Odysseus is the chief character of the novel Odyssey, and it records his homecoming journey since his departure from troy. Odysseus is seen to be present in the Iliad, but he has a different mission from that of the poem. The story talks about the challenges he encountered on land and sea. The story also gives an account of how he will avenge the honor of his family from the suitors, who are surrounding his house waiting for his wife to choose another man. Through out his journey he is assisted by Athena but to be disillusioned by Poseidon who says that “I will make his journey very difficult because he blinded my son”. Telemachus is the son of Odysseus, and he wants to stop the suitors from taking advantage of his father’s estate. He search’s for his father’s news so that they can proclaim their estate. Telemachus and Odysseus journey is similar to some extent because both of them face challenges in their trips.
Odysseus is portrayed as a leader with Homeric character. He is powerful, confident, and courageous, and he wants to achieve glory. Odysseus has a character trait that makes him different from the others since he is extremely intelligent, and this is evident by his calculations before an action. His intelligence and quick thinking helped him in difficult situations that he encountered. His intelligence saves him when he escapes from Cyclops cave, and when he hides the suitor’s slaughters “please play the wedding song for the guests”. Odysseus is remarkably eloquent in his speeches, and he manipulates and convinces the audience (Steinruck, Pp 23). His soft tongue makes many people in the audience favor and agrees with him. This is evident when he wins the trust of Nausicca by using a comforting approach when addressing them. Just like other Homeric heroes, Odysseus is striving to achieve glory from the society by the good deeds and he also wants to go home.
He is an adventures person, and this is portrayed by his luxurious life with calypso in an exotic land even though it lasts for a moment. He practices infidelity with Calypso for a short time and realizes he wants to go back home because calypso does not compare to his wife. He is concerned about his home, and this is evident because he constantly thinks about home while spending time with Phaeacians. Odysseus is torn between the quest of getting home and achieving glory. Most of his time of getting home is wasted by his search for glory. He is troubled when he looses men and time while sacking land. Odysseus is a patient man “I will wait for as long as it takes in these caves” while enjoying milk and cheese (Steinruck, Pp 35). His patience makes him trapped in the cave when the Cyclops returns.
Homeric characters are presented to be static since they are complex and realistic. These characters do not move from their mission and course of work as portrayed by characters in modern novels and stories. However, this rule is broken by Odysseus and Telemachus. Odysseus is consumed by his quest of achieving glory, and this makes him reveal his identity to the Cyclops, thus bringing Poseidon’s anger on him. He is willing to temper his pride with patience at the concluding part of the epic. Even when he is disguised as a pauper Odysseus does not react to the abuse, “I will wait until the traps I have set and loyal people will place me at a suitable position for striking back” (Steinruck, Pp 44).
Telemachus was a child when his father left for Troy. At the beginning of the novel, Telemachus is still growing up. He is encountered with many challenges because he does not know how to protect the land from the suitors. Athena tells Telemachus to fight for his father’s estate as she tells him “you are no longer a child” (Steinruck, Pp 54). He is facing this challenge because he recently became aware of the real intentions of the suitors. Telemachus is told by Athena that his father is still alive and he must make a journey to Pylos and Sparta to enquire about any news of his father. While he prepares to move make his journey to Pylos and Sparta, Athena visits masked as a mentor. She tells Telemachus “your journey will be successful” (Steinruck, 2008). Athena moves to town and assembles a crew to sail with Telemachus on his journey. He is courageous like his father because he takes the open sea with faith that God is on his side. When Telemachus and Athena arrive at Pylos they witness a religious ceremony where dozens of bulls are sacrificed. Telemachus is not good as his father in public speaking and this is evident as he fears to talk to city king. Athena encourages Telemachus by telling him “go and speak to King Nester”. Telemachus is then accompanied by Pisistratus the son of the king to Sparta and the two set out on land. Telemachus resembles his father as he is quickly identified by the queen of Sparta Helen “you are the son of Odysseus” (Steinruck, Pp 60). When Telemachus is told that his father is imprisoned in an island, he returns back to pylos to set sail for Ithaca. He faces the same challenge like his father because the suitors want to ambush him. Telemachus is courageous like his father as he moves alone around southern Greece to learn of his father’s fate. Telemachus is has the skill of impressing host and this is evident as he impresses the host in Ithaca.
Telemachus confronts the suitors and commands them to stop taking advantage of his father’s estate. He takes control of the estate even when Penelope and Eurycleia become angry of his actions. Telemachus is different from his father because he has different talents. He is portrayed as a person with a stout heart, intelligent mind and a little bit of a temper. However, he does not have the skills of speaking fluently and softly as Odysseus. He is a careless man because he leaves the weapons store open and this allows the suitors to take arms. Even if, Odysseus makes mistakes on his course during the epic, he can not afford to make a careless mistake like that of Telemachus. Telemachus is different from his father because he has not inherited his pride. He has not developed perfectly as his father, and this is evident while he tries to string the bow. He nearly does it but not quite and this shows the he cannot match his father’s skills, but he is on his way.
Telemachus and Odysseus journey is similar to some extent because both of them face challenges in their trips. Telemachus wants to be ambushed by suitors while Odysseus is imprisoned in an island by calypso. Both of them are protected by the gods in their journey to reach their destination. Telemachus is different from his father since he does not have the skills of public speaking and convicting a crowd. Although he is courageous like his father, he is not intelligent as Odysseus because he makes serious mistakes. Odysseus has a character trait that makes him different from the others since he is extremely intelligent, and this is evident by his calculations before an action. Just like other Homeric heroes, Odysseus is striving to achieve glory from the society by the good deeds and he wants to go home. Odysseus is torn between the quest of getting home and achieving glory. Most of his time of getting home is wasted by his search for glory. Telemachus is courageous like his father as he moves alone around southern Greece to learn of his father’s fate.
Odysseus has been transformed because of the challenges he experienced throughout his journey. He has learnt not to trust everybody because some people do not have good interest of him in heart. He has learnt this because the people who betrayed his family are those who were close to his father. His journey has transformed in that he has become a patient man and he is focused on achieving his goal. He has learnt to listen to other people advice first before making a decision.
Steinruck, Mogn. The Suitors in the Odyssey: The Clash between Homer and Archilochus. New York: Peter Lang. 2008