Saturday, February 03, 2007

Rethinking the Subtle Battle

Upon being granted an audience with Menelaus, Telemachus concealed his true identity as prince of Ithaca, while the king remembered old battles and the fall of Troy. The Spartan monarch revealed the heroism and valor of Odysseus—and what he believed to be the fate of Odysseus, declaring his belief that the clever hero rested at the bottom of Poseidon’s sea. However, Menelaus did not stop there. What he did next proved to be crucial to the heart and soul of the young Telemachus. Menelaus correctly ascertained the identity of this mysterious visitor to his court and acknowledged that he saw a strong resemblance between Telemachus and his father.

The king proclaimed that the son of Odysseus must also be endowed with great courage and wit and possess the favor of the gods. Imagine hearing this from a mighty king! How did Telemachus respond to such encouragement? Initially, he scoffed. He doubted that any of his father’s strengths could have been passed down to someone as “unlucky” as he. Here were the wounds of the heart rising to the surface. The lies that Telemachus had believed about himself were fighting against the things that were true and real. A very, very subtle battle was taking place between hope and despair. “Could it be that I am strong and clever as was my father? Could I possibly have the courage it takes to reclaim my home from the invading suitors?”

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