Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

No longer nepios: The maturation of Telemachos in Homer's "Odyssey"
by Smith, William, M.A., Tufts University, 2010, 84; 1476124
Abstract (Summary)

This thesis explores the maturation process of young males in Homer's Iliad and Odyssey. Because Homer describes Telemachos's journey into manhood at such length and with such detail, this study focuses mainly on his development and describes the growth and rites of passage of other Homeric warriors mostly as points of comparison and to better understand the maturation process in Homeric society as a whole. This study begins by examining the naming of Homeric males. This chapter considers the names given to sons and investigates the varying expectations and pressures attached to those names. The second chapter discusses why Telemachos is correct to identify himself as just recently [special characters omitted] (a child) and examines several different uses of the word in Homer. The third chapter describes Telemachos's speech in the assembly and his journey abroad to the Peloponnese as necessary rites of passage required for the Homeric male to enter manhood and seeks to prove this by comparing Telemachos's travels to those of his father and other young males on their paths to adulthood.

By exploring the development of Telemachos in the Odyssey and references to the maturation of other young males in Homer's epics and Hesiod's Works and Days, this study aims to provide a better understanding of rites of passage in Homeric society and the purpose of the Telemacheia in the Odyssey. This study concludes that the Telemacheia is indeed necessary and that Telemachos does mature greatly in the poem. In this thesis it is explained that Homer's poem, containing Theoklymenos's prophecy declaring the continued greatness of Odysseus's family and Odysseus's decision to leave home once more, requires Telemachos to become a man. In order to give a proper ending to his audience, Homer must convince them that Telemachos is a worthy successor and ready to take control of his household when his father leaves again.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Hirsch, Steven W.
Commitee: Malchow, Howard L., Reid, Peter L.D.
School: Tufts University
Department: Classics
School Location: United States -- Massachusetts
Source: MAI 48/05M, Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Classical studies, Classical Studies
Keywords: Greece, Homer, Maturation, Nepios, Odyssey, Rites of passage, Telemachos
Publication Number: 1476124
ISBN: 978-1-109-76972-2
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