The Odyssey Book 22: Summary & Quotes

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  • 0:04 Recap of Book 21 of…
  • 0:33 Behold Odysseus
  • 1:48 Eurymachus Attacks
  • 3:00 The Suitors Find Arms
  • 4:07 Battle & Punishments
  • 6:43 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Wendy A. Garland

Wendy has a Ph.D. in Adult Education and a Master's Degree in Business Management. She has 10 years experience working in higher education.

We will begin this lesson with a brief recap of Book 21 of 'The Odyssey.' We will then go on to a summary of Book 22, where Odysseus and Telemachus slaughter the suitors.

Recap of Book 21 of The Odyssey

In Book 21 of The Odyssey, the goddess Athena made Penelope bring out Odysseus's bow and tell the suitors she will marry the first one who can shoot an arrow through twelve axes. Anyone who tried failed to even string the bow. Odysseus then revealed his identity to Eumaeus and Philoetius and recruited them to help kill the suitors. Odysseus then strung the bow and shot his first arrow through the twelve axes.

Behold Odysseus

As we begin Book 22 of The Odyssey, Odysseus holds his bow and arrow, rips off his beggar rags, and stands in front of the suitors, who are taken completely by surprise. Odysseus's first target is Antinous. He ''aimed an arrow and hit him in the throat; right through his tender neck the sharp point passed.'' Antinous drops and kicks over the table, blood pouring from his nose. The suitors snap out of it and admonish, or criticize, Odysseus, thinking he has killed Antinous by mistake.

Odysseus finally reveals his true identity to everyone. ''Dogs! You have been saying all the time I never should return out of the land of Troy; and therefore you destroyed my home, outraged my womenservants, and, I alive, covertly wooed my wife, fearing no gods.'' Having given reason for his anger and actions, Odysseus then drives his point home. ''Now for you one and all destruction's cords are knotted!''

Terrified and pale, the suitors scatter all over again, looking for a way to escape.

Eurymachus Attacks

However, Philoetius and Eumaeus have locked all the doors, as Odysseus had asked them to do. No one dares say anything, except Eurymachus, who tries to calm Odysseus down by blaming Antinous as the only bad guy. He says it was him who made the other suitors do all those evil things so that ''he himself might be king, when he should treacherously have slain your son.''

After that explanation, Eurymachus tells Odysseus that all the suitors will give him enough gold and bronze that Odysseus will never need more of either. But Odysseus is not impressed. Eurymachus sees no other option than to rally the suitors and attack Odysseus. ''Draw swords, and hold the tables up against his deadly arrows! Have at him all together!''

And he attacks Odysseus with his sword. But Odysseus hits him in the liver with an arrow, and Eurymachus falls to an agonizing death. Next to try is Amphinomus, who also draws his sword and attacks, but is run through from behind by Telemachus's spear.

The Suitors Find Arms

Telemachus then sets out for the storeroom and grabs a bunch of armor and weapons. He arms Odysseus, himself, Eumaeus, and Philoetius. The suitors look for a way to even the battlefield. Melanthius tells the suitors he knows where Odysseus and Telemachus have hidden the weapons and armor and quietly makes his way to the storeroom through vents. He grabs lots of weapons and armor and brings them to the suitors. Odysseus sees this and is a little disheartened, or depressed, and tells Telemachus, ''a woman of the house aids the hard fight against us.''

But Telemachus knows who is to blame. ''Father, the fault is mine; no other is to blame; for I it was who opened the chamber's tight-shut door and left it open.'' Telemachus sends Eumaeus to lock the door and to see if he can find the traitor. Eumaeus heads to the storeroom and sees Melanthius on his second trip to grab more arms. Odysseus tells Eumaeus and Philoetius to tie Melanthius up and lock him in the storeroom for now.

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