John Michael Fitzgerald
Odyssey Essay, Book Four
September 15, 2012
How is Telemachus dealing with challenges and temptations on his journey?
In Sparta, Telemachus shows emotional maturity when he hears stories of his father, poise when Menelaus approaches him, and tact when he turns away Menelaus’ offers.
On Telemachus’ first challenge, hearing stories of his father, he shows signs of emotional maturity. He does this by weeping for Odysseus. At first you would think that this is a sign of immaturity, weeping in the presence of one of the most powerful kings, Menelaus, but it is not. It is I sign of maturity. I say this because he is no longer grieving in his own self-pity, he is mourning for his father. Also, Menelaus and Pisistratus, who are both mature men, began to weep for Odysseus, too. This shows that even men can weep, whether it is mature or not solely depends on the reason for your weeping.
Telemachus also shows poise when he is approached by Menelaus the morning after their dinner. The reason that he is approaching Telemachus the morning after is because the previous night, Telemachus did not reveal the true reason of why he was there because he became nervous in Menelaus’ presence, and now Menelaus wanted to know. This time though Telemachus was not nervous, he was poised (On his toes, ready). He told Menelaus the true reason upon his arrival, which was to get information on his father. He did this by telling Menelaus that he came in search for news of his father, and that he wanted him to hold nothing back and tell him every detail.
Telemachus not only shows signs of maturity, he is also tact when denying the gracious offer from Menelaus when he said, “But come, my boy, stay on in my palace now with me, at least till ten or a dozen days have passed. Then I’ll give you a princely send off with horses and Chariots” (The offer was an extended stay, and a princely exit with stallions and chariots). Not many people would deny this...
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