The disagreement between Telemachus and Penelope arises from differing opinions
on the entertainment of Phemius. Phemius is singing the tale of the Greek
warriors of Troy and their homecomings when Penelope descends from her chambers
to protest this choice of music. She scolds him, and orders him to stop because
he has reminded her of Odysseus, whos long lost at sea. Telemachus rebukes
his mother by protesting that the bard has the right to sing anything he wishes.

He then sends his mother off to her chambers, declaring that he is the master of
the house. This clash between Penelope and Telemachus was caused by both.

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Penelopes fault was that she did not stop to consider Telemachus feelings
on the subject. She is so engrossed in her own pain for her lost love that she
is blind to the problems of her son. She does not see his insecurities on his
past and especially his future, or his lack of confidence in himself. Most of
all, she is ignorant to his inner struggle between love and hate for Odysseus.

She does not realize his need to learn of his legacy, she only sees her grief
and her pain. . She is very detached from the world, and focuses on her grief
and pain. Because she is so preoccupied with her own problems, she has neglected
her duties as a mother. She, in her distress, has pushed her son away from her.

This disagreement over Phemius only shows the deep chasm that has come between
them. As for Telemachus, he makes the same mistakes as his mother in that he
refuses to see her side of the issue. He, too, is deeply engrossed in his
problems that he does not see the deep extent of his mothers pain. Him
ordering her to leave is a sign that he believes her feelings to be almost
inconsequential compared to his. His eagerness to learn of Odysseus great
deeds seems to overshadow the sadness his mother feels. The tales of the Trojan
War are the only way in which he can come to know his father, who he does not
remember, since Penelope obviously avoids the topic entirely. He needs to know
his legacy. Most importantly, he is searching for a way to justify his
fathers absence, and to justify why he has left Ithaca in such a state of
disorder. However, his quest for his legacy was not the only reason he had for
defending Phemius. It was also caused by his resentment towards his mother for
having known his father and not telling him about him. He feels that his mother
has prevented him from gaining an understanding of his heritage. This
disagreement over Phemius was a window to the anger that Telemachus had towards
his mother for not familiarizing him with the legacy of his father. Another
reason Telemachus was so quick to rebuke Penelope was his deep desire to exert
his power and his dominance, his rightful dominance over the household. By
ordering his mother to leave the hall, he is showing to the suitors that it is
he, not his mother, who has more power. When he declares that he is master of
the house, partially caused by the newfound courage distilled in him by Athena,
he is introducing a new him. This was his opportunity to establish his position
above the suitors and prepare for his announcement that he will go search for
his father. This disagreement allowed Telemachus to step into the limelight, and
express himself as a force to be reckoned with.


Mythology

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