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Word Count: 1,245
When does a boy become a man This rite of passage is explored in Robert Fagles translation of Homers epic poem The Odyssey Odysseus king of Ithaca fought in the Trojan War for ten years and after the fall of Troy he spent the next ten years trying to get home He left behind an infant son Telemachus and a devoted wife Penelope Although they longed for Odysseus return Penelope and Telemachus were the perfect hosts to wayward strangers - even as their estate became overrun with arrogant suitors - men intent on marrying Penelope and taking possession of the throne Athena goddess and daughter of Zeus is instrumental in encouraging Telemachus to begin his journey to adulthood saying You must not cling to your boyhood any longer - its time you were a man 1 341 - 342 Young Telemachus first encounters Athena disguised as Mentes son of Anchialus while he was sitting among the suitors suffering from a heavy heart and daydreaming about his father He welcomes her into his home and Athena stirs emotion within Telemachus by saying Youre truly Odysseus son Youve sprung up so Uncanny resemblance The head and the fine eyes - I see him now 1 240 - 242 By acknowledging his resemblance to Odysseus Athena rouses within Telemachus the strong emotions for the father he barely knows and initiates the rising of inner strength that Telemachus must develop in order to confront his impending challenges It is clear that Telemachus responds positively to Athenas encouragement when he instructs his astonished mother to tend to her own tasks declaring As for giving orders men will see to that but I most of all I hold the reins of power in this house 1 412 - 414 Telemachus now displaying the initial signs of dignity and determination and living life with purpose for the first time orders the suitors to return to their own homes Unfortunately
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