Homer: The Odyssey

0. Prefaces and Introduction (continued)

DAY 39 (Books xv, xvi).

Telemachus reaches the Isle of Ithaca, sends his ship to the city, but himself, by advice of Athene, makes for the hut of Eumaeus, where he meets, but naturally does not recognise, his disguised father. He sends Eumaeus to Penelope with news of his arrival, and then Athene reveals Odysseus to Telemachus. The two plot the death of the wooers. Odysseus bids Telemachus remove, on a favourable opportunity, the arms which were disposed as trophies on the walls of the hall at home. (There is a slight discrepancy between the words of this advice and the manner in which it is afterwards executed.) During this interview, the ship of Telemachus, the wooers who had been in ambush, and Eumaeus, all reached the town of Ithaca. In the evening Eumaeus returned to his hut, where Athene had again disguised Odysseus.

DAY 40 (Books xvii, xviii, xix, xx).

The story is now hastening to its close, and many events are crowded into the fortieth day. Telemachus goes from the swineherd's hut to the city, and calls his guest, Theoclymenus, to the palace. The second-sighted man prophesies of the near revenge of Odysseus. In the afternoon, Odysseus (still disguised) and Eumaeus reach the city, the dog Argos recognises the hero, and dies. Odysseus goes begging through his own hall, and is struck by Antinous, the proudest of the wooers. Late in the day Eumaeus goes home, and Odysseus fights with the braggart beggar Irus. Still later, Penelope appears among the wooers, and receives presents from them. When the wooers have withdrawn, Odysseus and Telemachus remove the weapons from the hall to the armoury. Afterwards Odysseus has an interview with Penelope (who does not recognise him), but he is recognised by his old nurse Eurycleia. Penelope mentions her purpose to wed the man who on the following day, the feast of the Archer-god Apollo, shall draw the bow of Odysseus, and send an arrow through the holes in twelve axe-blades, set up in a row. Thus the poet shows that Odysseus has arrived in Ithaca not a day too soon. Odysseus is comforted by a vision of Athene, and

DAY 41 (Books xx, xxi, xxii, xxiii).

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