The Odyssey: Book 1 lines 345-359

N.B.: I’ve not blogged in a while but I’ve a really good excuse– a beautiful new baby daughter.

'La Grande Penelope', bronze sculpture by Anto...

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Now Telemachus responds to his mother. Ostensibly, what he says is a mild rebuke of his mother Penelope, but the person who should feel the sting of it is Phemius the herald and the suitors. While Penelope’s rebuke of Phemius treats him as a member of the royal household, what Telemachus says here regards him as an itinerant wage-earner without any genuine attachment to the royal household.

The description of Odysseus‘ glories earned at Troy have at least a few implications for the suitors. First, Telemachus implies that the suitors like to hear of such deeds but cannot hope to achieve comparable deeds themselves. Admittedly Telemachus himself is young has has not done anything yet himself of the sort, but he tells everyone that he intends to go bring Odysseus home– a great deed indeed. Moreover, all this reaffirms that only Odysseus has earned the κλέος (literally glory but implying political clout based on deeds done especially but not only in battle) needed to aspire to be king of Ithaca. Hence the suitors are merely presumptuous rebels by direct implication.

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