Odysseus beats up the suitors
In the morning, a crowd of slaves entered the banquet hall and began to clean it up for the lyre of the suitors. Eurycleia sent the slaves for water, ordered them to wash the floor, cover the benches with new purple blankets and wash the dishes. Soon Telemachus came out of his chambers and, after asking Eurycleia how the wanderer spent the night, went to the city square. Brought Eumaeus, Philotius and Melantius goats, sheep, pigs and a cow for the grooms' feast. Eumaeus and Philotius greeted the wanderer affably, pitying him for having to wander the world homeless. Philotius remembered Odyssey, he pitied his master. Looking at the wanderer, he thought: is his master also forced to wander homeless in a foreign land? Eumaeus and Philotius began to pray to the gods that they would bring Odysseus home. Odysseus wanted to comfort his faithful servants and said, turning to Philotius:
- I swear to you by the great Zeus and the sacred hearth in Odysseus' palace that you will not have time to leave here before Odysseus returns home and you will see how he will take revenge on the violent suitors.
But if Eumaeus and Philotius were friendly with the wanderer, then the rude Melantius began to insult him again and threatened to beat him if he did not leave Odysseus' house. Odysseus said nothing to Melantius, but only frowned menacingly.
The grooms finally began to gather. They plotted to kill Telemachus, but a sign sent by God restrained them. The grooms sat down at the table, and the feast began. Telemachus placed a bench and a table in the doorway for Odysseus and ordered food and wine to be served to him; at the same time, the young son of Odysseus said threateningly:
- The Wanderer! Sit here and feast quietly with my guests. Know that I will not allow anyone to insult you! My house is not some tavern where all the rabble gathers, but the palace of King Odysseus. I heard the words of Telemachus Antinous and boldly exclaimed:
- Friends! Let him threaten us if he wants, Telemachus! If Zeus had not sent us a terrible sign, we would have pacified him forever and he would no longer be such a hateful talker!Telemachus did not respond to this threat. He sat in silence and waited for Odysseus to give him a conditional sign. The goddess Athena aroused the fierceness of the suitors even more, so that the thirst for vengeance in Odysseus' chest flamed up even more. Prompted by her, one of the suitors, Ctesippus, exclaimed:
- Listen to what I'm going to tell you! The wanderer received a lot of food and wine from Telemachus. We should give him something, too. I've already prepared a handout for him.
With these Words Ctesippus grabbed a cow's leg and threw it violently at Odysseus. He barely managed to dodge the blow. Telemachus shouted menacingly to Ctesippus:
- Your luck that you missed! I would have hit you more accurately with my spear, and your father would have had to prepare a funeral for you, not a wedding. I tell you all once again that I will not allow guests to be insulted here in my house.
The grooms did not answer anything, Agelay began to advise them to stop insulting the wanderer.
Suddenly the goddess Athena aroused insane laughter from the grooms and confused their minds. They began to laugh wildly. Their faces turned pale, their eyes were filled with tears, longing lay on their hearts like a heavy burden. Like wild animals, they began to devour raw meat. The grooms began to mock Telemachus in their madness. But Telemachus sat in silence, not paying attention to their ridicule. Heard Penelope from her chambers, the frantic cries of the suitors for a lavish feast. But no one has ever prepared such a feast for people as the goddess Athena and Penelope's husband prepared for the grooms.
Finally, Penelope got up and went to the storeroom where Odysseus' treasures were kept. There she took out the tight bow of Odysseus. This bow once belonged to Eurytus, and Odysseus was given by his son Eurytus, Ifit. Taking a bow and a quiver full of arrows, Penelope went to the banquet hall. Standing there near the column, she told the grooms:
- Listen to me! I have brought you the bow of Odysseus. Whichever of you pulls this bow and shoots an arrow so that it flies through twelve rings, I will marry him.
Penelope handed the bow of Odysseus to Eumaeus. He wept bitterly when he saw his master's bow, and carried it to the suitors. Faithful Philotius also began to cry. The suitors were angry with them for shedding tears over Odysseus. Telemachus also fixed poles with rings in the ground and leveled them. He was the first to try to pull the bow; he bent it three times, but could not pull the string. He wanted to bend it a fourth time, but Odysseus nodded his head to him, and Telemachus stopped his attempts. The grooms decided to take turns trying to pull a tight bow. The first one tried Leyod, but he couldn't even bend the bow a little, he was so tight. Antinous then called Melantius and told him to bring lard to grease the onion. Antinous thought that it would be easier to bend an onion greased with lard. But the grooms' attempts were in vain, none of them could pull the bowstring.At this time, Eumaeus and Philotius left the hall, followed by Odysseus. In the courtyard he stopped the faithful servants and revealed to them who he was, showing a scar on his leg from a wound inflicted by a boar. Eumaeus and Philotius rejoiced and began to cover his hands and feet with kisses. Odysseus calmed them down. He told Eumaeus to go to Eurycleia the minute he took the bow and tell her to lock up the maids and not let them out anywhere. Odysseus ordered Philotius to lock the gates more tightly. Having given these orders, Odysseus returned to the banquet hall and calmly took his place in the doorway. When Odysseus returned, Eurymachus, having greased the onion with lard, warmed it over the fire. After warming up the bow, Eurymachus tried to bend it, but could not. Seeing that all their attempts were in vain, the grooms decided to leave the bow and try to bend it the next day, and now it's better to continue the feast. Then Odysseus suddenly turned to the suitors with a request to let him try to pull the bow. The grooms, hearing this request, began to mock him. Secretly, they were afraid that the stranger would put them to shame. Penelope began to insist that the wanderer be given a bow after all. Telemachus interrupted her, he asked his mother to go to her chambers, and told Eumaeus to give the bow to Odysseus. The suitors raised a frantic cry when Eumaeus carried the bow. Eumaeus was frightened, but Telemachus shouted menacingly at him and ordered him to take the bow to the wanderer. Handing the bow to Odysseus, Eumaeus hurriedly went to Eurycleia and gave her the command of Odysseus. Philotius, on the other hand, firmly locked the gate. Odysseus took his bow and began to examine it carefully, as a singer examines his kithara, preparing to begin a chant. Without the slightest difficulty, Odysseus bent his bow and pulled the string, then tried with his finger whether it was tight. The bowstring rang menacingly. The grooms turned pale. A thunderclap burst from the sky - then Zeus gave a sign to Odysseus. Joy filled his heart. Odysseus took an arrow and, without getting up from his seat, fired it at the target. An arrow flew through all twelve rings. Turning to Telemachus, Odysseus exclaimed:
- Telemachus! Your guest has not shamed you! You saw that I didn't work long pulling the bow. No, my strength is still intact! Now we will prepare a new treat for the grooms. Now a different one will sound at our kithara feast!
Odysseus gave a sign to Telemachus, frowning. Telemachus girded himself with a sword and, taking a spear in his hands, stood next to Odysseus, armed with sparkling copper.
Odysseus threw off his rags, stood on the threshold at the very door, poured arrows from his quiver onto the floor at his feet and shouted to the suitors:
- I hit the first target successfully! Now I have chosen a new target, to which no one has sent arrows yet. The archer Apollo will help me get into it!
Thus exclaiming, Odysseus shot an arrow at Antinous. An arrow hit him in the throat and pierced him through just at the moment when Antinous was about to drink a cup of wine. Antinous staggered, bleeding profusely, he pushed the table, overturned it and fell dead. The grooms jumped up with a shout. They rushed to the weapons that used to hang on the walls, but there were no weapons. Odysseus once again shouted menacingly to them:
- Ah, despicable dogs! Did you think I wouldn't come back? What will you rob with impunity? No, now you are all going to die!
Odysseus prayed in vain Eurymachus to spare them, to accept from them a rich payment for everything that the suitors plundered, but Odysseus did not want to listen to anything. He was burning with a thirst for revenge. The grooms realized that they would have to defend themselves. They drew their swords and tried to defend themselves from Odysseus' arrows with tables. Eurymachus rushed at Odysseus with a sword in his hands, but an arrow pierced his chest, and he fell dead to the floor. He rushed at Odysseus with Amphinus, but Telemachus struck him with a spear. Having killed the Amphinome, Telemachus ran for weapons. He took out of the storeroom four helmets, four shields and eight spears for Odysseus, himself, Eumaeus and Philotius. Odysseus, while Telemachus went to get weapons, sent arrow after arrow to the suitors. Each arrow fired brought death to one of the suitors, one by one they fell dead to the floor. But Telemachus came with a weapon. Odysseus armed himself, and Telemachus, Eumaeus and Philotius stood next to him, shaking spears.
The traitor Melantius noticed Telemachus going to get weapons; he secretly sneaked into the storeroom and took out twelve shields and spears there, since Telemachus, hurrying to his father, forgot to lock the doors to the storeroom. The grooms also armed themselves. Odysseus was frightened when he saw them suddenly armed. He realized that someone had taken out their weapons. Fortunately, Eumaeus noticed Melantius sneaking behind the weapon and told Odysseus about it. He ordered Eumaeus and Philotius to seize Melantius in the storeroom and lock him there, binding him tightly with a rope. Eumaeus and Philotius quietly crept up to the storeroom and, when Melantius was taking weapons out of it, they grabbed him, knocked him to the floor and, bending his arms and legs on his back, tied him, then hung him from the ceiling beam in the storeroom, said with mockery:
- Watch your weapons now, Melanthius! We have arranged a soft bed for you, now you will not sleep through the dawn. Having said this, they seized their weapons and hurried to the aid of Odysseus, who at that time was restraining the onslaught of suitors with Telemachus.
At this moment, under the guise of Mentor, Pallas Athena appeared to Odysseus. Odysseus began to call for Mentor's help, and the suitors threatened him with death if he helped Odysseus.
Athena was even more angry at the suitors. Reproaching Odysseus that he did not fight with the suitors as bravely as he fought at Troy, she suddenly turned into a swallow, flew up and sat on the beam above the suitors. The grooms attacked Odysseus three times, throwing spears at him, Telemachus and two faithful servants, but Athena rejected the spears of the grooms. Odysseus and his companions each time struck four suitors. Philotius killed the impudent Ctesippus with a spear thrust and, triumphantly, exclaimed:
- Now you will shut up, you impudent scold! I gave you a nice present for that cow's leg that you so kindly treated Odysseus to.
One by one, the suitors fell to their deaths. Suddenly Athena shook her terrible aegis over their head. In horror, the suitors began to rush madly in all directions, as bulls rush around the pasture when whole swarms of gadflies sting them in the summer. Like falcons beating pigeons, Odysseus, Telemachus, Eumaeus and Philotius beat the suitors. A terrible cry was raised by the dying grooms. They could not hide anywhere. Leiod ran up to Odysseus and begged him for mercy, but Odysseus did not spare him and cut off his head with a sword blow. Only the singer Femia, who sang against his will to the suitors, was spared by Odysseus at the request of Telemachus, and he also spared the herald Medont, hiding under a cow skin. Odysseus ordered Themius and Medon to go out into the courtyard and wait for him there. Odysseus began to look around to see if any of the suitors were still left, but they had all been killed, none of them escaped.
Then Odysseus commanded to summon Eurycleia. Immediately she came to the call of her master and saw him, covered with blood, standing among the corpses of the suitors, like a lion that had torn the bulls. Odysseus commanded Eurycleia to summon those slaves who were guilty of their sympathy for the suitors. Eurycleia summoned twelve slaves. They came and with loud weeping began to carry out the corpses of the suitors by order of Odysseus and put them one by one in the portico of the palace. The slaves carried out the corpses and washed the entire banquet hall, and when they had done all this, Odysseus ordered them to be put to death. All the guilty slaves were hanged and expiated by death for their crime against Odysseus and Penelope. Odysseus also betrayed the traitor Melantius to a painful execution.