In what way do Telemachus' words after "giving up" his attempt to string Odysseus' bow show him to be a worthy son?

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noahvox2 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

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In Book 21 of Homer's Odyssey, Penelope proposes a contest in which her suitors try to string her husband Odysseus' bow. Before the suitors, however, try to string the bow, Odysseus' son Telemachus makes an attempt. Telemachus fails on his first three attempts to string the bow, but on the fourth attempt he appeared to be on the verge of succeeding until a signal from Odysseus caused him to cease his efforts.

Now exerting all his power he might have strung it at the fourth attempt had Odysseus not shaken his head, and checked his eagerness. (A.S. Kline translation).

Looking back on Odyssey 21, other than Odysseus, Telemachus comes closest to stringing the bow. This alone might indicate that Telemachus is worthy of his father.

The fact, however, that Telemachus is obedient to his father's signal to cease from the attempt is a sign of Telemachus' worthiness. Like many other cultures, the Greeks regarded obedience to one's father as an absolute "must-do".

Also the fact that Telemachus is able to weave a suitable falsehood to keep up the pretense is further indication that he may eventually prove worthy of his father.

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