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Book 22 Notes from The Odyssey

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The Odyssey Book 22

Odysseus leaps out of his rags and begins to shoot arrows at the suitors. He hits Antinous under the chin as he lifts a cup. The suitors look around for arms but cannot find any weapons. They yell and Odysseus tells them that it is over. They are all dumbfounded. Only Eurymachus speaks and tells Odysseus that everything that was wrong was the fault of Antinous so now Odysseus had his revenge. Odysseus tells him that he will have to fight his way out. Eurymachus tries to rally the suitors as he draws his sword to go after Odysseus, but Odysseus hits him in the liver. Amphinomos rushes Odysseus but Telemachus hits him in the back with a spear. He leaves the spear in the body and yells to his father telling him he will get them weapons.

Telemachus returns with shields and armor and arms the two men while Odysseus picks off suitors with his bow. The suitors see a window in the wall and try to get into it to go get help. Melanthios tells them that it is too narrow but he will scale the wall and bring back weapons. When Odysseus sees armed men he knows there has been treachery. Telemachus tells him that he forgot to lock the storeroom door as they see Melanthios return with another load of weapons. Odysseus sends Eumaius and Philoitios to stop him. In the storeroom they tie him to the ceiling beam. Eumaius tells him that he will be up there until dawn. They close the door and go to join Odysseus who is fighting forty men. Athena enters in the form of Mentor but Odysseus guesses that it is her. One of the suitors, Agelaus, cries out to Mentor telling him that Odysseus is in the wrong and he should fight with them. Athena tells Odysseus that he is not fighting smart enough. Agelaus rallies the suitors and gets six of them to throw spears at Odysseus at the same time. They miss and Odysseus and his companions fling their spears killing four suitors. The reclaim their spears and each kills again. Odysseus kills Agelaus and Telemachus hits another. Athena begins to make the suitors scatter like cattle stampeding from a hornet. One suitor, Leodes, clings to Odysseus' knees and asks for forgiveness. Odysseus replies that if he was the diviner of the crowd he should have foreseen this revenge. He kills him by chopping off his head. Then Phemius clings to Odysseus' knees and tells him he was forced to serve the suitors. Telemachus calls across the carnage and tells his father to spare the minstrel. He also tells him to spare their herald. The herald hears this and scrambles to his feet from his hiding place. Odysseus tells him it is all right and that he should go outside. He looks over the dead bodies as his fury subsides:

"Think of a catch that fishermen haul in to a halfmoon bay
in a fine-meshed net from the white-caps of the sea:
how all are poured out on the sand, in throes for the salt sea,
twitching their cold lives away in Helios' fiery air:
so lay the suitors heaped on one another."
Book 22, lines 432-6

Odysseus tells Telemachus to get Eurykleia. She sees Odysseus covered in blood and gore and begins to cry. He tells her to have courage and asks her who of the women are innocent. She says of the fifty there are twelve who are corrupt. She tells him to go to Penelope, but he says it is not yet time. He tells Telemachus to have the servants clean up the dead bodies and the blood. When it is clean he tells the treacherous girls that they are sluts and he hangs them one by one in the courtyard. Then Melanthios is brought out. His nose and ears are ripped off and they tear his genitals off for the dogs. Odysseus wants the house cleansed of the bloodshed and Euryklea tells him to put on a clean tunic. He tells her that he will when the palace has been cleansed with brimstone smoke.

Topic Tracking: Disguise and Deceit 14

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