Summary of Telemac’s Adventures

Summary of Telemac’s Adventures

F. Fenelon
Adventures of Telemac The
teacher of the heir to the throne of the Duke of Burgundy, the grandson of King Louis XIV, Fenelon wrote for his young pupil the philosophical utopian novel “The Adventures of Telemachus” about how a real sovereign should be and how to govern the people and the state.
The novel takes place in ancient times. Telemack goes in search of his father Ulysses (Odyssey), who did not return home after the victory of the Greeks over the Trojans. During his wanderings, Telemach and his mentor Mentor were thrown out by a storm to the island of the nymphs of Calypso, who had once visited the streets. That offers Telemac to stay with her and gain immortality. He refuses. To arrest him, Calypso asks me to tell about his wanderings. Telemack begins the story of how he visited different countries and saw different kingdoms and kings, and about how a wise sir should be to wisely rule the people and not use power to harm himself and others.
Telemach tells of Egypt, where Sezostris reigns, a wise sir who loves the people as his children. Everyone is happy to obey him, give his life for him, all have one thought – “not to free himself from his power, but to be eternally under his authority.” Sezostris daily receives complaints of subjects and executes the court, but does so with patience, reason and righteousness. Such a king is not afraid of his subjects. However, even the most wise sovereigns are exposed

to dangers, for “treachery and greed are always at the foot of the throne.” Evil and cunning courtiers are ready to please the sovereign for their own profit, and woe to the king if he becomes a “plaything of evil cunning”, if he does not drive “from himself to flattery and does not like those who in a bold voice tell him the truth.” By the slander of one of these courtiers Telemacus sent along with the slaves to herd cows.
After the death of Sezostris, Telemack on the Phoenician ship sails to Phenicia, where Pygmalion reigns. This is a greedy and envious ruler, from which there is no benefit to either the people or the state. From stinginess, he is incredulous, suspicious and bloodthirsty, he drives the rich, the poor are afraid, everyone hates him. Violent death threatens him and in his “impenetrable halls,” and among all his bodyguards. “Good Sezostris, on the contrary,” says Telemak, “was in the middle of innumerable people safe, like a father in a house in the circle of a kind family.”
After many adventures, Telemach is on the island of Crete and learns from his mentor, Mentor, what laws were established there by King Minos. Children are accustomed to the way of life simple and active. Three defects – ingratitude, pretense and avarice – are tolerable in other places, they are punished in Crete. Lushness and luxury are unknown, everyone is working, but no one “enrages enrichment.” Forbidden “precious utensils, gorgeous robes, polished houses, luxurious feasts.” Magnificent architecture is not expelled, but “provided for temples dedicated to the Gods.” People do not dare to build houses like immortal dwellings.
The king has full power over his subjects here, but he himself is “under the law.” His power is unlimited in everything that is directed at the good of the people, but the hands are tied when they are turned to evil. Laws require that the state’s wisdom and gentleness contribute to the well-being of many, and not vice versa – so that thousands “nourish the pride and luxury of one, self-perishing in poverty and slavery.” The Tsar is obliged to “precede his own example in strict moderation, in the scorn of luxury, splendor, vanity.” He should not be distinguished by the splendor of wealth and not by the coolness of the bliss, but by wisdom, valor, glory. “From the outside he must be the protector of the kingdom, the leader of the rati, people and assert his happiness, enlighten minds, guide manners. The gods give him a rod of government not for him but for the people: the people own all his time,
Cretans choose the king of the most intelligent and worthy, and Telemac becomes one of the pretenders to the throne. The wise men ask him: who is the most unfortunate? He answers that the most unfortunate is the sovereign, who is put to sleep in imaginary well-being, while the people groan under his yoke. “In blindness he is especially unhappy: without knowing the disease, he can not be cured… Truth does not reach him through a crowd of caresses.” Telemachus is chosen by the king, but he refuses and says: “It is incumbent upon you to choose not the king who judges the laws better than others but the one who performs them… Choose a husband whose laws would be inscribed in the heart, life would be the fulfillment of the law. “
Telemac and his mentor manage to escape from the nymph Calypso. They meet in the sea with the Phoenicians. And learn from them about the amazing country of Betik. It is believed that there are “still all the amenities of the golden age”: the climate is warm, there are plenty of gold and silver, the harvest is collected twice a year. They have no money, they do not trade with anyone. From plows and other tools of gold and silver. There are no palaces and all luxury, for it is, as it is believed, hinders to live. The inhabitants of Betika have no property – “not dividing the land among themselves, they live together,” they have neither theft nor envy. All property is common and everything is enough. The main thing is to cultivate the land, for it brings “uncomplicated riches, faithful food”. They consider it unreasonable to look for gold and silver in the mines in the mines in the sweat of the earth, since it “can not make up happiness,
The chief of the Phoenician ship promises to land Telemachus in his native Ithaca, but the helmsman goes astray, and the ship enters the city of Salent, where King Idomeneus reigns. He made many mistakes during his reign – not caring about the people, he built luxurious palaces. On his example, Mentor teaches Telemack how to rule the country, and says that a long-lasting and lasting peace, as well as “agriculture and the establishment of wise laws” should be the first duty of the ruler. And lust and vanity can lead the king to the edge of the abyss. “Power is a cruel test” for the gifts, Mentor says, “she reveals all the weaknesses in their full measure,” because “the high rank is like a glass that magnifies objects.” The flaws in our eyes grow on that high stage where small things entail important consequences. ” There are no sovereigns without shortcomings, therefore it is necessary “to excuse the sovereigns and regret their share.” However, the weaknesses of kings are lost in many great virtues, if they are in the hands of the rulers.
On the advice of the Mentor, Idomeneo divides all free people into seven “states” and each appropriates appropriate clothing and inexpensive insignia. Thus, the destructive passion for luxury is eradicated. Accordingly, and the food is established moderate, for it is shameful to indulge in gluttony. Slaves also go in the same gray clothes. Also forbidden is “languorous and adulterated music” and violent festivities in honor of Bacchus, who “overshadow their reason as well as wine, are concluded by shamelessness and frenzy.” Music is allowed only for the glorification of the Gods and heroes, sculpture and painting, in which there should not be anything low, serve to glorify the memory of great men and deeds.
In addition, Mentor teaches Idomeneo that “wine should never be an ordinary, common drink,” that it is necessary “to destroy the vines when they multiply too much,” for wine is the source of many evils. It must be preserved as a medicine or “as a rarity for solemn days and sacrifices.”
Telemak meanwhile, after many adventures and exploits, in which the goddess Minerva helped him, concludes by dreams that his father passed away. Telemac descends to the kingdom of the dead Tartarus. There he sees many sinners: cruel kings, wives, murdered husbands, traitors, liars, “caresses who praised vices, malicious slanderers who defied virtue.” They all appear before the king Minos, who after death became a judge in the realm of shadows. He defines their punishment. So, for example, kings convicted of abuse of power, look in the mirror, where they see all the horrors of their vices. Many kings do not suffer for their wrongdoing, but for lost good, for trusting people with evil and insidious, for evil, their name is done.
Then Telemac passes through the Champs-Elysees, where good kings and heroes enjoy bliss. There he meets his great-grandfather Artesia, who tells Telemak that the streets are alive and will soon return to Ithaca. Artszim reminds Telemak that life is fleeting and it is necessary to think about the future – to prepare a place for yourself “in a happy country of peace”, following the path of virtue. Artsziyu shows Telemaku wise kings, from them a light cloud separated the heroes, as they “received less glory”: the reward for courage and military feats can not be compared with the retribution “for a wise, just and beneficial reign.”
Among the kings, Telemach sees Cecrops, the Egyptian, the first king in Athens, a city dedicated to the goddess of wisdom and named after her. From Egypt, from where science came to Greece, Cecrops brought useful laws to Attica, tamed morals, was philanthropic, left “the people in abundance, and his family in poverty and did not want to give the children power, considering others worthy of it.”
Triptolem, another Greek king, blessed for teaching the Greeks the art of cultivating the land, plowing and fertilizing it, strengthening his kingdom. Telemac should do the same, according to Artszia, when he reigns, – to turn the people to agriculture, not to tolerate people idle.
Telemac leaves the realm of Pluto and after new adventures meets his father Ulysses on an unknown island, but does not recognize him. Telemacu is the goddess Minerva and says that he is now worthy to follow in the footsteps of his father and wisely manage the kingdom. She gives Telemak instructions: “When you are on the throne, strive for that only glory to restore the golden age in your kingdom… Love your people and spare no one to be mutually beloved… Do not forget that the king on the throne is not for your own glory, but for the good of the people… Be afraid of the Gods, Telemac! The fear of God is the greatest treasure of the human heart: justice will come to you, and peace of mind, and joy, and pleasures pure, and happy surplus, and incontrovertible glory”.
Telemack returns to Ithaca and finds his father there.


Summary of Telemac’s Adventures