The Telemachy

Topics: Odyssey, Iliad, Odysseus Pages: 2 (677 words) Published: November 15, 2011
The Telemachy: The Essential Differences Between Pylos, Sparta, and Ithaka In Homer’s The Odyssey, a central character named Telémakhos ventures off to different kingdoms in search of his missing father Odysseus. His experiences, specifically in Pylos and Sparta, teach him about Greek customs and help highlight the misrule and on his home, Ithaka. In visiting these kingdoms, Telémakhos sees how elders are respected, how the gods are honored, and how Greek customs of hospitality are followed. When Telémakhos visits Pylos, he sees how elders are respected. There, King Nestor shows respect for Athena, who is disguised as an old man named Mentor. To Mentor he says, “but he is just my age, you are the senior/ so here, I give the goblet first to you” (36)*. Even though Mentor is in a lower class, Nestor gives him the goblet before anyone else, as a sign of respect. In contrast, Mentor is threatened by the insolent suitors in Ithaka and told, “Old man, go tell the omens for your children/ at home, and try to keep them out of trouble./ I am more fit to interpret this than you are” (24). Not only is he disrespectfully referred to as an “old man,” but his knowledge and wisdom are also insulted. By meeting with Nestor, Telémakhos realizes the importance of respecting elders; this sharp contrast helps him recognize the extent of misrule and chaos in Ithaka. When Telémakhos visits Pylos and Sparta, he also realizes how much the people of Ithaka lack proper honor and respect for the gods. He recognizes the importance of sacrifices in Greek culture when he first arrives at Pylos and sees citizens killing black bulls for Poseidon. Moreover, King Meneláos tells Telémakhos that he was once troubled on a journey back home because he had not paid his honor to Zeus through a sacrifice. Unlike the people of these kingdoms, the people of Ithaka never once make sacrifices to respect the power of the gods. Even before Telémakhos sits down to eat, Nestor asks, “Friend, I must ask you to...
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