THE ODYSSEY Books 1-4
1. The story of Agamemnon, Aegisthus, Orestes and Clytaemenstra is a recurring theme during these first 4 books of the odyssey. The references I have picked up on throughout the four books are as listed: - Book 1, page 4, Section 29-48. This is the first reference to the story of Agamemnon, Aegisthus, Orestes and Clytaemenstra. In this, it is at an assembly of gods in Zeus' palace. Zeus, who would open discussion among them, was in thought of the handsome Aegisthus. Zeus speaks about the gods being regarded as the source of men's trouble, and states that it is their own transgressions that bring them suffering. He continues to speak of Aegisthus' destiny not being one where he would steal Agamemnon's wife and murder her husband when he came home. Athene then speaks and says "Aegisthus' end was just what he deserved and that may anyone who act as he did share his fate!" - Book 1, page 12, Section 298-303. Athene is telling Telemachus that he is no longer a child and must put childish thoughts behind him. She goes on to ask him "Have you not heard what a name Orestes made for himself in the world when he killed the cunning Aegisthus for murdering his noble father?" She then tells him that he has grown and must be as brave as Orestes. - Book 3, page 36, Section 193-200. This reference is spoken by Nestor and is another encouragement to be as brave as Orestes. - Book 3, page 37, Section 247-329. Telemachus asks Nestor to tell him what really happened, how did the imperial Agamemnon meet his end? Where was Menelaus, and by what cunning snare did that treacherous Aegisthus contrive to kill a man far braver than himself? Was Menelaus away from Achaean Argos and wandering abroad? Is that why Aegisthus plucked up the courage to strike? All these questions are answered and Nestor gives one version of the Agamemnon return. - Book 4, page 47, Section 90-93. A brief reference to Clytaemenstra's treachery towards her husband and how it enabled Aegisthus (an enemy of our house) to strike unsuspecting Agamemnon down. The story of Agamemnon
Brother of Menelaus, and commander of the Achaean forces at Troy, Agamemnon was murdered by his wife, Clytemnestra, and her lover, Aegisthus, upon his return from the war. While Agamemnon was at the war, Aegisthus cunningly courted and seduced his wife Clytaemenstra. Upon his return, at the treachery of his wife, he was killed by Aegisthus. He was later avenged by his son Orestes, with killing of both Clytaemenstra and Aegisthus. Their story is constantly repeated in the Odyssey to offer an inverted image of the fortunes of Odysseus and Telemachus. More commonly it was a referral to Telemachus in relation to the courage of Orestes. It is used to build Telemachus' character.
2. Merely an infant when his father Odysseus left for Troy, Telemachus is still maturing when the Odyssey begins. He is completely devoted to his mother and to maintaining his father's estate, but he doesn't know how to shield them from the suitors. His meeting with Athene in Book 1 significantly changes things his character. Aside from improving his stature and bearing, she teaches him the responsibilities of a young prince. He soon becomes more decisive, respectable, and assertive and slightly more mature. He confronts the suitors and announces the abuse of his estate, and when Penelope and Eurycleia become anxious or upset, he does not shy away from taking control. He has a stout heart and an active mind, and sometimes even a bit of a temper, but he isn't yet to scheme with the same skill or speak with quite the same fluency as Odysseus. Telemachus has not yet inherited his father's brassy pride either. Telemachus also shows signs of immaturity and feebleness at times. A reference of this is: Page 48, Section 113-115. "Menelaus' words stirred in Telemachus, an overwhelming desire to weep, and when he heard about his father he let the tears roll down his cheeks to the ground and with both...
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