Illustration of Odysseus tied to a ship's mast

The Odyssey

by Homer

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Student Question

Why might Telemachus seek advice from Menelaus?

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After Odysseus’ disappearance, men wreaked havoc on his estate due to his absence. They were interested in marrying Penelope, Odysseus’ wife and Telemachus’ mother. Penelope avoided their overtures and employed her wits to remain loyal to her lost husband. However, the men camped at Odysseus’ home and feasted on his livestock and drank his wine much to the displeasure of both mother and son.

The goddess Athena visited Odysseus’ home disguised as a traveler and advised Telemachus to travel and visit Nestor of Pylos and Menelaus of Sparta. The aim of the visit was to find information about his father and to secure his father’s estate. Menelaus was important in the venture because he arrived last from Troy, placing him in the most suitable position to know the whereabouts of Odysseus.

... thence go on to Sparta and visit Menelaus, for he got home last of all the Achaeans ...

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