Paper Assignment #2
Character Foils for Odysseus
The Odyssey is the epic that has been read time and time again, by varying ages, digging its way into our hearts, becoming an instant classic. Odysseus and the adventures of his homecoming create a much different tale than Homer’s other work, the Iliad, provided. The epic is not about bloodthirsty men trying to get their hands on kleos anymore; it is about the homecoming of a man who uses his wits, not his weapon. In the Odyssey, the characters balance – Homer provides contrasting characters to show the readers the traits that Odysseus holds and how it builds his character development and even those who are foils to him. Odysseus’ own son, Trojan War companions, and wife create the man that is called Odysseus, highlighting the various facets of his personality throughout the epic.
Odysseus’ son Telemachos matured since the very first book of the Odyssey, becoming more self-confident in his capabilities, more powerful in the speeches he makes, and more importantly, more determined to rule the kingdom that will one day become his. The growth that Odysseus undergoes in his travels, such as growth in intellect, maturity and strength, his son goes through as well. The emotional growth in the paralleling stories of Telemachos and Odysseus holds a key part to the storylines. When Telemachos travels to Sparta he meets Menelaus, Odysseus’ friend from the Trojan War. When Menelaus mentions Odysseus, the young Telemachos first tries to stay strong and continue to hide who he is but breaks down and cries, showing he still has a lot to learn. Odysseus is known for his tricks, especially in the Odyssey where he specializes in not being who he says he is for ninety-five percent of the epic. As Telemachos tries to accomplish being a trickster like his father he shows he has potential but it is not the right time yet to be as tricky as Odysseus is. In book 21 of the Odyssey Telemachos sets