In Homer's epic, The Odyssey, how does Telemachus' opinion of Odysseus change from the beginning of the story to the end? 

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lhc eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Growing up fatherless as he did, Telemachus could easily have been written as a bitter young man resentful of the suitors dominating his home in the absence of the patriarch; however, this is not the story of a deadbeat father running off for greener pastures.  Odysseus has been away for ten years fighting a war, and another decade trying to get home.  Prince Telemachus was a baby when his father left, but through the years has been given an informal education on the nature of his father, who is thought of as a warrior and a hero.  When Athene visits Telemachus, and he figures out that she is indeed the goddess, he realizes that his family must be considered worthy by the "higher ups", and resolves to try to become more like his father, beginning with an attempt to recapture control of his mother's household.  When Prince Telemachus meets his father at the end, we see how much the two really are alike;  Odysseus, disguised as a begger offers Telemachus his seat, which Telemachus refuses, demonstrating both men's inherent heroic and gentlemanly characteristics.  As a prince, Telemachus was entitled to the seat, but deferred to the "lesser man".  When the two men finally discover each others' identities, they embrace emotionally, then work together, father and son, man to man, to take back control of their home, thereby cementing the foundation of the family that has managed to stay loyal despite a twenty year separation. 

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The Odyssey

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