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The Odyssey: The Meeting of Father and Son

Odysseus returns home to Ithica and reconnects with his son, Telemachus, after twenty long years of travel, war, and a long voyage around the ocean.
by

Rachel Jones

on 30 November 2012

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Transcript of The Odyssey: The Meeting of Father and Son

Background music. In Book 13, Odysseus, laden with gifts, has returned in secret to Ithaca aboard a magically swift Phaeacian ship. In Ithaca, Athena appears to the hero. Because his home is full of enemies, she advises Odysseus to proceed disguised as a beggar. Now, Odysseus must succeed not only by physical power but also by intelligence.
In Book 14, Odysseus in his beggar's disguise, finds his way to the hut of Eumaeus, his old and trusty swineherd. Eumaeus is the very image of faithfulness in a servant-a quality much valued in Homer's society. The introduction of members of the so-called servant class as important characters is unusual in epic poetry and reflects Homer's originality. Odysseus is politely entertained by Eumaeus, but the king remains disguised from his old servant.
In Book 15, Athena appears to Odysseus's son, Telemachus. The young man has gone to Pylos and Sparta to talk with old comrades of his father in hopes of finding out whether Odysseus is alive or dead. Athena advises him to return to Ithaca. His home-the palace of Odysseus-has been overrun by his mother's suitors. These arrogant men are spending money from Telemachus's inheritance on feasting and drinking, and they are demanding that his mother, Penelope, take one of them as a husband. Athena warns Telemachus that the suitors plan to ambush him. Telemachus boards a ship for home, lands secretly on Ithaca, and heads toward the hut of the swineherd.
The suspense increases as fathers and son move closer and closer together. Now Homer is ready to recount what could be the most dramatic moment in the epic. Remember that Odysseus has not seen his son for twenty years. Telemachus has been away from Ithaca for a year. (Homer 1079) Everyday by: Rascal Flatts Telemachus returns home and heads to the swineherd's home. When he does, the dogs don't bark, and Odysseus doesn't know that his son is about to be before him. When the young prince walks through the door, but Odysseus doesn't know who he is, thinking one of the servant may be near. When Telemachus seen this he was thunderstruck with shock. he takes Odysseus for a god and Odysseus told him he was his father. Telemachus doesn't believe him and still thinks him a god because of the magic Athena bestowed on him to become a beggar.
The swineherd realized who the young man was and greeted him with such respect and loyalty, like a respected prince, and Odysseus knows who it is. He knows that his son is there before and stares in amazement. Though Odysseus knows who Telemachus is, he does not change his disguise. The prince greets the beggar-not knowing that his father is before him- and shows respect and reverence to him. When Telemachus later heads home to the palace and the swineherd tells of the return of Telemachus, Athena cannot take the suspense any longer and turns Odysseus back to himself. Once Telemachus is convinced, they embrace after many years of separation. They cried until the sun went down and they restored the connection between father and son after twenty long years. BY: Ja'Quiese Williams and Rachel Jones
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