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The Odyssey Telemachos Quotes


Quote 16

(Telemachos:) ‘Antinoös, I cannot thrust the mother who bore me, who raised me, out of the house against her will. My father, alive or dead, is elsewhere in the world. It will be hard to pay back Ikarios, if willingly I dismiss my mother. I will suffer some evil from her father, and the spirit will give me more yet, for my mother will call down her furies upon me as she goes out of the house, and I shall have the people’s resentment.’ (2.130-137)

Telemachos knows that kicking your mom out of your house is a definite "don't"—unless, of course, she's murdered your father (ahem, Klytaimestra). In that case, honor demands that you kill her.


Quote 17

(Telemachos:) ‘But if you are determined to murder me with the sharp bronze, then that would be my wish also, since it would be far better than to have to go on watching forever these shameful activities, guests being battered about, or to see you rudely mishandling the serving all about the beautiful palace.’ (20.315-319)

Telemachos shows that he has indeed learned Odysseus’s lessons on honor; he would, like his father, rather die fighting than live humiliated.


Quote 18

Then the thoughtful Telemachos said to him in answer: 'Father, it was my own mistake, and there is no other to blame. I left the door of the chamber, which can close tightly, open at an angle. One of these men was a better observer than I.' (22.153-157)

Remember how Odysseus shouted his name at Polyphemos? Telemachos's mistake wasn't quite that dumb, but it was along the same lines: impulsive and immature. Like his dad, he eventually realizes his mistake and apologizes for it.