Book XXIII: How Odysseus Found His Wife Again


Odysseus reveals his identity to Penelope, but she is skeptical.  She tests him by having Eurycleia provide a place to sleep by moving a bed into the hallway.  Odysseus becomes angry because he built the bed out of a tree trunk and knew it could not be removed unless significantly changed.    Penelope then knows that he is her husband.  Next he explains the prophecy from Tieresias that he must carry an oar inland and make sacrifices to Poseidon.  He also needs to gather his livestock and goods that were taken by the suitors, and visit his father.  He instructs her to stay locked inside her room with the maids.

  1. How does Penelope test Odysseus?  Why does she test him?
  2. Describe the one last task that Tiresias gives Odysseus in his prophecy?  Why do you think this task is important?
  3. After Odysseus tells Penelope his adventures, he sets off again.  What does he go do?  What does he tell Penelope to do?

Book XXII: The Battle in the Hall


Immediately Odysseus reveals himself and kills Antinous with an arrow.  Eurymachus tries to convince him that Antinous is to blame for everything and that the other suitors shouldn’t be killed.  Odysseus gives them the chance to run away, but they choose to fight – led by Eurymachus.  Odysseus, Telemachus, and the two servants skill everyone except Phemious 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 the bodies.  Telemachus kills them.  Melanthios is cut up and fed to the dogs.  The maids and servants come and celebrate the return of Odysseus.

  1. What did Odysseus prove about his abilities when he shot the arrow through the twelve axes?  Why is that important now?
  2. Who gets killed first and why?
  3. How does Eurymachus plea his and the other suitor’s case?
  4. Who raids the storeroom?  What happens to him?
  5. How are the unfaithful maids identified?  What happens to them?  Do they deserve this fate?

Book XXI: The Contest with the Great Bow


Penelope issues her challenge to the suitors, but none of the men can bend the bow to string it.  Odysseus finds a chance to confides in Philoetius and Eumaeus and include them in his plans for revenge.  Odysseus easily strings the bow and shoots an arrow through the twelve axe-heads.  Eumaeus tells the women to lock themselves int he bedrooms while Telemachus and Odysseus arm themselves against the suitors.

  1. Who does Odysseus trust to help him defeat the suitors?
  2. Why don’t the men want Odysseus to try to string the bow?
  3. How does Odysseus prove his true identity?

Book: XVII: How Odysseus Returned to His Own Home


Telemachus returns home, accompanied by Theoclymenus.  Eumaeus 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 Eumaeus to bring the beggar to her; she wants to know if he has any news about Odysseus.

  1. What does Theoclymenos prophecy to Penelope?
  2. How does Odysseus test the suitors?
  3. Who recognizes Odysseus right away?  How does he recognize him?
  4. Who makes Odysseus extremely angry?
  5. Why does Odysseus want to test his servants and his wife before revealing his identity?

Book XVI: How Telemachus Met His Father


Athena instructs Odysseus to reveal his identity to Telemachus and to plan their revenge on the suitors.  Eumaeus tells Penelope that Telemachus has returned safely to Ithaca.  When the suitors, led by Antinoos, learn that their plan to kill Telemachus has failed; they plot to kill him another way.

  1. What does Telemachus call Eumaeus?  Why?
  2. Describe Athena’s changes to Odysseus’s appearance.
  3. Who does Telemachus think Odysseus is when Athena removes his disguise?
  4. What do Odysseus and Telemachus plan to do?
  5. Describe Penelope’s confrontation with Antinoos.