Friday, February 02, 2007

Rethinking the Quest

Telemachus bore a heavy burden. His father was rumored to have been lost at sea following the war at Troy, and men from his own town had invaded his home, demanding the hand of his lonely mother in marriage. This young man was the son of a king—and not just any king, mind you, but the legendary Odysseus. Despite being raised as royalty, daily being hailed as “Prince Telemachus,” this young man felt powerless in the face of the older suitors who had aggressively pushed their way into his home.

Telemachus had never really known Odysseus as a father, because he had left for Troy on the day of Telemachus’s birth. Intellectually, Telemachus understood that he was the son of a king, but his heart had questions. If Homer would have allowed us to look deeper into the soul of Telemachus, what questions we would find lurking there? “What kind of man was my father?” “Am I like him?” “He was a powerful man. Am I?” Are any of your students asking questions like these? The boy searched for answers to these questions by journeying to the city of Sparta to seek out the counsel of Menelaus, a mighty king who had fought alongside Odysseus at Troy.

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