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Story Summary: Return From Troy, Episode 11

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

Odysseus is recognised by Eurycleia

Penelope’s dream (5:34)

Penelope hears of the old beggar and seeks him out to speak with him. Odysseus sees his wife for the first time in nineteen years and says nothing. He dismisses as rumours stories she has heard about the return of her husband. He asks her how she will choose a new husband from amongst the suitors and she tells him of her plan. Then she asks him to explain her dream. The dream is of an eagle killing her geese. He explains this as the return of Odysseus to kill her suitors.

The nurse’s discovery (2:58)

Eurycleia, an ancient servant, is asked by Penelope to wash the beggar’s feet. She had looked after Odysseus when he was a child and she recognises him by the jagged scar received from the tusk of a wild boar. She must say nothing of her discovery. Odysseus now has a cunning plan but he keeps it to himself. He tells Telemachus to remove and lock away all the weapons from the hall except for their own bows, arrows and swords. These are to be hidden near to the door in the shadows.

To win a queen’s hand (5:03)

The sunlight wakes Odysseus from a peaceful sleep. He goes once more to beg in the feasting hall and is tormented, abused and attacked. Penelope appears and announces that the time has come for her to choose a husband from amongst the suitors. She will set them a challenge. Whichever one comes closest to loosing an arrow through the rings of twelve axes set in a row will be her husband. All of the suitors try but none succeeds. Penelope returns to her chamber. From his hiding pace in the shadows Odysseus winks at Eurycleia who makes her way out and locks all of the doors from the outside.

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