All odysseys tell the story of a great adventure; in-fact the word odyssey literally defines as a heroic adventure filled with notable events and hardships. Likewise in the epic poem The Odyssey by Homer, Odysseus is not permitted to arrive home until he overcomes his biggest challenge, fixing his prideful attitude. The purpose of the passage found in Book V lines 65-102, is to reinforce Odysseus’ image as an epic hero and his loyalty to his family and homeland, in spite of challenges that arise that attempt to deter him from returning home.
The structure and language utilized by Homer build up the meaning of the passage; creating a contrast from the lush and enchanting feel of the goddess Calypso’s estate, to the grief of Odysseus being away from his homeland Ithaca and his family, including his loyal wife Penelope. Homer inserted an array of symbolic descriptions to create the warm and luxurious mood of Calypso’s abode.
At the outset of the passage, Homer describes a “great fire” (65) blazing on the hearth. Fire is applied by many to create a sense of warmth and comfort, and correspondingly here to depict the welcoming nature of Calypso’s place. Then as Calypso enters the passage, she smoothly glides across the room, her “golden shuttle weaving” (71) in hand.
Homer noted that the shuttle that Calypso was holding was made of gold. Gold gives the reader a sense of the wealth and luxury of the goddess’s home. Again we get to sense the luxury when we read how the surrounding…
Example #2 – Odysseus’ Sun and Shadow Traits
The traits or characteristics of a person play a major role in his/her life. The sun’s side is the ostensible meaning, the side that is most obvious and bare of all symbols, inner meanings, and shrouded connotations. The shadow side is the hidden element of a person or the side that they would rather keep from the public view, knowing that it is dark or evil. No matter who they are, everybody has these two sides in them. In Homer’s epic poem, The Odyssey, Odysseus, the protagonist, has many traits, both good and bad.
Born to the title, King of Ithaca, Odysseus possesses many skills to befit of a leader. “We must obey the orders as I give them you at the tiller, listen, and take in all that I say ” (708). This quote shows that Odysseus has a natural talent for being at the head of things. He gives orders easily and nonchalantly expecting them to follow to the letter, due to his confidence and self-belief. If it were not for Odysseus’s quick judgment and the guileful train of thought the Greeks would not have been victorious over the Trojans. These included the Trojan horse and other such ideas.
Odysseus displays his experience as a leader in full when he uses his ingenuity to create a strategy to incapacitate Polyphemus and escape. But not before driving a spike through Polyphemus’ eye as revenge for the killing of his men. This shows how he also cares for his men, and how he did not let them die in vain. He also shows his cunning when he gives Polyphemus a false name that sounded like nobody. So when Polyphemus kin came to help him he could only say that nobody hurt him.
Another one of Odysseus’s sun traits is his fortitude. When the gauntlet is thrown down he will not hesitate to pick it up in an instant. ” I have been detained long by Calypso, loveliest among goddesses, who held me in her smooth caves, to be her heart’s delight, as Circe of Aeaea, the enchantress, desire me, and detained me in her hall. But in my heart I never gave consent. Where shall a man find sweetness to surpass his own home and his parents?” (683).
This quote shows that even though Calypso and Circe’s love is a tempting offer for Odysseus, nothing can override his mindset to return to his home in Ithica. When he says that his heart never gave consent he shows that the only thing he truly wants and desires is to be with his family. This shows how his family values and how he holds them above all else without faltering. Not even two goddesses who promise to give him anything he wants can cause Odysseus to vacillate from the path he has indomitably decided to walk.
In addition to Odysseus’ sun side, he has, in addition, a darker, shadow side. Some of his shadow traits are his sloth, arrogance, egotism, and callousness to others. This darker, elliptical side doesn’t appear as often as the more positive and sterling side, but it does show a few times during the course of the story. “Did I not keep my nerve, and use my wits to find a way out for us?” (708).
This quote shows that Odysseus can be very conceited at times, he is not humble about his actions and openly shows his knowledge of his own importance to the journey. He would not be so smug if his men and other onlookers did not give him so much credit. To overflow with praise is to fill one’s head with it.
Odysseus has many sun traits, such as his clout, autonomy, might, and resolve. Yet he also has many shadow traits, though the one that appears the most is his vanity. All these traits play important roles in his life, and in the story. If he did not have any shadow traits, then the story, The Odyssey, would be very unlikely. Homer used the concept of good and evil throughout the entire book, not only situational struggle as seen in the cave with Polyphemus but also an inner struggle of good and evil inside Odysseus’ own mind and even character.
Odysseus’ personality and unique character originate from his good traits and evil traits, his yin and yang so to say. The theory of putting good and evil into a man shows the reality of the story and shows that no human is perfect, not even the heroes in life.
The Odyssey is the story of an old man (Odysseus) returning home and a young man (Telemachus) venturing out in search of himself. Telemachus, throughout the story, considered the heroic Odysseus as his model.
Throughout the story, there is a constant struggle of the growing Telemachus to imitate the actions of his father and then eventually become like him that he comes to an end of his journey. In the beginning of the poem, Homer does not give any indication to the readers that Telemachus will eventually go on a journey like his father.
Telemachus’s headway towards this goal actually shows how difficult were the goals and ventures of Odysseus. The text of The Odyssey presents a single framed narration of the hero, Odysseys, and the journey of a child, Telemachus, into manhood. This essay will demonstrate the comparisons and contrasts the tale draws between the two central characters of father and son.
There are distinct similarities between the character of Odysseus and Telemachus. The resemblance is so close that in one account Penelope had to reverse the procedure in identifying the true identity of her visitor as Odysseus.
In Odysseus 4, Helen’s description of Telemachus actually shows the close physical resemblance between the two characters. However, as a character in the book, Telemachus is often found to move under the shadow of his father’s heroic feats.
Odysseus is hailed a hero for his heroic adventures and conquests in the battle of Troy. Telemachus too tries to emulate his father, and like him, goes out on a voyage, but fails to attain full respect like his father. Therefore, a continuous struggle is observed in the text wherein there is a continuous comparison between the two characters.
The writer, the readers, does it, and even by Telemachus himself who felt that he could never match up to his father’s valor. In Odyssey 2, the episode in which Telemachus leaves a sword in the unlocked room that helped the suitors to possess arms to combat the former.
Odysseus, though had made mistakes, could not be expected of making such a careless mistake. Eurymachus states that Telemachus could never muster the courage and conviction to face the threats of the suitors. In another instance, Leocritus points out that Telemachus may not venture out on a journey even after continuous encouragement from his elders.
Homer’s epic poem portrays the character of Telemachus as a son who takes charge of the situation due to an absent father. Only till the father returns to take back the reigns. Therefore, to a great extent, the character of Telemachus and his adventures hs been belittled in the text. However, Telemachus does show a sense of pride in his family and blood when he says that he will not shame his family.
Odysseus is critical of Telemachus when they reunite after the former’s return to Ithaca. Telemachus expresses his doubt on their reunion if the man who had transgressed from a beggar to the state of a hero could really be his father, to which Odysseus answers with impatience that had he not been the real father he would not have returned to Ithaca after twenty years of toiling.
In general, the characters of Telemachus and Odysseus reflects on that of an obedient son tied by his duties and a gentle father happy to reunite with his family.
The poem stresses equality and cordial relation between Telemachus and Odysseus. However, it cannot be overlooked that the poem is more about Odysseus, who fought at Troy, and his grand heroic adventures and that of a mediocre son who lived a mundane life on the island of Ithaca encompassed by his family duties.
In The Odyssey by Homer, hospitality plays a very important role. There are certain rules of hospitality needed, such as inviting a stranger into your home, not asking them their name before they have dined at your table, and sometimes even gift offerings. If these rules of hospitality are not carried out, the consequences are very severe. Hospitality is to be given to all by all. Being a good host is very important in The Odyssey, even to the gods. It is a sign of respect for all no matter where they are from or how poor they appear to be.
This means that as soon as you see a stranger, you invite them into your home to sit at your table just as king Nestor did. “As soon as they saw the strangers, all came crowding down, waving them on in welcome, urging them to sit.” (III, 38) After you have invited them into your home, you must invite them to dine at your table. Only after they have dined, you have the permission to ask for their names, like King Menelaus did, “‘Help yourselves to food, and welcome! Once you’ve dined we’ll ask you who you are.’” (IV, 68-69) Many times before dining “…women had washed them, rubbed them down with oil and drawn warm fleece and shirts around their shoulders…” (IV, 56-57) If the host enjoyed the company of the guests, many times they will honor them with gifts.
The kind of gifts given varied depending on the wealth and generosity of the host. For example, Aeolus, the king of the winds, gave Odysseus a leather bag that contained all the adverse winds which could drive his ships off course.
Other generous gift-givers are the Phaeacians who give Odysseus many valuable gifts, such as “…bronze and hoards of gold and robes…” (XIII, 155) and transported him to Ithaca in one of their magic ships. If you are unable to host the strangers, it is your duty to “send them to someone who could host them well”. (IV, 34) Although, if the host is not willing to help, it is considered to be bad hospitality and proper punishments will be taken into effect. Just as good hospitality was rewarded, bad hospitality had its consequences. Not being a good host means that you do not respect the gods, and that means trouble.
A bad host does things that are out of the ordinary, such as: eat the guests, try to kill them, or both. Just as the Cyclops named Polyphemus does to two Achaeans that he discovers are in his den. Unfortunately for him, he did receive his punishment for the way he treated his guests. Since Polyphemus did not treat Odysseys and his men well, Odysseys wanted his revenge.
They seized their “…stake with its fiery tip and bored it round and round in the giant’s eye till blood came boiling up around the smoking shaft and the hot blast singed his brow and the eyelids around the core and the broiling eyeball burst.” (IV, 433-437) Odysseys got revenge on another group of men that weren’t very hospitable to him, not even in his own house. When he returned home, disguised as an old man, the suitors that we’re guests in his house, did not give him a very warm welcome.
Antinous, one of the suitors, hit him with a stool while the others “… all gave to the beggar, filled his sack with handouts, bread, and meat.” (XVII, 53-54) Odysseus waited patiently for a chance to get revenge on Antinous and the other suitors for not being good hosts. After asking Apollo, the god of archery for glory, “…Odysseus aimed and shot Antinous square in the throat and the point went stabbing clean through the soft neck and out…” (XXII, 15-16) After that, Odysseus also killed all of those that were disloyal to him and that were bad hosts.
The Odyssey depicts the importance of good hospitality and also the consequences that follow bad hospitality. Inviting, dining and gift gifting are the rules of being a good host and are very pleasing to the gods. Although, when good hospitality is not given, even to the poor, the outcome is very severe and sometimes is the cause of death. Works Cited Homer. The Odyssey. Trans. Robert Fagles. New York: Penguin, 1997.
In book 23 of the Odyssey, reoccurring Homeric themes appear, character?s roles change, and a homecoming for an epic hero is finally accomplished. Book 23 may be the one book in this poem that can be related the closest to the poem as a whole. In this book, we see the relationship of a god/goddess and a human being as a reoccurring theme throughout Homer’s works. This god/human relationship is shown throughout the poem mainly through the actions of Athene, who is trying to assure that Odysseus receives the glorious homecoming that he deserves.
Book 23 concludes Odysseus?s twenty-year homecoming journey by uniting him with his beloved wife, Penelope. The homecoming that is looked forward to by so many throughout the poem is finalized by the romantic reunion of Odysseus and Penelope This reunion shows a cunning side of Penelope that is almost the same as her husband, Odysseus, shows numerous times throughout the epic. This cunningness by Penelope exhibits a different example of the role of women in the time of the Odyssey.
The relationships between humans and gods are looked at numerous times in both the Iliad and the Odyssey. Gods in these poems hurt some humans and help others. The relationship with Odysseus and certain gods is what shapes this epic into what it is.
The reason that Odysseus is so misfortunate on his way home is that he angered Poseidon, the god of the sea. Also, the reason that Odysseus eventually received his homecoming is because of the admiration and love of the goddess, Athene. The relationship between Athene and Odysseus is shown in book 23
The goddess, Athene, and Odysseus are two characters that are very similar to one another in their personalities. Both Athene and Odysseus use their intelligence to trick others in thinking that they are somebody else. Odysseus? quick wit seems to be what Athene appreciates most about him. Her appreciation is seen in line 287 of book 8 when she “smiled on him, and stroked him with her hand” after he made up that long, detailed story to try and trick her.
This shows her appreciation for his great ability to deceive. She enjoys how he uses his resourcefulness in making up this story. Athene, once again, helps out Odysseus and Penelope in book 23 when she lengthens the nighttime because both Penelope and Odysseus are similar in that they are quick-witted and cunning. Athene?s help is described by the quote:
Now Dawn of the rosy fingers would have dawned on their weeping, had not the gray-eyed goddess Athene planned it otherwise. She held the long night back at the outward edge, she detained Dawn of the golden throne by the Ocean, and would not let her harness her fast-footed horses who bring the daylight to people? (XXIII.241-246).
Athene does things to help Odysseus because she wants him to fulfill his goal and receive his homecoming. Athene has so much respect for Odysseus that she wants to do anything to help him get to his homeland and regain his kingdom and household from the wrath of the suitors. Athene helps Odysseus and his family a number of times throughout the epic in order to do so. Does Athene even help Odysseus? son, Telemachos, in the journey that he has in the first four books of the epic. This journey prepares Telemachos for the battle with the suitors.
Athene and Odysseus both greatly appreciate one another. Odysseus appreciates Athene for all the help that she gives to him. Athene appreciates Odysseus for his resourcefulness and for being “far the best of all mortal men for counsel and stories” (VIII.297-298). This shows that Athene likes that Odysseus is a great leader as well as a great deceiver. Many times within the Odyssey, Odysseus either physically disguise himself or tells artful lies in order to hide his true identity.
For example, he does this with Polyphemus the Cyclops, with the suitors, and even with his own wife. This is done in order to obtain the righteous homecoming in which he has been striving for. He tricks the Cyclops in order to escape death, and he disguises himself in the presence of the suitors to assure that he is not recognized, and therefore, can organize his plan. He, again, disguises himself for Penelope, his wife, in order to make sure that she has been loyal to him.
These are all dishonest, yet just because they are to assure that Odysseus does not suffer the same inglorious homecoming as Agamemnon (XI: 405-434). Athene and Odysseus are described very similarly throughout the epic. They are both described as deceiving. Athene relates the two of them when she says, ?for you and I both know sharp practice? (VIII.296-297). In these lines, she relates to Odysseus that she thinks they are both good deceivers. The relationship between Athene and Odysseus is important, because if not for the goddess, Poseidon may have fulfilled his own goal and destroyed Odysseus.
Penelope, like Odysseus and Athene, also has the ability to deceive. She shows this in book 23 as well as in her confrontations with the suitors. She lies to her suitors to delay having to choose one to be her husband. Like Odysseus, her lying is for a worthwhile reason. She lies to the suitors because she still believes that her real husband, Odysseus, is still alive.
In book 23, Penelope turns the tides on Odysseus, assuring him trustworthy by using her own trickery. Where we usually see Odysseus lying to people to assure their loyalty, Penelope shows that she is truly Odysseus? equal by using this form of trickery on him. Odysseus parallels the trickery that Penelope uses on him when he tricks his father, Laertes, in book 24.
Like Penelope, when she first sees Odysseus in book 23, Odysseus is at a crossroads when he first sees his father in book 24. He is contemplating whether to hug and kiss his father and tell him of his journey, or to? question him [Laertes] first about everything and make a trial of him? (XXIV.236-238). The choice that Penelope has to make is described quite similarly when it says, “She spoke, and came down from the chamber, her heart pondering much, whether to keep away and question her dear husband or to go up an kiss his head, taking his hands” (XXIII.85-87).
Both Penelope and Odysseus take the route to assure loyalty. They need to assure this loyalty because they both have people around them that are looking to deceive them. If they are deceived, they each have much to lose. The parallelism that Odysseus and Penelope have in books 23 and 24 show how much these two are alike. In book 23, Penelope lies to a person who is closer to her than anybody in the world, because she has doubts. Does Odysseus have the same doubts about his own father?s loyalty to him.
Penelope’s trickery on Odysseus brings upon a new example of the role of women in the years following the Trojan War. The Odyssey, as a poem, is the product of a society and time where the males played the dominant role in society. Women in Ancient Greece occupied a subservient position. Women were valued in society, but they only participated in the affairs of the society when the men who ran their lives approved it.
An immortal woman like Athene, Circe, and Calypso was treated with more equality and respect by a man than any other mortal woman, but due to the love and respect that Odysseus has for Penelope, he rightfully treats her as his equal. Loyalty is the prime character trait that Odysseus looks for in any of his companions. If a person is disloyal to Odysseus, he/she will lose their life. An example of this is seen in book 22 when the disloyal Melanthios as well as the serving women are gruesomely murdered for betraying Odysseus.
On the other hand, Odysseus will treat the people that are loyal to him with kindness and respect. Penelope is a prime example of loyalty and fidelity. She refuses to marry for years because she is waiting for the return of the husband that she loves so dearly. By tricking Odysseus in book 23, she earns a higher level of respect and admiration by him. This respect and admiration is much like that which Athene has for Odysseus for much of the same reasons.
The goal that Odysseus has throughout the epic is to get home to his beloved wife and son. Book 23 is the conclusion of his journey home. Odysseus has returned to his kingdom, joined with his son, and taken back his home. The last thing that he must accomplish to finalize his homecoming is to reunite with his one true love, Penelope. In accomplishing this in book 23, this is the end of the journey that has become known as the Odyssey.
Book 24 seems to be Homer’s way of showing the likeliness of Odysseus and Penelope. Book 24 also relates why the families of the suitors don’t seek vengeance on Odysseus. Book 24 is an important book due to the way it concludes the story of Odysseus, but Odysseus?s journey home ends when he and Penelope reunite.
Book 23 of the Odyssey serves as a conclusion to the journey that Odysseus has been on for ten long years. Odysseus wraps up his ten-year journey home with an extra-long night of passion with his wife. This chapter also reiterates the importance of man’s relationship with the gods and goddesses. In addition, we see Penelope use Odysseus-like trickery in order to assure her husband was whom he said.
This trickery relates so closely with that of Odysseus in the last book that readers can see Odysseus and his wife as equals. With her trickery and cunningness, she goes against the standard way that modern women of that day are looked at. Book 23 includes many themes and ideas that are repeated throughout the poem. With these themes and ideas present, book 23 serves as a tying together of the epic as a whole.
The story, The Odyssey, was written by Homer and translated to the English version by Samuel Butler. The main character in Odyssey was Odysseus, Kind of Ithaca, who after 20 years of wanderings returned home from the Trojan War and a long difficult journey that the powerful gave to him. He found himself recognized only by his faithful dog and a nurse. With the help of his son Telemachus he destroys the importunate suitors of his wife Penelope and reestablishes himself in his kingdom.
Athena appeals to Zeus for permission to help Odysseus reach home. Odysseus’s home in Ithaca is overrun with suitors who are trying to win Penelopeia’s hand. With the help of Athena disguised as Mentes, Telemachos finds the courage to confront the suitors.
In a town meeting, Telemachos announces his intentions to locate his father and rid his house of the suitors. He is met with ridicule and doubt, especially from Antinoos who confronts Telemachos twice. Athena helps Telemachos prepare for his journey, and he sets sail in secret that night.
Following Athena’s advice, Telemachos visits King Nestor of Pylos to get information about his father. Athena accompanies him disguised as an old family friend, Mentor. Nestor tells Telemachos stories about Odysseus. Telemachos continues his search on horseback with Nestor’s son Megapenthes.
Telemachos and Megapenthes arrive at and are welcomed into the home of Menelaos and Helen. Menelaos tells Telemachos of his travels with Odysseus and that Odysseus is trapped on an island by Calypso. Meanwhile, Antinoos has learned that Telemachos has embarked on his journey and plots with the other suitors to kill him upon his return to Ithaca. Penelopeia learns of Telemachos’s leaving and is upset.
Athena again pleads to Zeus for Odysseus’s release. Zeus sends Hermes to Calypso with orders that she release Odysseus. Calypso grudgingly complies. Odysseus is given much trouble by Poseidon, but with the help of Leucothea and Athena, he finally reaches es the land of the Phaiacians, where he collapses, exhausted.
Athena appears in Nausicaa’s dream, telling her to go to the river and wash clothes. Nausicaa and her maids meet Odysseus at the river, and all but Nausicaa are frightened of him because of his appearance. He begs her to help him and she agrees. He bathes and follows Nausicaa’s instructions for asking her parents for assistance.
Odysseus arrives at the palace of Alcinoos and Arete and begs for their help in getting him home. They feed him, ask about his situation, and agree to give him the help he needs.
The next day Alcinoos sends the boys of the town to construct a ship for Odysseus’s voyage and gathers the men for a day of entertainment for Odysseus. Demodocos sings of famous men, including Odysseus. When Alcinoos sees Odysseus crying during the mins tree’s story, he commences the games and dancing to keep his guest happy. At dinner, Odysseus again weeps when Demodocos sings about the Trojan War. At this point, Alcinoos finally demands to know who Odysseus is.
Odysseus tells Alcinous who he is and what things have happened to him since he left Troy. He tells of his adventures in Ismaros, in the land of the Lotus-Eaters, and in the land of the Cyclopians. He describes the Cyclopians as “violent and lawless”, and he and his men run into trouble with one of the Cyclopians. Men are killed and Poseidon’s vendetta against Odysseus begins.
Odysseus tells of his visit to Aiolia, where Aiolos Hippotades, manager of the winds, helps Odysseus and his crew get home. He puts wind in a bag, which Odysseus carries onboard the ship. Unfortunately, his curious crew decides to open the bag, and the released winds drive them away from home. They arrive at the land of the Laestrygonians, who eat most of Odysseus’s crew before his ship escapes.
Then they land on the island of Aiaia, the home of Circe. She traps some of the men and turns them into pigs. Odysseus, with the help of Hermes, gets her to release his men and help him reach home. She instructs him to visit Hades, where he will meet Teiresias, who will tell him how to get home.
Odysseus follows Circe’s instructions. In Hades, he first sees a dead shipmate, Elpenor, then his mother, Anticleia, then Tieresias. Teiresias tells him what will happen to him next, including a warning about the cattle of Helios and how to reconcile with Poseidon. He then gets to talk with his mother, and she answers many questions for him. At this point, Odysseus tries to conclude his storytelling, but Alcinoos begs him to continue. Odysseus says only that he met the souls of many who passed away, then he left Hades.
Odysseus tells of their return to Aiaia to bury Elpenor and of Circe’s warning of the dangers to come: the Sirens, Scylla, Charybdis, and Helios’s cattle. The men make it through the perils of the sea, as predicted. On land, when they run out of provisions, they eat Helios’s cattle even though Odysseus made them promise not to. At sea, all except Odysseus are killed as punishment. Odysseus is adrift for nine days before landing on the island of Ogygia, Calypso’s home. Alcinous and the other listeners are now up-to-date on the travels of Odysseus.
Odysseus is done telling his story. King Alcinous gives Odysseus a ship with a crew and supplies, and the townspeople all give him gifts. The crew delivers Odysseus to Ithaca and returns home. Poseidon, who is mad that anyone would make Odysseus’ travels by sea so easy, turns the ship and crew into stone as they return to their harbor. Odysseus does not believe he is home until Athena convinces him. She disguises him as an old beggar and sends it to him to his faithful pig keeper.
Athena goes to Lacedaemon to bring Telemachos home. Odysseus goes to the swineherd Eumaios’ house. Odysseus is made welcome and is pleased to see how faithful Eumaios has been during his absence.
Athena finds Telemachos at the mansion of Menelaos and instructs him to return home. Odysseus learns from Eumaios about his (Odysseus’s) parents and how Eumaios was bought by Laertes when he was a child. Telemachos lands safely back in Ithaca and, by At Athena’s instructions, goes straight to Eumaios.
Athena instructs Odysseus to reveal his identity to Telemachos and to plan their revenge on the suitors. Eumaios tells Penelopeia that Telemachos has returned safely to Ithaca. When the suitors, led by Antinoos, learn that their plan to kill Telemachos has failed, they plot to kill him another way.
Telemachos returns home, accompanied by Theoclymenos. Eumaios brings the disguised Odysseus to his home where the suitors are entertaining themselves as usual. Odysseus is recognized only by Argos, his old hunting dog, who dies after hearing his master’s voice one last time. Odysseus tests the suitors by begging for food from each one. Penelope tells Eumaios to bring the beggar to her; she wants to know if he has any news about Odysseus.
Odysseus fights with another beggar, Iros, who is used to being the only beggar at the castle. Penelope decides to address the suitors, saying she will choose a husband according to who brings her the best gift. Odysseus recognizes this as a trick on the suitors. Odysseus is further antagonized by Melantho, a maid, and Eurymachos.
The women are shut up in their rooms, and Odysseus and Telemachos hide all the weapons in a storeroom. Odysseus, still disguised as a beggar, goes to see Penelope. He convinces her that he did meet Odysseus and that he has heard also that Odysseus is on his way home. Penelope is grateful and orders Eurycleia to bathe and clothe the beggar. Eurycleia recognizes Odysseus by a scar on his leg, but he swears her to secrecy. Penelope, discouraged, decides to go ahead and marry whoever can meet the challenge that she will put forth to the suitors: to string Odysseus’s bow and shoot an arrow through twelve ax-heads in a row.
It is a new day and Telemachos receives the beggar (Odysseus) into his house. The beggar is ridiculed by many, but he remains calm. Philoitios proves himself a faithful and kind servant.
Penelope issues her challenge to the suitors, but none of the men can bend the bow to string it. Odysseus finds a chance to confide in Philoitios and Eumaios and to include them in his plans for revenge. Odysseus easily strings the bow and shoots and arrow through the twelve ax-heads. Eumaios tells the women to lock themselves in the bedrooms, and Telemachos and Odysseus arm themselves against the suitors.
Immediately Odysseus reveals himself and kills Antinoos with an arrow. Eurymachos tries to convince Odysseus that Antinoos is to blame for everything and that he shouldn’t kill the other suitors. Odysseus gives them a chance to run away, but they choose to fight, led by Eurymachos. Odysseus, Telemachos, and the two servants kill everyone except Phemios and Medon. Odysseus asks Eurycleia to identify the maids who have been unfaithful and bring them to him. He makes them clean up the blood and dead bodies in the hall and then Telemachos hangs them. Melanthios is cut up and fed to the dogs. The maids and servants come and celebrate the return of Odysseus.
Odysseus reveals his identity to Penelope, but she is skeptical. She tests Odysseus by having Eurycleia provide Odysseus a place to sleep by moving a bed into the hallway. Odysseus becomes angry because he built this bed out of a tree trunk so that it could not be moved. Penelope then knows that he is truly her husband. He tells her that, according to Teiresias, he must carry an oar inland and make sacrifices to Poseidon. He also feels he must regain all the livestock and goods that he lost because of the suitors. He sets out to see his father and tells Penelopeia to stay locked in her room with her maids until he returns.
The souls of the dead men pass to Hades, led by Hermes. Odysseus goes to see Laertes, pretending to be someone else at first, but then he reveals his identity. Laertes asks for proof that he is Odysseus. He tells about the scar on his leg and spending time in his father’s orchard. Relatives of the suitors, led by Eupeithes, Antinoos’ father, come to battle, Odysseus. Odysseus kills Eupeithes, then Athena stops the battle and makes peace between the two sides.