Odyssey Plot Summary(1) by hcj


									                              Odyssey Plot Summary

Book XXI – “The Great Bow”

   -   Penelope goes to the storeroom and gets Odysseus’s great bow as well as the
       other things necessary for the test she has in mind.
   -   Seeing the bow causes her to once again break down in a fit of longing for her
       beloved Odysseus.
   -   Penelope returns to the suitors and informs them of the challenge.
   -   Eumaeus and Philoteus both burst into tears at the sight of Odysseus’s great
       bow, and they are immediately abused by Antinous.
   -   Telemachus fully endorses the plan and quickly arranges the axes in the
       prescribed manner.
   -   Everything is ready, and Telemachus himself makes the first attempt at
       stringing his father’s bow.
   -   He tries four times, but is unable to succeed.
   -   In fact, on the fourth attempt, he comes very close to succeeding, but Beggar
       Odysseus discreetly signals him to desist, and so the unstrung bow is handed
       to the first of the suitors.
   -   This suitor, a man named Leodes, is unable to string the bow and he passes it
       on to the next who also is not up to the challenge.
   -   Melanthius is sent to the storeroom for tallow-wax, and the suitors wax the
       bow and gently heat it next to the fire hoping that doing so will make it more
       supple and pliable.
   -   While this is going on, Odysseus steps outside with Eumaeus and Philoteus
       and reveals his true identity. Both men weep with joy and promise to do
       whatever they are told.
   -   Beggar Odysseus then gives them their instructions:
           o When all have tried and failed, Beggar Odysseus will ask for a chance.
           o Eumaeus is to bring him the great bow and arrows.
           o Eumaeus is then to make sure all the women of the palace have left
               the courtyard area and are secure in another part of the palace.
           o They are to be told not to intrude no matter what they hear.
           o Philoteus is to slip quietly away and lock the main palace gates /
   -   Meanwhile, suitor after suitor has failed to string the bow, even Eurymachus.
   -   Antinous alone has not attempted it, and he suggests that they cease their
       efforts for the moment and concentrate only on a feasting.
   -   This proposal is greeted with approval, and it is at this point that Beggar
       Odysseus asks for a chance to string the bow.
   -   His request causes an uproar, but Penelope assures them all that she will not
       marry Beggar Odysseus should he succeed.
   -   Telemachus takes the opportunity to once again rebuke his mother, and
       sends her to her room with the ladies.
   -   With Telemachus’s approval, Eumaeus takes the bow to Beggar Odysseus.
   -   Eumaeus then quietly tells Euryicleia to withdraw with all the servants and
       lock the doors behind her which she does.
   -   Beggar Odysseus carefully handles the great bow and then, seemingly
       without effort, strings it much to the mortification of the suitors.
   -   He takes up an arrow and sends speeding through the twelve axes.
   -   Beggar Odysseus nods to Telemachus who, sword and spear in hand, joins
       his father facing the suitors.

Book XXII “The Battle in the Hall”

   -   Odysseus throws off his rags and confronts the suitors telling them the time
       of reckoning has at last arrived.
   -   Odysseus shoots Antinous through the throat killing him.
   -   The suitors are appalled, but they still not realizing Odysseus’s identity.
   -   Odysseus tells them he has returned and for the first time they know fear.
   -   Eurymachus tries to lay the blame for everything on the now-dead Antinous,
       but Odysseus only responds by killing him.
   -   The fight begins in earnest with the suitors doing their best to defend
       themselves from Odysseus and his allies.
   -   Odysseus instructs Telemachus to go and obtain additional weapons from the
       armory and he does leaving Odysseus alone.
   -   Melanthius slips unnoticed from the hall and goes to the armory which
       Telemachus has left unlocked.
   -   Melanthius returns with weapons and the suitors begin to arm themselves.
   -   Melanthius goes back for more weapons, but he’s followed by Eumaeus and
       Philoteous who capture him and tie him up before returning to the battle.
   -   Back in the hall the battle continues with the two sides facing each other.
   -   Athene appears disguised as Mentor and is greeted with enthusiasm by
       Odysseus and with threats by the suitors.
   -   Athene rallies Odysseus and then turns into a swallow and takes a perch on
       one of the upper beams where she can watch the proceedings.
   -   The suitors begin to rally, and throw several well-aimed volleys of spears at
       Odysseus, but Athene causes them all to miss.
   -   Team Odysseus is starting to weary. Telemachus and Eumaeus are slightly
       wounded, but the tide seems to be shifting in their favor.
   -   Athene then “raised her deadly aegis” and the remaining suitors are terrified
       out of their wits.
   -   All are quickly killed.
   -   Leodes, the priest, begs for mercy but Odysseus cuts his head off.
   -   Phemius the Bard and Medon the Herald beg for mercy and are spared after
       a good word from Telemachus.
   -   Eurycleia is summoned and when she sees the dead she begins to rejoice;
       however, Odysseus rebukes her.
   -   Odysseus asks Eurycleia to identify all disloyal servants, and she names
       twelve including Melantho.
-   They are forced to clean the hall, and then they are taken outside where the
    mighty Telemachus hangs them all.
-   Next, Telemachus and his cronies torture and kill Melanthius.
-   Odysseus orders Eurycleia make a fire and bring sulphur which he will burn
    in a ritual purification of his house.
-   Odysseus thoroughly purifies the hall, and then greets all the remaining
    faithful servants

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