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Odysseus and Telemachus Foils essay

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Odysseus and Telemachus Character Foils Essay In Homer’s The Odyssey, Telemachus embarks on a mystical journey to find his father whom he has not seen in twenty years. While Odysseus is also trying to find his way back to his long lost home he encounters monsters in which his odds for survival are extremely low, but his willingness to find his family helps him triumph past even the deadliest creatures. The novel becomes a contrast between Odysseus and Telemachus’ traits and how they shape the book. Homer suggests that when you stand up for yourself and for your family, you need both maturity and experience. Initially, Telemachus’ age and experience, or lack their of shows he must become a new man. In this quote it shows that Telemachus needs to be able to fend for himself, “for a way to kill these suitors in your house, by stealth or in open combat. You must cling to your boyhood no longer.” (1.339-341). Menelaus is telling Telemachus to no longer be a boy, but a man. His parents are in need and he is the only one that can save them. This passage suggests that this is Telemachus’ chance to finally live up to Odysseus expectations. This is his chance to prove his heroism, but fails because he does not have the man hood to drive out the suitors. Despite his best efforts Telemachus has proven that he will never live up to his fathers standards of a man. This quote examines that all Telemachus wants is to live up to his dad, “ And stopped him short despite his tensing zeal. “God help me,” the inspired prince cried out, “must I be a weakling, a failure all my life?”(21.148-150). This passage is saying that even Telemachus, Odysseus’ son cannot string Odysseus’ old bow. This was a chance for Telemachus to live up to his long lost father and step into his shoes, but fails desperately. He believes that he will never be good enough to be called the son of Odysseus. In contrast Odysseus’ experience and savviness was shown when trying to take back what was rightfully his. This quote is a perfect representation of what a man will do to return home, “But Odysseus aimed and shot Antinous square in the throat and the point went stabbing clean through the soft neck and out.” (22.15-16). This passage shows that Odysseus will do anything to return to his family and restore peace in Ithaca. This insight shows that Odysseus is still the man of the house. This foil shows that Telemachus was not man enough to seize the palace when the suitors first arrived, but when Odysseus comes back from his journey he takes the house back. This also shows Odysseus is not ready to let Telemachus be the man of the house.

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