Telemachus' Change in the Odyssey Essay

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Jason Chu Dr. Spencer-Cooke, Period 4 Honors English 1 11 December 2011 Emergence of Telemachus’ Heroic Traits in the Telemecheia Joseph Campbell’s ten archetypal heroic traits appear in many literary protagonists. Physical strength, eloquence, leadership, and ties to supernatural forces are characteristics that are pervasive among heroes. King Gilgamesh, in the Epic of Gilgamesh, possesses the Campbellian traits of unmatched physical strength, confident leadership, and ties to gods. Whereas in the case of Telemachus in Homer’s Telemecheia, the young prince has not matured to Gilgamesh’s prominence, but several of Campbell’s attributes become apparent in the story. As Telemachus undergoes his journey, he…show more content…
(2) Another outcome of Athena’s encouragement is Telemachus’ development of eloquence. At first, he is tentative and inexperienced at using his loquaciousness on the suitors and Ithacans, but he soon becomes an expert orator when speaking to Menelaus. After Athena’s inspiration, Telemachus finally confronts the courters and complains about their insolence. He delivers a scolding speech, which prompts them to be “amazed that [he] can speak with so much daring” (1. 439). His loquaciousness surprises the suitors, as they have never heard him audaciously advocate for his beliefs. However, his complaints do not leave a lasting effect on the courters, as they immediately begin to “dance and s[ing]” (1. 480). Telemachus then becomes tentative, and eventually succumbs and does not reprimand them again. Thus, his hesitation and amateurism prohibits him from completely inducing them to leave. Moreover, he is unsuccessful in rousing the Ithacans to retaliate against the suitors. Telemachus attempts to make an inspiring speech to persuade the Ithacans to fight against the courters, but instead, he provokes “pity [to] seize [the Ithacans]” (2. 88). The response is the opposite of what the young prince desired, and this failure proves Telemachus is still a neophyte at utilizing his eloquence. At Menelaus’ house, Telemachus matures and becomes an effective and influential speaker. Menelaus offers three magnificent stallions to Telemachus, but he
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