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Story Summary: Return From Troy, Episode 10

On this page we have split the telling of this episode into its three main sections and provided a summary of each.

Penelope and Telemachus

Father and son (5:10)

Telemachus honours the old beggar as a guest and tells of his journey to Sparta. He asks Eumaeus to go to his mother, Penelope, and reassure her that he is safely home. Once the swineherd has gone Odysseus meets Athene outside the hut and she touches his shoulder to return him to his real form. He enters the hut and is finally recognised by Telemachus who at first mistakes him for a god. For the whole day Odysseus tells his son of his adventures and explains that he will continue in the guise of a beggar to see for himself what is happening in his feasting hall.

A prince’s homecoming (3:27)

The next morning Telemachus goes on ahead, boldly and defiantly entering the feasting hall. Penelope weeps with happiness at seeing him. Telemachus tells her that Odysseus is said to be held captive by a nymph called Calypso on an island far away. Penelope believes he will never return and that the time has come to choose a new husband. Meanwhile Odysseus, on his way to the hall, is greeted by his dog Argos who then dies. Odysseus remembers the welcome he had imagined for himself all those years ago.

A beggar’s welcome (2:56)

Odysseus, in the shape of a beggar, goes from table to table in the feasting hall and is offered no food. Antinous, one of the suitors, is abusive and sends him away. Telemachus challenges this behaviour and shares his own bread and wine with the beggar in keeping with the sacred laws of hospitality. Antinous is not won over. He throws his stool at the old beggar who turns and walks away.

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