How Are Odysseus and Telemachus Alike?

Odysseus and his son Telemachus are the only two characters in “Odyssey” to significantly develop over the course of the story. While Telemachus is not as strong a leader as his father, both characters are courageous and intelligent. In any case, it is implied by the end of the story that Telemachus, who is introduced in the story as being 21 years old and therefore about to mature into manhood, is on course to follow in the footsteps of Odysseus and become a skilled leader.

Just as Telemachus is developing his practical, strategic and leadership skills, so does Odysseus gradually become less conceited. Towards the end of “Odyssey,” Odysseus disguises himself as a beggar and manages to stoically endure taunts from others, at least until his plan has come to fruition. This is a far cry from his earlier blunder when, upon encountering the Cyclops, he proudly reveals his identity.

An encounter with the gods similarly precipitates a change in Telemachus. Meeting Athena in the first book of “Odyssey,” Telemachus learns his responsibilities as a prince and the son of Odysseus and quickly adapts to the role. This change is exhibited by his confrontation with the suitors who are attempting to usurp his father’s kingdom by wooing Penelope.