Why is Odysseus's son Telemakhos's growth important to the poem as a whole?In Homer's Odyssey,  book 1 to book 4 is a description of  the change of Odysseus's son Telemakhos. Why is this change...

Why is Odysseus's son Telemakhos's growth important to the poem as a whole?

In Homer's Odyssey,  book 1 to book 4 is a description of  the change of Odysseus's son Telemakhos. Why is this change important to the poem as a whole?

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akasha124 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Telemachus' role is important to the poem as a whole because without his rapid maturation and the assistance of Athena (his father, Odysseus' protector goddess), the poem wouldn't happen. 

If Telemachus hadn't been spurred on to assume the role of Man of the House, the suitors would have just continued to have gotten more and more rowdy until one of them persuaded Penelope that Odysseus was indeed dead and she should marry one of them and one of them should take over as Man of the House. 

If Telemachus hadn't then done his best to find news of his father and give hope that Odysseus was not dead, then it would have been impossible to have the drama of Odysseus' long journey and his triumphant return home because then he wouldn't have had a home really to return to and returning home is one of the central themes of the poem.  But since Telemachus assumed the role of Man of the House, Odysseus' place in his own home was assured since Telemachus is his heir and then there would be no questions of who should inherit what or who Penelope was really married to, etc. which makes for a much easier ending, thus providing much more room to explore Odysseus' travels.