Is Telemachus the last moral outpost in a sea of corruption in Ithaca?

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Rachel Kenyon

Is Telemachus the last moral outpost in a sea of corruption in Ithaca?

In the absence of his Father, Telemachus has been left to serve as the master of the family household, despite being very young himself- perhaps only 20 years or so. He comes up against a number of antagonistic characters in the first two books and

The family home has become overrun with suitors for his mother, trying to convince the grieving Penelope to remarry, as would have been expected of a widowed (assuming Odysseus is dead,) woman as that time. However, rather than attempting to court her in the was that was considered ‘proper’ at the time, they have encroached on the family, taken advantage of Odysseus’ wealth and been entirely unsympathetic to the family’s feelings at the loss of their father. A more somber attitude would perhaps be more suitable to their situation rather than theirs of vulgarity and even celebration.

        Telemachus had offered them hospitality, which they’ve chosen to take advantage off. Perhaps his politeness and preoccupation with maintaining a good reputation had rendered him incapable of kicking them out? Perhaps he’s worried this would goagainst the God’s wishes and couldn’t take control of the situation until he knew that he had Athene’s blessing? They don’t reciprocate the level of respect that Telemachus awards them and, in any age, this would be perceived as extremely rude, arrogant and short sighted.

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        Despite his age, Telemachus isn’t influenced by the behaviour of the irreverent suitors. He is described as being ‘disconsolate’ amongst them and generally exhibits a feeling of resentment towards them. In a modern context, you would expect a teenage boy to be influenced by his peers in an attempt to fit in and gain support. This isn’t so in the context that Homer’s Odyssey was set. Telemachus has come from a noble background and I expect that throughout his upbringing a lot of evidence was placed on family honor, reputation, respect and morality. He evidently aims to uphold these values ...

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