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The Odyssey

The Odyssey


by Homer

Telemachos Timeline and Summary

  • Telemachos greets Athene, who comes to Odysseus’s home disguised as Mentor. He apologizes for the suitors’ rough behavior.
  • Athene advises Telemachos to go to Sparta and ask for news about Odysseus from Nestor and Menelaos.
  • Telemachos issues an ultimatum to the suitors: they must be gone at dawn. He is laughed at and can’t really do anything about the situation. Other than pout.
  • Telemachos calls a meeting of the Ithakan men. He shames the suitors and calls the general public out for not speaking out against them.
  • Telemachos leaves that night for Pylos. There, he learns from Nestor that Odysseus is a great favorite of Athene’s and hears the story of Orestes, whom he admires for doing what was necessary to clear his family name.
  • Telemachos leaves for Sparta to see King Menelaos.
  • Menelaos recognizes Telemachos as Odysseus’s son and tells him stories of Odysseus during the Trojan War. Telemachos is told that Odysseus is still alive – and stuck on Kalypso’s island.
  • A few days later, although it’s been about eight years for us as we’ve been listening to Odysseus’s story, Telemachos, still in Sparta, is approached by Athene and told to come home. Right now.
  • He does, even bypassing Nestor’s hospitality, which we’ve seen can drag on for quite some time.
  • Just as he is about to pull out of port, Telemachos is approached by a stranger named Theoklymenos, a seer and a fugitive begging passage aboard his ship. Telemachos grants it. He’s a nice guy.
  • Athene guides Telemachos’s ship away from the suitors’ ambush.
  • Telemachos, following Athene’s instructions, goes to Eumaios’s hut, where he meets Odysseus in beggar form.
  • At Athene’s orders, Odysseus reveals his true self to his son. There is much rejoicing. Then they start plotting to slaughter all the suitors.
  • Telemachos goes back to town to see his mother and orders Eumaios to bring Odysseus along later.
  • Penelope questions Telemachos about what he learned of Odysseus on his journey. He tells his mother the truth, but not the whole truth. (He omits the little fact that Odysseus is in fact already home.)
  • Telemachos vows his protection to the beggar in front of all the suitors at dinner.
  • Penelope comes downstairs to scold Telemachos about letting the beggar suffer abuse at her table while all the suitors go crazy with lust at the sight of her.
  • That night, Telemachos and Odysseus move the suitors’ weapons out of the great hall and into a locked storage room.
  • Telemachos is the first to try the string-the-bow test. He almost succeeds on his fourth attempt, but is stopped by Odysseus’s signal.
  • Telemachos fights alongside Odysseus against the suitors and kills his first men.
  • He carelessly leaves the storage room door open when getting weapons, which allows Melanthios to arm the suitors. Telemachos confesses his fault to Odysseus.
  • Telemachos speaks on behalf of Phemios and Medon – both loyal servants of the household – and Odysseus refrains from killing them.
  • When Odysseus orders that the disloyal maids be killed by sword, Telemachos instead hangs them so as to render their death more dishonorable.
  • Telemachos goes with Odysseus and the herdsmen the next day to see Laertes.
  • When the Ithakan rebels show up, Telemachos invokes Athene and kills the ringleader, Eupeithes. This eventually leads to peace.