Telemachy Summaries

The Tales of Telemachus

Book 1- Finding the Father


Odysseus is lost at sea, for all Telemachus and his mother know. Penelope and Telemachus are back in Ithaca and trying not to let the little light of hope that Odysseus is still alive extinguish. Penelope is being urged by disgusting suitors to marry them, and Telemachus is being cheated out of house and home because of the unwanted guests. Athena disguises herself as Mentes and travels to Telemachus’s home because she wants to encourage him to keep the search on for his father. She offers words of wisdom and encouragement, and Telemachus is convinced to travel in order to find out his father’s fate and rid of the suitors crowding his home.

Book 2- Telemachus Mans Up


Telemachus calls an assembly of the suitors and tells them how they are eating him and his mother out of house and home. He also tells them that his mother will not remarry until they know the fate of Odysseus. While he is giving his speech to the suitors, he prays that Zeus will “grant him requital.” Hearing his prayer, Zeus sends two eagles to fly over the party and strike fear into the suitors.. After the assembly, Telemachus sets off for Pylos with the ship and crew that Athena, disguised as Telemachus, gathered for him.

Book 3- In Honor of Poseidon and Athena


Telemachus sails with Athena, who is in the form of Mentor, to the island of Pylos. When they arrive at Nestor’s palace, where they are having a feast in honor of Poseidon. Telemachus asks Nestor to tell him of his father’s status, whether he is dead or alive and where he is. Nestor tells him that he does not know if his father is dead or anything about his whereabouts. Before Athena leaves, she tells Telemachus and Nestor to send his son, Peisistratus, with Telemachus on a chariot all the way to Sparta to see King Menelaus. After Athena leaves, they all rest and Nestor gives Telemachus a nice tunic and cloak. When they wake the next morning they have another feast in honor of Athena, then the two start their journey to Sparta.

Book 4- New Information


Telemachus and Athena arrive at Menelaus’ house, and Eteoneus gives them a warm welcome after getting approval to do so from Menelaus. Telemachus shares his wish to find more information about the whereabouts of his father, or his death. In the morning, Menelaus again asks why are there, and Telemachus tells him about the suitors, in turn, Menelaus is greatly angered by the cowardice of the suitors. Menelaus tells the tale of how he returned home, he sadly includes that he knows little of the whereabouts of Telemachus’ father.Back in hisown realm and lands, Telemachus’ mother, Penelope, learns that her son has gone in search of information about his father, and she weeps because he has left her. Athena comes to reassure Penelope that Telemachus will come back alive and well, but does not overhear the suitors’ plan to overtake and kill Telemachus.