The Odyssey

The Odyssey

book 16- What errand is eumaios sent to complete?

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Odysseus hatches a plan: tomorrow Telemachus will return to the manor, and Odysseus, disguised as a beggar, will join him later with Eumaeus. Odysseus will endure whatever abuses the suitors heap on him. Then Athena will give Odysseus the word, and he shall signal to Telemachus to stow away all their weapons but two sets of arms for them to use later. He warns him not to let anyone, even Eumaeus or Penelope, know about his identity, as a test of loyalty. Meanwhile, a messenger from Telemachus' ship loudly informs Penelope that her son has returned; Eumaeus whispers the same message to her. The suitors hear the messenger and do not understand how Telemachus escaped their ambush. They decide they must kill him before he tells the Achaeans about their murderous plans, and they will redouble their courtship of Penelope. One of the suitors, Amphinomos, argues that they should consult the gods to see if murdering Telemachus is the correct action; the others agree and they break up the meeting. Penelope, who has already heard that the suitors plan to kill her son, tells them to cease their plotting. The suitor Eurymakhos denies it, and Penelope goes off to sleep. Eumaeus returns to his hut and tells Telemachus and the "beggar" that the messenger already gave word to Penelope about her son's return. The men go to sleep.