Opportunities Found in Adversity
Oftentimes, there are many trials and tribulations on a journey home. The Odyssey by Homer is a great example of this. An epic poem that describes Odysseus’ journey home, it describes all of the trouble and misfortune that he runs into. In Book 19, Penelope questions Odysseus about his journey. Then, when a maid is washing Odysseus’ feet, she discovers him for who he actually is. Later, Penelope explains a dream to Odysseus and he interprets it for her. Book 19 emphasizes sons taking on responsibility, the importance of home, and the use of disguises. There are numerous points in Book 19 where Telemachus has to take on responsibility in order to help his dad overcome the suitors and win back Penelope. One example of this is displayed when Odysseus is getting ready to fight the suitors and tells Telemachus to “‘Harness the weapons . . . itself can draw men’s hands’” (19. 5-17). Telemachus is taking on responsibility at home by helping his father move the weapons to a spot where the suitors will not be able to reach them during the fight. Another example of Telemachus taking on responsibility is when Odysseus asks him to keep his secret: “Be still: keep still about it . . . Telemachus went across the hall and out/ under the light of the torches-crossed the court/ to the tower chamber where he had always slept” (19. 53-60). Here, Telemachus promises his dad that he will not tell anybody that he is the “beggar.” Telemachus has promised not to tell, because Odysseus cannot afford letting Penelope know that he is home. If Penelope finds out, she might tell the suitors, and they could rebel and destroy the palace. It is important for Telemachus to show responsibility at home because soon, Odysseus will die, and all of the leadership is left for Telemachus. On Odysseus’ journey home, there was much use of guile and trickery that led to safe travels. “’Nurse go shut the women in their quarters . . . I want them shielded...
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