CHAPTER VVI – THE BOW OF ODYSSEUS
Penelope enters the great hall with the bow of Odysseus and announces the
challenge to the suitors.
The suitors accept the challenge and Telemachus digs a trench and aligns the
twelve axes. He is curious to see if he can match his father’s strength and attempts to string the bow, but is unsuccessful.
Odysseus reveals himself to Eumaeus and Philoetius and gives them orders
regarding the disposal of the suitors.
The suitors take it in turn to try and string the bow, but none are
successful. The leader of the suitors Antinous suggests that they are weakened by the excesses of the banquet and propose that they return tomorrow and try again.
Odysseus steps forward requesting that he be allowed to attempt the
The suitors refuse him, but Penelope offers him the chance, but says that
she will not marry him if he is successful.
Telemachus orders his mother and the other women to leave the hall and
Eumaeus and Philoetius unobserved, lock the gates of the palace and the doors of the hall.
Odysseus effortlessly strings the mighty weapon and expertly sends an arrow
through the row of axes.
The suitors are aghast and Telemachus takes hold of his sword and joins his