The Quest of Telemachus for His Father Odysseus
    The Far-Fighters Son: The Quest of Telemachus for His Father Odysseus The Far-Fighters Son: The Quest of Telemachus for His Father Odysseus
    The Far-Fighters Son: The Quest of Telemachus for His Father Odysseus The Far-Fighters Son: The Quest of Telemachus for His Father Odysseus
    The Far-Fighters Son: The Quest of Telemachus for His Father Odysseus The Far-Fighters Son: The Quest of Telemachus for His Father Odysseus

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