In "The Odyssey", what lets us know at the end of Book 21 that Athena's efforts to make Telemachus a man with courage have been successful?

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Telemachus is the only contestant who even comes close to being able to string Odysseus's bow, but the courage that Athena has tried to instill within the young man goes beyond physical prowess.  Telemachus shows his dignity and courage by submitting to his father's will for now.  Odysseus, who has seen the success his son has had with the bow, signals to him to cease his attempts so that Odysseus himself might have a chance to exhibit his own power and skill.  It is not yet time for the son to take over for the father, and Telemachus understands that.  He pretends he has put forth his utmost effort and cedes the bow to Odysseus, who strings the bow and uses it, hitting all his targets with amazing alacrity.  Sometimes it takes more courage to refrain from showing off the depth of one's own ability than it does to flaunt it, and that is what Telemachus does, bowing humbly to his father's will.  Athena has done her job well, as Telemachus truly shows himself to be a man of character as he stands tall beside Odysseus at the chapter's end.