In what ways does Telemachus alter the course of events in "The Odyssey"?
The fact that Telemachus exists is an obstacle to Penelope's suitors. If Odysseus did not have a son to inherit his throne, it would have been easier for one of the suitors to proclaim him dead and take his kingdom and his wife.
Some of the obstacles Telemachus puts in their way include convening an assembly, rebuking the suitors, and sailing in search of his father. In taking these actions, he matures and grows in self-confidence so that when Odysseus finally does return home, Telemachus is able to help defeat the suitors.
Telemachus becomes a symbol of hope. Without his quest to find his father, penelope and others would have loss all hope of his return. In addition, once Telemachus sets begins the search for his father, a requirement for the epic hero, he takes his rightful place in the cycle of the epic hero. At the end of the epic, the reader must reflect on the possibilities for Telemachus. Will he become a great warrior like his father? What advantures await him?