Illustration of Odysseus tied to a ship's mast

The Odyssey

by Homer

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What parallels exist between Argos and Telemachus in The Odyssey?

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Odysseus's dog, Argos, was, like Telemachus, very, very young when Odysseus left home twenty years earlier to fight in the Trojan War.  Argos had been just a pup, and Telemachus would have only been a month or so old.  Like Argos, Telemachus has never forgotten about his father and longs for the day when he returns home.  When Odysseus does return, Argos recognizes him -- though no one else does -- and he wags his tail and lowers his ears despite the fact that he is too physically weak to stand up and go to his master.  Likewise, when Odysseus returns, and he tells Telemachus who he is, his son treats him as if no time has gone by and is as loving and loyal to him as if it has not been twenty years since they've seen one another.

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