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The Hero's Journey
Transcript of The Hero's Journey
Son of Odysseus
Odysseus is missing and so Telemachus must take on the quest in search of him.
Telemachus' quest is also about his coming of age where he must gain courage and take charge against the suitors.
The Hero's Journey is Complete!
This shows us how Campbell's Monomyth can be applied to the Odyssey through Telemachus' quest.
Telemachus lives at home with his mother and servants while his father is missing. His mother's rude and violent suitors eat and drink up the food and wine of Odysseus' household, lounging around demanding Penelope's hand. Telemachus, still considered a youth, feels that he can do nothing about them. "He [Telemachus] was sitting with the suitors, his heart troubled, picturing in his mind how his noble father might get back, scatter the suitors from his home, win honour for himself, and regain control of his own household." (Book 1, 149-153, pg. 12).
Refusal of the Call
There is no clear refusal of the call, but Telemachus does ponder Athena's advice. It is probable that the thought crossed Telemachus' mind to forsake Athena's instructions at least once. "Telemachus lay there all night long, wrapped up in sheep's wool, his mind thinking of the journey which Athena had earlier proposed to him." (Book 1, 591-593, pg. 21).
Call to Adventure
In the Hero's Journey, the hero is literally "called to adventure" by a
. In the Odyssey, Telemachus was called to find out about the fate of his father and his whereabouts. "Then leave here—set off in search of news about your father, who's been gone so long." (Book 1, 384-386, pg. 19). This sentence spurs Telemachus on to start his journey.
The Herald is the force or being that provides motivation for the hero to start his/her adventure. *the herald does not necessarily have to be human. In the case of the Odyssey, the Herald is the goddess Athena (Athena is also the Mentor).
The Hero: Telemachus
Approach the Inmost Cave
The Road Back
Return With the Elixir
Meeting the Mentor
Telemachus meets Athena, disguised as Mentes, and Athena advises Telemachus on how to find his father again. "As he thought about all this, sitting there among the suitors, he saw Athena. He immediately walked over to the outer gate" (Book 1, 153-155, pg. 12).
Athena disguises herself as Mentes, whose father knew Odysseus, and approaches Telemachus. She advises him to journey to Menelaus and find out what he knows of Odysseus. "Sail first to Pylos—speak to noble Nestor. After you’ve been there, proceed to Sparta and fair-haired Menelaus, the last one
of all bronze-clad Achaeans to get home." (Book 1, 389-392, pg. 19).
Crossing the Threshold
Tests, Allies, and Enemies
Approach to the inmost cave can also be when Telemachus and Odysseus plan out how they will kill the suitors. " I've come at Athena's bidding, so we may plan destruction for our enemies. But come now, tell me about the number of the suitors, so I know how many men there are and what they're like. " (Book XVI, Lines 290-295, pg. 321)
This begins when Athena gives Telemachus courage and instructs him to begin gathering materials for his trip. "Collect provisions,and put everything in some containers— wine in jars and barley meal, which strengthens men, in thick leather sacks. I'll go through the town and quickly round up a group of comrades, all volunteers."(Book II, Lines 389-298, pg. 37)
Telemachus' challenge to begin his journey into the "special world" was getting past the violent suitors. The special world was that of which Telemachus had to act as a man and take leadership when sailing in search of his father. If the suitors caught wind of his plan, they would prevent him from leaving by force. Telemachus managed to discreetly get supplies and a ship and crew together, of course by the instructions of his Mentor. "Telemachus led them away, and the group then followed. They carried everything to the well-decked ship and stowed it all in place, as Odysseus' dear son instructed them to do. Then, with Athena going on board ahead of him, Telemachus embarked." (Book 2, 555-560, pg. 41-42)
Telemachus encounters obstacles in his journey. One major obstacle was the suitors. They treated Telemachus with no respect, seeing him rather as a foolish and rude little boy. They were definitely a major
to Telemachus. They even attempted to ambush him and murder him on his way back from Sparta. Athena warned Telemachus that "The bravest of the suitors lie in wait, enough to set an ambush, in the straits between Ithaca and rugged Samos. Before you get back to your native land, they want to murder you." (Book 15, 38-42, pg. 219).
"Once they reached the places where his treasures lay, the son of Atreus picked up a two-handled cup and told his son, Megapenthes, to take a silver mixing bowl. Helen went up to the storage chests which held the richly woven garments she herself had made...picked out one, the largest and most beautifully embroidered" (Book 15, 137-144, pg. 294). Menelaus and Helen of Sparta aided Telemachus with supplies and gifts. They could definitely be considered allies of Telemachus.
The Shadow can be represented by the suitors, as they are the ones ravaging the house of Odysseus. They threaten Odysseus' honor and possessions, with no regard to Telemachus or the other members of the household. They don't believe Odysseus will come back and are brazen in their actions.
If the suitors caught wind of his plan, they would prevent him from leaving by force. Telemachus managed to discreetly get supplies and a ship and crew together, of course by the instructions of his Mentor. So the suitors are, in a way, the threshold guardians to the "special world." If Telemachus can get past them, he is a worthy enough man to be in the "special world."
The Ordeal begins when Telemachus and Odysseus start killing the suitors.
At this part, Telemachus confronts his greatest challenge which are the suitors, who have been creating havoc in his home.
"But Telemachus moved in too quickly for him— he threw a bronze-tipped spear and hit him from behind between the shoulders. He drove it through his chest. With a crash, Amphinomus fell, and his forehead struck hard against the ground." (Book XXII, Lines 118-122, pg. 433)
Telemachus has slain all of the suitors and therefore has earned his reward.
The death of Penelope's suitors is the biggest reward for Telemachus because they can no longer take his belongings, eat his food or pose as a threat to him.
"After they'd done that,
they washed their hands and feet and went inside the house,
back to Odysseus. Their work was done. " (Book XXII, Lines 590-592, pg. 447)
There is no clear stating of Telemachus' Road Back. The killing of the suitors occurred in his home therefore there was no journey back. After being reunited with his father, Odysseus, after so long, Telemachus had no trouble returning back to his ordinary world.
After facing the biggest life-or-death experience of slaughtering the suitors, Telemachus must begin the "cleansing".
Telemachus cleans up his home and gets rid of the bodies while Odysseus purifies his house with sulphur and fire.
'“Old woman, bring sulphur here to purify the house.
And bring me fire so I can purge the hall."' (Book XXII, Lines 594-596, pg. 447)
After defeating the suitors in the Ordeal, Telemachus is able to return home with his "elixir".
The elixir represents new courage Telemachus has gained throughout his battle against the suitors along with the love from Odysseus now that they are finally reunited.
"They came out holding torches, then gathered round Odysseus, embracing him. They clasped and kissed his head, his hands, and shoulders, in loving welcome." (Book XXII, Lines 611-614, pg. 448)
During the battle against the suitors, we discover that the shapeshifter is Melanthius, the goatherder.
The shapeshifter's alliance is often unknown, and misleads the hero. He/she changes greatly along the course of the hero's journey. The hero often must become the shapeshifter to overcome an obstacle. In the Odyssey, there is no shape-shifter.
Tricksters are usually people who provide comical relief in stories
They create chaos through their antics and cause trouble for everyone
In the Odyssey, we could not classify a Trickster
Trans. by Ian Johnston copyright © 2006 by Richer Resources Publications Second Edition (January 2007) Second Printing (May 2007)