• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How are the figures of Telemachus, Odysseus and Athena presented in Books I to V?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Homers Odyssey Due 6th November N.B.: All texts referenced fully in the Bibliography, Page 7. How are the figures of Telemachus, Odysseus and Athena presented in Books I to V? Throughout the formative books (namely I to V) that shape the consensus of the poem as a whole, the author portrays a series of consistent motifs and themes - primarily utilising literary mediums akin to epic poetry of this period. Indeed, a great deal of this is highlighted through initial character portrayal and their subsequent interactions with those around them as the story progresses. This is particularly evident in the cases of the legendary Odysseus, his estranged son Telemachus (the main protagonists of the poem) and the Goddess Athene - who oversees the well being of the aforemented heroes. Odysseus, the central character of the poem, is repeatedly portrayed as a courageous character renowned for his cunning; everyone who comes into contact with Odysseus is left in awe of his abilities. The author reiterates this point without fail whenever Odysseus becomes the topic of conversation, and the diction employed is always wholly complimentary (Cook, Book I, l.128 "stout-hearted Odysseus", Book III, l.98 "noble Odysseus", Book IV, l. ...read more.

Middle

to the suitors (Cook, Book I, l.414-416 "I put no trust in a message, wherever it comes from, And I give no heed to any divination my mother Might ask of a diviner, calling him to the Hall") - which is full of Odysseus' fabled guile. However, these encouraging signs are directly conflicted with his immature frustration in his emotive release after his encounter with the suitors (Cook, Book II, and l. 80-81 "so he spoke, in anger He threw the sceptre down on the ground, bursting out in tears"). This culminates in the presentation of an emotively vulnerable Telemachus at the beginning of the poem - a man unable to supersede or detach himself from the father's memory, which in turn proliferates a tension between him and his mother (Penelope). This is evident in their numerous exchanges, but predominantly in his conversation with Athene (Book I) - in which he refers to her state of indecision with very disparaging tones (Cook, l.249 - 251 "She neither refuse the hateful marriage nor can she make an end of it"). Yet another example not only of Telemachus' confused nature that he seeks to blame those around him for a wholly unwarranted situation but of his immature frustrations. ...read more.

Conclusion

and, with her frequently referenced 'divine plan', give the narration both a piety and omnipresent overview to which only a God would be privy (which in turn aids the narration of the story). In summary, there are a great deal of motifs and themes highlighted in the portrayal of these respective characters. Not only do they reiterate the consensus of the poem (predominant in Athene's disguises or Telemachus' quest for identity and belonging) but also serve to underline the consistent paradigms of epic poetry (Odysseus' cunning and guile, Athene's divine interventions, etc.). In respect of the characters themselves, the opening books function to give concise summaries of them, which are later expanded on as the story progresses. Odysseus is repeatedly proven to be a great hero (albeit with a human side that longs to reunite his estranged family), whilst Athene is revealed to be a wise and cunning Goddess that serves to give the poem a sense of gravity (through the inclusion of the council of the Gods) and lends omnipresence to the narration. The majority of the characterisation revolves around the complex nature of Telemachus, who initially feels incapable of assuming his father position yet eventually yields to his destiny (albeit through Athene's help). WORD COUNT 2,000. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Classics section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Classics essays

  1. How far was Plato's perception of rhetoric a consistent one?

    still young and tender.'11 It is for this reason that Plato is so opposed to giving uncensored examples of the poets' works to children. He gives the examples from 'Homer and Hesiod'12. Many of these stories are not factually true, although they may be based in truth, nor are they morally true.

  2. What was the function of hadrians wall

    The view that Hadrian's Wall was a customs barrier used to tax and control all that came in to and left the Roman Empire, has also been put forward by historians and archaeologists. This is based primarily on the fact that there are such a large amount of gates in the wall.

  1. Similes in the Odyssey: Books 5-7

    handmaidens, and her suitors are compared to "boars and deer" in their running, so are happy just to see her. However, the handmaidens "are all lovely" too, showing us that Nausikaa is indeed aesthetically outstanding. The emergence of Odysseus from the thicket is likened to a "hill-kept lion, /who advances,

  2. What qualities does Odysseus show in the episodes he relates in Books 9-12? Does ...

    However, Homer makes it very clear that this a crew that is almost impossible to control and are arguably not worth controlling. They come to fault by "their own transgressions", "in spite" of Odysseus' "efforts". Not controlling the men does not destroy Odysseus' heroism.

  1. How important is Book 11 to the overall meaning of The Odyssey?

    The various farm related references are possibly used to show that these fierce and mighty leaders are still humble. It is known that Odysseus kept animals, which the suitors ate, at his home in Ithaca. A curse on the House of Atreus is held responsible for all that happened in Aegisthus' palace, as Zeus is 'a relentless foe'.

  2. Select one important episode/figure (human or divine) from The Odyssey and show what contribution ...

    However towards the end of the poem she stops a battle which she had previously encouraged. This is mainly due to Zeus' influence after he throws down a thunderbolt, still we see a glaring inconsistency in Athene's character which cannot be explained, "Then Pallas Athene...still using Mentor's form and voice

  1. Assess the significance of the Gods in Homer's Iliad and Odyssey

    No gods can play a major role in Homer unless they have a personal appeal and power. This condition tends to minimise or exclude those gods that are too particularly identified with a certain sphere of activity to take a generally appealing physiognomy.

  2. ‘There are tears for suffering’ Aeneid 1.462. Show how Virgil conveys the pathos of ...

    As Zeus declared in Book 1, Aegisthus ignored the warnings of Hermes, killed Agamemnon and married Clytemnestra. As a result, the avenging Orestes killed him. In the song of Demodocus, Ares the adulterer courts Hephaestus' wife Aphrodite and sleeps with her.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work