• Penelope says that she will marry the suitor that would be able to shoot an arrow
through 12 axe heads.
• Numerous scholars have debated how the axe look and where exactly the arrow was to
• It could be through the axe handles loop if the axe were place on the ground, or the axe
has a deep valley at the top
• Odysseus is at this point still disguised as a beggar and is the only person to
successfully shoot through all 12 axes
• In search of his mares, Iphitos and Odysseus became friends and he gave the bow to
Odysseus. Zeus then kills Iphitos soon after
• Odysseus did not take this bow to troy, but he left it at home as a reminder of his friend
• It is debated whether Odysseus violated the rules of hospitality by killing his suitors
• We can associate this bow with the killing of guests.
• In terms of Penelope’s proposal, on page 311, line 68-79: her proposal to the suitors
• Telemachos then takes the 12 axes and sets them up. He is the first to take the bow and
tries 3 times to shoot through them. The fourth time he is almost successful, but
Odysseus gives him to put the bow down.
• Leodes was the first to attempt it, but he failed, all of them eventually failed.After one of
the suitors says not for Odysseus to try since he is a beggar, Penelope tells the suitors
to indeed allow the beggar to shoot
• Line 205: Odysseus knows the he has at least 2 loyal people in his house, his cow herd
and swine herd Eumaois and Phoikos.
• Telemachos sends his mother to her room knowing the slaughter is going to happen
• Eumaois brings the bow to Odysseus, and Odysseus effortlessly strings the bow
• While he is in the process of stringing the bow, he is impaired to sing in his heart
• After he shoots through the 12 axes, he signals to Telemachos that the laughter is about
• 424-430: Odysseus signals to Telemachos the laughter is about to begin • Pay particular reference to doorsills, thresholds, etc.
• This was the last meal for the suitors
• Odysseus stands at the doorsill blocking the exit
• Odysseus shoots the arrow through Antinoos and he is the first to die
• Page 321, line 1-7: further reference to glory, hoping Apollo will grant him this in the
slaughter of the suitors
• There is a theme of ruined meals throughout the Odyssey. Shown when Antinoos knocks
down the food from the table.
• In Book 20, one of the suitors throws a cow spiff at Odysseus, this is another theme of
• Another one was when the sailors violated the rule of eating Helios’ cattle.
• This theme of ruined meals acts as foreshadowing of the suitors ultimate death.
• After Antinoos is struck down, the suitors scramble for arm but Telemachos has hidden
them away in the ch