Telemachus, the son in search of his father in Homer's Odyssey

Homer's Odyssey is one of the best-known epic poems in world literature, telling the story of Odysseus and his journey home after the Trojan War. However, the Odyssey focuses not only on Ulysses, but also on his son Telemachus, who plays a significant role in the quest for his lost father. In this article, we delve into Telemachus' adventure in the Odyssey and his legacy in mythology.

Telemachus in search of his father

At the start of the Odyssey, Ulysses has been away for more than 10 years, fighting the Trojan war and still hasn't returned home to Ithaca. In his absence, numerous suitors seek to marry him and Queen Penelope, as she is the owner of the kingdom's riches. Telemachus, too young and inexperienced to make his voice heard in the government of his kingdom, is left in despair and uncertainty about his family's future.

The first strange clues to Odysseus' disappearance come from the suitors themselves. They take the liberty of coming to eat and drink in Odysseus' court every day, refusing to leave despite the protests of Telemachus. Melanthios, a household valet, plays a particularly turbulent role, provoking Telemachus and mistreating the servants loyal to Ulysse.

In this dark situation, Athena decides to help Telemachus and guide him on the path to discovering his father. She appears in the form of Mentor, an old friend of Odysseus, and encourages Telemachus to travel to Pylos and Sparta to seek information about his father's fate.

Telemachus follows Athena's instructions and travels to Pylos. There, he meets Nestor, a long-time friend of Odysseus, and receives advice on how to continue his quest. Nestor tells Troy stories of Odysseus' bravery and encourages Telemachus to keep searching even in the most difficult of times .

Telemachus continues his journey to Sparta, where he meets Menelaus, another friend of Odysseus. Menelaus tells how he traveled to Egypt to fight the bandits who stole Odysseus' ship, and how he learned that Odysseus was still alive, held by the goddess Calypso on the island of Ogygie.

After meeting Nestor and Menelaus, Telemachus returns to Ithaca, but he is not yet ready to face the suitors. However, he has gained confidence and is driven by a new flame: to find his father.

Telemachus' legacy

Telemachus' travels have allowed him to grow up, become stronger and acquire new wisdom. Where he was shyly silent before, he now speaks out confidently to the suitors. At first, his resolve is sorely tested, as the suitors are numerous and powerful, but with the help of Athena and his friend Eumaeus, a pig guardian, Telemachus begins to plan his defense.

As Odysseus returns home and the tense situation with the suitors reaches its climax, Telemachus is ready to fight for his family and his kingdom. With his father's help, Telemachus defeats the suitors and regains stability in Ithaca. Ulysses initiates him into the secrets of governance and so, Telemachus takes over in harmony and justice.

Telemachus' legacy is rather vast in mythology and literature. The character of Telemachus is an example of courage, humility and innocence mixed with a voracious spirit that desires to go beyond its limits. Telemachus is admired for his strength, his wisdom and his qualities of humility, which have inspired many other characters in literature. Some notable examples are Julius Caesar, who quoted Homer when he set out for the Rubicon, and Fritz Lang, who used Telemachus' quest as the basis for the narrative in his film, The Return of Frank James.


Telemachus' quest to find his father is an adventure in itself. His self-discovery is achieved through a quest to find someone else. He accomplishes something greater than himself, and gives meaning to a desperate situation. He sets an example for everyone, whether you're an apprentice or an adult in search of serenity. With the learning of problem-solving and the emphasis on the liveliness of the mind, Telemachus is a strong and inspiring character in mythology and history. Ultimately, Telemachus' quest is a powerful reminder that courage comes from charity towards others.