Aim: How does Odysseus test the loyalty of the people of Ithaka?
1) Why do Telemachus and Odysseus split up?
•Telemachos wakes and says that he must go to town so Penelope can see with her own eyes that he is in fact alive. He leaves and orders that Eumaios is to bring "the beggar" to town during the day so that he can beg for food.
•Back in the great hall, Penelope is ecstatic to see her son alive. She asks him for news of Odysseus, but Telemachos tells her to be patient.
•Telemachos then orders her to go bathe, change her clothes, and pray that Zeus will help them with their revenge against the suitors. He leaves with the excuse that he must take care of a passenger who unexpectedly sailed with him yesterday.
•Telemachos quickly spots Odysseus’s loyal friends – Mentor (the real one this time), Antiphos, and Halitherses – and goes off to consult with them.
•Periaios brings Theoklymenos to Telemachos and asks the prince to send some maids so that they can get Menelaos’s gifts into the house. Telemachos prudently tells him to wait and keep the treasure for now until they can be sure the suitors won’t touch it.
•Peiraios obeys and leaves with his guest.
•The men enjoy a meal while Penelope weaves. She asks her son again for news of Odysseus, this time taking a firmer stance.
2) How and why does Telemachus only give partial evidence
•Telemachos tells her the truth about his visit with Menelaos, but omits the fact that Odysseus is home. He only gives her faint hope by telling her what Proteus revealed to Menelaos – that Odysseus was last seen alive on the island of Kalypso.
•Theoklymenos interrupts and tells Penelope about the sign he interpreted for Telemachos the day before – the sign which prophecies that Odysseus is in fact already back in Ithaka and plotting revenge.
•To Telemachos’s relief, Penelope doesn’t believe the prophet’s words. Phew. That was a close one.
•Medon, the town crier, calls the suitors (who are playing sports and engaging in other manly pursuits) to come in for dinner.
3) How and why does Odysseus handle the abuse of the suitors?
•While they’re busy filing in, Odysseus – still in the guise of a beggar – leaves the forest with Eumaios and heads to town, even using a walking stick to play up his disguise.
•Eventually, the pair runs into Melanthios the annoying goatherd. He mocks the beggar, tells him to go home, and even kicks at him.
•Odysseus doesn’t respond, though he burns with rage inside. All he does is pray aloud to the gods that Melanthios gets what he deserves. Given what we’ve seen so far, we’re about 98% sure this will in fact happen.
•We find out that Melanthios willingly serves Eurymachos and adores him.
•When they reach the hall, Eumaios asks the beggar to stay at the entrance and allow him to enter first. Odysseus agrees.
4) How does Argos show his loyalty to his master?
•As the disguised Odysseus speaks, an old dog sitting on a dung heap nearby pricks his ears up and tries to wag his tail.
•Odysseus recognizes him as Argos, the hound that he trained as a puppy but never had the chance to take hunting before he left for Troy. Now poor Argos is old and mistreated by everyone, which is kind of sad.
•Odysseus sheds a tear for the poor condition of his favorite dog and inquires about the animal.
•Eumaios says that Odysseus owned this dog; the animal was swift, strong, and courageous in his prime, but now he’s just abused by everyone.
•As the men enter the hall, Argos breathes his last breath and dies happy, having recognized and seen his master after twenty years.
•Eumaios grabs a spare bench and seats himself across from Telemachos while the disguised Odysseus enters the hall.
•Telemachos, who has to pretend he doesn’t know this guy, gives the beggar a generous hunk of bread and meat and tells him not to be shy in asking for food.
5) What loyalty test does Odysseus…