Telemachus' Change in the Odyssey

893 words 4 pages
Jason Chu
Dr. Spencer-Cooke, Period 4
Honors English 1
11 December 2011 Emergence of Telemachus’ Heroic Traits in the Telemecheia Joseph Campbell’s ten archetypal heroic traits appear in many literary protagonists. Physical strength, eloquence, leadership, and ties to supernatural forces are characteristics that are pervasive among heroes. King Gilgamesh, in the Epic of Gilgamesh, possesses the Campbellian traits of unmatched physical strength, confident leadership, and ties to gods. Whereas in the case of Telemachus in Homer’s Telemecheia, the young prince has not matured to Gilgamesh’s prominence, but several of Campbell’s attributes become apparent in the story. As Telemachus undergoes his journey, he
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677). This exhibits the prince’s enhanced social skills, as Telemachus obtains his wishes by masterly persuading the king. Telemachus’ newly developed eloquence permits him to emphatically affect and convince people. (3) Telemachus’ loquaciousness is the catalyst that allows him to become a leader. He begins to develop several essential components of a leader, such as repudiation of oppressors, bravery, and guidance. Before Athena’s influence, he cowers from the power of the suitors and never openly complains. However, the goddess’s impact evokes “discreet Telemachus [to] take command” by courageously demanding that the suitors leave his palace (1. 422). He is outnumbered and weaker than the suitors, but has the leadership and nerve to contest the power of his enemies. Telemachus’ leadership is further displayed when he “order[s] heralds to […] summon the [Ithacans] to full assembly” (2. 6, 7). Unlike the old, submissive coward he once was, Telemachus takes the initiative and instructs his servants. His leadership is also evident as he assertively orders his crew to Pylos. Telemachus “shout[s] out commands to all his shipmates” and demonstrates his supremacy (2. 462). In short, Telemachus begins to transform into a leader by renouncing intimidators, evincing boldness, and commanding effectively.
The Telemecheia depicts the development of heroic

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