The Odyssey Study Guide (Books 17-24)

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THE ODYSSEY – Notes

XVII. BOOK 17

A. Telemachus Brings Gifts To Palace, Theoclymenus Says Odysseus Is Near i. Telemachus leaves Odysseus in hut, returns to tearful Penelope and nurse ii. Telemachus sees Theoclymenus and Piraeus at palace, tells Piraeus not to bring Menelaus’s gifts to palace, suitors might steal them iii. Telemachus tells Penelope what he learned in Pylos and Sparta, but doesn’t tell her he saw Odysseus himself or where he is iv. Theoclymenus swears Odysseus is in Ithaca at that very moment

B. Odysseus Meets Suitors, Suitors Start Fight, Penelope Summons “Beggar” i. Odysseus and Eumaeus head to town in Telemachus’s footsteps ii. They meet Melanthius, servant of suitors, who insults and kicks them iii. When they reach palace, suitors only reluctantly give them food, and Antinous goes out of his way to insult Odysseus iv. When Odysseus insults Antinous back, Antinous throws stool at him v. Penelope hears about cruelty, summons “Beggar” to ask about Odysseus vi. But Odysseus doesn’t want suitors to see him heading to queen’s room vii. Eumaeus says he must return to hut and hogs, leaves Odysseus with son

XVIII. BOOK 18

A. Beggar Irus Insults Odysseus, Suitors Watch Fight, Odysseus Wins Fight i. Arnaeus another beggar, nicknamed Irus, insults and challenges Odysseus ii. Odysseus agrees to fight beggar, Athena gives Odysseus extra strength and stature, Odysseus is winning iii. Irus regrets challenge as Odysseus begins to win, but soon suitors take notice and egg them on iv. Fights ends quickly as Odysseus floors Irus, nearly killing him

B. Amphinomus Congratulates, Odysseus Pities, Amphinomus Ignores Warning i. Suitors congratulate Odysseus, especially Amphinomus who toasts Odysseus and gives him food ii. Odysseus knows suitors will be slaughtered, tries to tell Amphinomus that “Odysseus” will be home and warns him to leave and return home iii. Amphinomus doesn’t leave, even though he is “fraught with grave forebodings,” iv. Amphinomus stays because Athena has bound him to die at the hands of Telemachus

C. Penelope Says Will Marry, Penelope Tricks Suitors, Telemachus Stops Fight i. Athena inspires Penelope to come before the suitors, Athena gives her extra stature and beauty to inflame them even more ii. Penelope leads suitors on, says she promised Odysseus she would remarry iii. Penelope tricks suitors into giving her gifts by saying any worthy man would give her gifts instead of taking things from her, Odysseus is amused iv. Suitors give Penelope gifts, Odysseus tells maidservants to go to Penelope v. Maidservant Melantho insults Odysseus as an inferior and a drunk, and Odysseus scares them off with threats vi. Athena inspires Eurymachus to insult Odysseus, hoping to make him mad vii. Odysseus then insults Eurymachus, Eurymachus throws stool at Odysseus but misses him and hits a servant viii. Just before riot breaks out, Telemachus calms them down

XIX. BOOK 19

A. Weapons Hidden, Athena Lights Room, Tell Eurycleia Safely Storing Weapons i. Suitors go to bed, Telemachus and Odysseus remove weapons ii. Athena lights the room so they can see what they are doing iii. Telemachus tells Eurycleia they are storing weapons so won’t be damaged

B. Penelope Visits “Beggar”, She Tests Honesty, Odysseus Tells His “Tale” i. Telemachus goes to sleep and Penelope visits Odysseus (in disguise) ii. She heard he has met Odysseus and asks him to describe her husband iii. Odysseus describes himself so well Penelope cries

iv. Odysseus then tells her a false tale about how he met Odysseus, one that is similar to his false stories in Books 13 and 14 v. He then tells her Odysseus is alive and will return within the month

C. Penelope Offers Bed, Eurycleia Recognizes Odysseus, Eurycleia Keeps Secret i. Penelope offers Odysseus a bed, but says he is used to...
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